Brian Eno's best recordings are timeless. Even his great recordings are practically timeless. His recordings after the '80s, however, gradually acquired a different description: dated. His work of the 2000s was heavily collaborational, fortunately showing him to be still curious about the varieties of musical expression -- beyond what he's been able to display while producing. Small Craft on a Milk Sea regains the timeless, ageless feel of his best ambient work. It stands as his first record for Warp, a label that has long worshiped at the altar of headphone electronica, although much of this album is the fruit of sessions originally recorded (but declined) for the Lovely Bones soundtrack; some of it was written and recorded by Eno and frequent collaborator Leo Abrahams while they were touring Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Eno's 2008 pop album with David Byrne. Warp has been known for quality control for over 20 years, and this one is no different -- it's the best Eno record in 20 years. The opener, "Emerald and Lime," is a piece of bright ambience. The title track has the dark textures of the later ambient works (Ambient 4: On Land), while the middle section has nods to contemporary electronic music -- "Flint March" is pummeling, percussive techno, and the next track, "Horse," also indulges -- then it's back to opaque, spacious ambience with "Calcium Needles" and "Emerald and Stone." Here too, some tracks have the earthy bass of Ambient 4: On Land, others the formless but inviting void of Discreet Music, still others the heart-stopping piano isolationism of the original Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Eno may be trading on his earlier developments in ambience to a small degree, but Small Craft on a Milk Sea is a good and proper balance of curiosity and expression.
Warp Records / Opal Records
Eno, Brian - Small Craft on a Milk Sea [2xLP IMPORT] – New LP
Regular price $ 29.00
With & – Small Craft On A Milk Sea
First vinyl release (2020) of 2010 release (originally only on CD).