Small Craft on a Milk SeaAlbum |
Eno and Warp, together for the first time.
Brian Eno's first album on Warp Records--a pairing of artist and label so perfect that it's surprising it took so long--is entirely instrumental, but it's not one of his ambient releases. These 16 brief tracks (almost all under four minutes, several under two) were created from layers of improvisations with guitarist Leo Abrahams and keyboardist Jon Hopkins, but most of them have considerably stronger melodies and rhythms than one would find on the likes of Music For Airports. The opening "Emerald and Lime" is about as purely tranquil as the album gets; soon the title track ratchets up the tension with a helicopter-like thrumming that loops unpredictably underneath the placid guitars and electronics, and then the considerably nervier "Flint March" and "Horse" veer the album into unsettling Aphex Twin-style clatter. By the time the jittery polyrhythms of "Two Forms of Anger" are subsumed into a Neu!-style guitar drone, Small Craft On A Milk Sea is already Eno's most intriguing instrumental release since the original Music For Films, so it's a shame that the middle third of the album goes a bit limp and repetitive, particularly on the overlong guitar effects showcase "Paleosonic." But by the time tracks like "Slow Ice, Old Moon" and "Calcium Needles" delicately unfold in the manner of some of Eno's older collaborations with pianist Harold Budd, the balance has righted itself once again.
|Brian Eno: The Dick Flash Interview|