Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports LP
Perhaps the most renowned of Eno's ambient albums, 1978's Music For Airports is thee seminal ambient work. Proof is over forty years worth of other artists (and some downright imitators) who have amassed an enormous collective body of work directly inspired by this one album. This is the O.G. of gorgeous shimmering atmospheric soundscapes. While Eno's conceptual "hands off" compositional style is certainly one of the larger factors in his influencing other future ambient artists, the thing about Music For Airports that makes it so compelling is the way in which it manages to impart a feeling of warmth, despite the clinically mechanical way in which the pieces are played. While the performances are not executed by machines, the impact of its influence carries on down, all the way to Aphex Twin's zenith of robotic beauty, The Richard D. James Album. The four pieces ("1/1," "2/1," "1/2" and "2/2" named for their sequence on the LP) build one upon the next. The first is arranged entirely with electric and acoustic pianos (with some help from Robert Wyatt), the second a chorus of voices, and the third and fourth pieces a combination of those elements with additional synth. The drifting and staggered arpeggios cascade in slow-motion giving the pieces a shapeless consistency – somehow always moving forward, yet remaining frozen. A suitable antidote to muzak, if there ever was one. Truly sublime.