Home > News & Reviews > Brian Eno

Brian Eno - Reflection (Album Review)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017 Written by Jacob Brookman

Reviewing ambient music is a difficult task, mainly because it operates in a different way to most other styles of the artform. It is sound intended to fade into the background; eschewing attention and directing the listener to alternative cognitive locations.

So the act of sitting down and decoding it can seem vaguely quixotic, both practically (one gets distracted) and philosophically (does one review the album, or one’s own id?). As such, ‘Reflection’ - Brian Eno’s second release in as many years - must be understood in the context of its effectiveness in getting the mind to drift and creating a fertile environment for thought.

In this regard, it is highly successful. This is music that would be equally potent promoting serenity during a rush hour commute, yoga class or meditation retreat. One key element here is its format: ‘Reflection’ is comprised of one 54 minute track. This is a potentially bold auteur flourish in a genre that, in essence, denies the author’s role.

The reason might be political. Following a year that has seen multiple right hands to the collective liberal soul, Eno’s oeuvre is one that inspires the kind of new age proto-spirituality that makes the average Daily Mail op-ed writer froth at the gill (or pretend to at least). Eno is a multimedia artist who has undoubtedly been affected by this social environment, and ‘Reflection’ seems to demand calmness at a time of tumult.

The music itself is placid even by the standards of the genre. Led by saw waves and bell-like drones, it follows a terse-yet-sprawling musical mode that is both ephemeral and extra-terrestrial. Whirring synths compile a spacious compendium of stillness, while Eno demonstrates the detailed production nous that one might expect of a 40-year veteran who has worked with Bowie, Phil Collins, Coldplay, Talking Heads and U2.

Time, space and air are conceptual features of ‘Reflection’, alongside a watery, shimmering quality, rich in calm vibrations and blissful breadth. It’s a sedate work that dances on the edge of somnambulism. But like Radiohead’s Daydreaming, there is an anger here hidden away well beneath the surface. ‘Reflection’ can be understood as a stoic paean to internal contemplation; a mindful shelter in a post-truth storm.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

Brian Eno Announces January Release For Ambient Album 'Reflection'
Tue 15 Nov 2016
Brian Eno will put out a new record at the turn of the year.
Brian Eno Shares Velvet Underground Cover Fickle Sun (iii) I'm Set Free
Thu 21 Apr 2016
Brian Eno has shared Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free, his cover of the Velvet Underground track.
Brian Eno Shares Title Track Of New Album 'The Ship'
Wed 30 Mar 2016
Brian Eno has shared a new 21 minute song, The Ship. 
Nice Electricity: Inside Jawbone's Sizzling Old School Debut
Wed 14 Nov 2018
Photo: Rob Blackham Sometimes an album arrives from out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet. There’s something new, yet familiar, about its melodies, its heart-warming immediacy and the effortless chemistry that oozes from the bewitching songs within. We’re basically talking the musical equivalent of love at first sight, which is exactly what fans of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll and American roots music will doubtless feel after hearing Jawbone’s quietly magnificent self-titled bow.
Boygenius - Boygenius (Album Review)
Tue 13 Nov 2018
Photo: Lera Pentelute Supergroup is a big, ugly label. It’s reductive, and it ramps up the pressure on what is always a new endeavour—even if the players are seasoned pros. Friction is naturally created by expectations rubbing up against the mechanics of making music in a fresh formation, often leading to overhyped records that feel like a tired exhalation of breath from their first note.
'We Wanted To Reach People on a Personal Level': Pijn Discuss The Genre-Defying Power Of 'Loss'
Mon 12 Nov 2018
A striking development in the past decade or so has been the extent to which people discover music through mood as opposed to genre. Streaming services have adapted to perceived consumer demand by releasing reams of playlists tailored to every emotion or context imaginable, from deeply depressed to “songs to sing to in the car”. This has its upsides and downsides for a band like Pijn.
Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers - Bought To Rot (Album Review)
Thu 22 Nov 2018
‘Bought To Rot’ is not an Against Me! Record. Repeat: ‘Bought To Rot’ is not an Against Me! record. Laura Jane Grace might be among friends on her first album with the Devouring Mothers—the roll call does feature drummer Atom Willard and engineer Marc Jacob Hudson, both holdovers from her day job—but the focus is very different.
Mick Jenkins - Pieces Of A Man (Album Review)
Tue 20 Nov 2018
Mick Jenkins was riding the crest of a wave when his breakout mixtape 'The Water[s]' dropped in the summer of 2014. Talented heads like Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Noname and Saba would all go on to emerge from the same bubbling Chicago hip-hop scene, but Jenkins had positioned himself in critics' minds as the moody and technically gifted older brother. He already appeared fully formed in an artistic sense, framing highly conceptual songwriting with jazz-influenced verses and a raspy vocal delivery.
 
< Prev   Next >