Small Craft On a Milk Sea (Bonus Track Version)
Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins & Leo Abrahams
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Brian Eno returns to the ambient music modes he helped pioneer over 30 years ago on Small Craft On a Milk Sea, a collaborative effort with composer Jon Hopkins and guitarist Leo Abrahams. Small Craft both reflects Eno's expanded sonic palette and harkens back to the thematic motifs he introduced in the ‘70s. These pieces — combining improvisation with computer editing — are by turns pastoral, ominous and exalted in tone. The spectral piano recital “Emerald and Stone” and the crystalline, disembodied “Lesser Heaven” renew Eno’s claim as a master of the ambient genre. On the opposite extreme lies the darkly oozing “Paleosonic” and the jittery, chattering “Horse.” As before, Eno achieve a particular grace at conjuring up soundscapes of cold, austere grandeur — “Calcium Needles” and the title number are among his best compositions along these lines. In recent interviews, Eno has indicated that these pieces are imagined sketches of pop music genres from the future. Small Craft On a Milk Sea meets this challenge with evocative grace and cool, lucid vision.
Frothy, Milky, and Experimental
RECOMENDED TRACKS: Late Anthropocene, Complex Heaven, 2 Forms of Anger
Nothing raises an eyebrow more than an experimental piece of work. My expectations for a new Eno album were high, of course, as this is the first solo release from Eno in years, and I was hoping for some organic ambient soundscapes reminiscent of 'On Land.' Well, this isn't quite organic, nor very dark or groundbreaking, but it definitely is an Eno album, and contains enough quality to it that the new material is worth getting ahold of.
A lot of the ambient pieces here are gentle. They give the feeling described by the record's title - paddling down a milk sea on a small, lonesome craft. The loneliness here isn't a dark loneliness, but more of a calming emptiness that gives hints of Eno's enormous musical past. It evokes nostalgia.
As far as the rest of the work goes, there is plenty of the well-known experimental elements of Brian Eno lying about. 'Bone Jump' is a good example of improvisation and experimenting. Which can be a good thing and a bad thing - Bone Jump is a weak track in many senses, and could've been a lot better, much like Calcium Needles, the darkest track on the album, which doesn't even compare to the older dark pieces Eno has weaved together in his lifetime.
If you're a Brian Eno fan, keep in mind that this isn't a groundbreaking production, but definitely good music. It's everything you'd expect from an Eno record. There are also a lot of great bonus tracks to seek out, especially 'Invisible,' which I consider to be one of the best tracks on the album.
If you're not an Eno fan, or don't know much about his music, do NOT start here. Go back and find his 'Apollo' album, 'Music For Films III,' 'Ambient 1/Music For Airports' or, my favorite of them all, 'Ambient 4/On Land.'
Fantastic Album!! **** LOVE IT FROM 1 to 16!!! ***
Well....always great what Brian does. My favourite tracks are Dust Shuffle and Horse! Reminds me of older tracks by Brian Eno. Fantastic! I tried to mix these tracks with others from the compilation series BALTIC CHill Café, Vol. 1 & 2 and now I have great music for my Sunday Mornings!
The music on this record is so vivid and imaginative that it inspires visions of places unknown. It's almost like taking a trip through the mind's eye to get a fresh perspective on the world with a soundtrack. Almost bookending this album is the Emerald and Lime / Emerald and Stone pair that boasts an almost ethereal dreamlike quality that transports the listener into the mists of creation. Songs throughout have feeling, depth, emotion and drive and songs like Horse and 2 Forms of Anger will get the blood flowing and hasten the heart rate. This album is full of very rewarding music. Highly recommended for fans of The Social Network Score, drukqs, Ambient 4: On Land and admirers of Trent Reznor, Richard D. James and especially Brian Eno.
Born: May 15, 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by Brian Eno
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