Brian Eno`s ‘Small Craft On A Milk Sea’-A Welcome Return To Ambient Music

December 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Music, Top Story

Small Craft On A Milk Sea is Brian Eno`s first project on his new label, Warp Records. Brian collaborates with Jon Hopkins, who plays piano, keyboards and electronics, and with Leo Abrahams, who plays guitar, laptop and guitaret. The credits say that Brian commandeers the computers, which may mean he does a little bit of everything. I absolutely adore this record, since it reminds me of the old days in the late 1970s, when we got the brilliant Music For Films and Music For Airports. These are my favorite Eno, even more so than the pop stuff.

I still play both of those records all the time, since they provide fantastic background music to fuel efforts for writing and typing out a few vapors of thought on a blank white computer slab. Oddly enough, I`m freed of writer`s block whenever I have some of Brian`s ambient music on my stereo. Small Craft is the latest addition to my collection of Eno soundscapes, that stimulate your imagination in different ways every time you listen. But one consistency with Small Craft is the recurring theme of extraterrestrial phantasms preoccupy one`s living space!

This one makes me feel as if I`ve returned to Roswell, New Mexico and I`m wandering around the exhibits at the UFO Museum on the drag. I took a vacation through that spooky town in about 1999 and I recall the museum was located in what looked like an old, abandoned movie house. Saw some tiny green men lying dead in the pastures the first time I put Small Craft on my stereo. Or Klaatu comes to mind from The Day The Earth Stood Still, commanding us humans to get our act together.

I pulled out my Rough Guide To Sci-Fi Movies a few minutes back to search for good titles to watch with the soundtrack down, and Brian Eno way up. Okay, I`ll stop acting stupid, but this can easily be described as a UFO type of music to me. While most of these tracks are baffling to me, so far, one thing I`ve noticed is the tracks shuffle back and forth from passive, tranquil affairs, over to tense, combustible mood pieces. This alternating yin/yang diversity is pleasing to our natures. And I love the futuristic artwork too, done by Nick Robertson.

Let`s see, I better reflect some more on these tracks, maybe I missed something, maybe I missed the point entirely, you never know. But if I listen to this several more times tonight, I may just have my own Roswell experience under the sheets this Christmas night. Won`t you join me in a Flying Saucer Soiree this Xmas Eve? *(Thorough, positive review on Pop Matters.)