EEGCD 17 Ambient 1: Music for Airports
Produced by Brian Eno
Released on 1978
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
EEGCD 17 cover
[high resolution scan]

T he greatest ambient album ever re(cough)ded. If it’s the only ambient album you’ve ever heard, I suppose. Music for Airports marks the beginning of Brian Eno’s Ambient series of recordings, though Discreet Music is his first true full-length ambient recording (and No Pussyfooting his first all-instrumental album if you want to get technical). You can avoid No Pussyfooting if you want, nothing lost, but Discreet Music is a beautiful, moving record. Music for Airports isn’t, representing a sort of halfway point between Discreet Music and the subsequent Plateaux of Mirror. If you’re looking for a parallel in your local Enography, you might want to look up Harold Budd’s Pavilion of Dreams, which Eno produced. Both records incorporate acoustic piano (Budd’s achievement, actually) and voices that sound like synthesizers (raise a toast to Philip Glass, why doncha). Neither record makes my shortlist of great instrumental works, however. Better to buy The Pearl, Discreet Music, Ambients 2 and 4, even Evening Star if yawanna. “1/1” (the songs have no proper titles but rather are schematized to look like excerpted electronic signals) sounds like an ambient version of the children’s song “Frere Jacques.” Cute, but not sixteen minutes cute. “2/1” (song two, side one in case you’re one-daring) creates a middle distance of piano notes and ambient swells, as does “1/2.” The closing piece is closest in effect to Discreet Music, which is to say warm waveforms of sounds without the tinkly piano notes. Eno’s Ambient series do mark an important achievement in modern music, as it caused a lot of people (okay, well maybe not a lot) to rethink the nature and purpose of music. I’ve read that this was supposed to soothe airline passengers, though for some reason I doubt that. Not that the music isn’t soothing, but those check-in lines are slow enough without inducing people to fall asleep. Me, if I were picking airport music, would lean toward Khatchaturian’s circus themes, but then I don’t like waiting. Music for Airports is interesting in its approach to sounds as wave-based entities. Not life-changing or astounding, I said, merely interesting. Obviously, that’s only my opinion, and one clouded by the fact that the achievements made here were already exposed to me in other works from Eno.

EEGCD 17 back cover
EEGCD 17 back cover


  1. 1/1    (Brian Eno/Robert Wyatt/Rhett Davies)    16:39
  2. 1/2    8:25
  3. 1/2    11:36
  4. 2/2    9:38

    All compositions by Brian Eno unless noted


BRIAN ENO -- concept, design, engineer
Christa Fast -- voices
Christine Gomez -- voices
Robert Wyatt -- acoustic piano
Inge Zeininger -- voices
Rhett Davies -- engineer
David Hutchins -- engineer
Conny Plank -- engineer

US 1978 PVC LP 7908  
CAN 1978 Passport LP PB 2006  
US   Editions EG CD/CS EEGCD/EGEDC 17  
NET   Virgin CD 866496  


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