|Produced by Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois|
|Released on August 1984|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
|EEGCD 37 cover|
T he first time I listened to this disc, a housefly hatched in error on a warm December day stole into my listening room and flitted noisily through the window shades. At first I thought the raspy buzz was part and parcel of the music, only isolating the sound as extraneous during “The Silver Ball.” Even after my discovery, the housefly’s mad rovings were equitable to my ears, which I reckon is a fair litmus test of whether music is effectively ambient. The same might have happened on The Plateaux of Mirror, as The Pearl is essentially a further reflection on that album’s musical possibilities. And yet it might not have, since the former was a warmer record. Here, it feels as though “The Chill Air” pervades an entire album. The compositions are still, remote, the light of distant suns reflected on alien landscapes, uncolored by the observations of a sentient intelligence. The piano keys become ice crystals, suspended in the black vacuum of space, isolated and infinite. Some of the works evoke their titles (“Echo of Night”) while others don’t. Of course, I entered The Pearl with a preconceived notion of what to expect, and to its credit the music is different in subtle but important ways. Brian Eno’s electronics exist in a separate space from Harold Budd’s piano notes this time, suggesting at once an impenetrable hardness and a limitless expanse. I couldn’t tell you what Daniel Lanois brings to the picture; The Pearl would fain foster its own inscrutable inkiness by leaving liner notes to the imagination. There is an added element of noise in some cases (“Stream With Bright Fish”) that might be Lanois’ hand or not. As with most of the ambient recordings from Budd and Eno, repeated listenings are required to absorb the fullness of their sonic implications. Sometimes that’s a challenge (Music For Films, The Pavilion of Dreams), but The Pearl passes as imperceptibly as time itself, making it the rare disc you can listen to over and over again. I might give The Plateaux of Mirror the nod (in case you’re teetering between the two) if only because it reached this plateau first.
|EEGCD 37 back picture sleeve|
HAROLD BUDD --
BRIAN ENO --
DANIEL LANOIS --
Russell Mills -- cover art and design
Christina Birrer -- photography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||August 1984||Editions EG||LP/CD||EGED/EEGCD 37|
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