Fire Note Says: Brian Eno is a connoisseur of the floating world and you can trust him as your guide.
Album Review: The new Brian Eno album brings us more of ambient Eno, of soundscape Eno. But it’s not thematic like his space-y Apollo. Nor is it as calculated as the brilliant Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Neither is it filled with glistening set pieces like The Shutov Assembly or, in collaboration with Harold Budd, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror. No, this album comes closest to only one previous album of his and that’s 1993’s Neroli. And there’s a special place in my heart for Neroli. Why? It’s near-perfect thinking/unthinking music. Deeply meditative without being cloying . . . decidedly there without undue presence . . and not that airy-ethereal mess that New Age types of music usually offer. If a mountaintop spiritual retreat met with the postmodern Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (pictured below), you’d have the visual approximation of the sound contained on not only Neroli but on the new album Lux. Especially that of Lux, in fact.
Each of the four long tracks on Lux is floating but not without a satisfying ponderous weight, like a piano’s bass note hanging richly in the air. There’s a lot of liquid saturation in the first track (“Lux 1”), a thin-air quality in the second (“Lux 2”), a humid air in the third (“Lux 3”), and the fourth track (you guessed it) has elements of all three preceding tracks.
The music was originally commissioned to play alongside artworks in the Great Gallery of the Palace of Venaria in Turin, Italy. But the album is anything but a tossed off collection of inoffensive doodlings. It stands proudly and seductively alongside Eno’s best ambient work. Close listeners to this work will be handsomely rewarded.
Key Tracks: “Lux 1”, “Lux 3”, “Lux 4”
Artists With Similar Fire: Biosphere / Harold Budd / John Foxx
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-Reviewed by Alan Black (alanblack13.com)