Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brian Eno and Harold Budd - The Plateaux of Mirror

You can't have an ambient blog without talking about Brian Eno; there wouldn't be ambient music as we know it without him. His first and best known ambient work Ambient 1: Music for Airports is awe-inspiring (and needs to be reviewed here!).

Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror isn't as good as it's predecessor, but not many ambient albums are. At the same time, Ambient 2 is less of an experiment, and also less of a purely Eno-written album. This time, he enlists noted pianist Harold Budd, and works around him.

There isn't many synths here, or at least noticeable ones, on most tracks. It's just Budd and his tinkling piano, drenched in reverb and echo. One track with Eno's synths is Not Yet Remembered, and it's probably the most memorable track here. The use of synths as pseudo voices almost makes it sound like a fully fledged conventional song.

While there are other great moments, and make no mistake that Ambient 2 is a wonderful album, I think the Eno/Budd partnership hit their peak with The Pearl a few years later. Ambient 2 is just a taster of things to come.

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