Nov 12, 2012 Issue #43 - Animal Collective
It might cheer Brian Eno to think that his name, at this stage in an ever-evolving career, is synonymous with possibly nothing, thanks to his stature as a reliably trend-shrugging experimentalist. The fact that the past decade has seen him release more collaborative material than solo material also suggests that he’s having little difficulty tripping over his ego these days.
For his first solo album since 2005’s Another Day on Earth, Eno nods toward earlier ambient works such as The Plateaux of Mirror, his 1980 release with Harold Budd. The 12 sections of LUX unfold carefully over the course of 76 minutes. As strings surface and carefully raise the curtain, various versions of keyboard notes sound off. Muted and filtered piano notes join synth tings as seemingly random impulses, an effect akin to someone cranking an elaborately appointed music box at an infinitesimal pace.
It’s like the inverse approach of someone like Philip Glass; where that composer might construct complex structures and substructures filled with notes, LUX achieves its ends by breathing deeply through its open spaces. Rather than chords, mostly single notes (both strings and keys) are struck, some to disappear as quickly as an afterthought while others ripple and reverberate until they wrap the horizon.
While LUX is not foreground music, it can nevertheless be intimately manipulative. Eno’s not hanging aural wallpaper here; as one becomes passively invested hearing LUX for more than an hour, the recording settles deeply like the cerebral equivalent of a heartbeat, and while this may not initially seem a work built to directly engage, its subtleties can be arresting. Whether it plays like the soundtrack to peace, loss, or twinkling lights, LUX is a composition that is no more static than its listener. (www.brian-eno.net)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 8/10