"I thought it would be interesting to write music for public spaces..." - Brian Eno
February 16, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Music For Real Airports is a multimedia art project collaboration between interactive artists Human and musicians The Black Dog. With the project set to launch April 24, 2010 at the Sensoria festival of music and film, the project recalls Brian Eno's 1978 work, Ambient 1: Music for Airports.

Eno, who is often credited with coining the term "ambient music," discusses his original inspiration in the Koln airport: to provide music which didn't interfere with human communication, but could endure for long periods of time in public spaces and easily interrupted without causing suffering for the listener. This Music for Airports LP, long considered to be the first long-playing ambient record, has provided the soundtrack for many film meditations: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on.

Recordings of The Black Dog's Music For Real Airports will be available on some combination of vinyl and CD shortly after its debut at the Millenium Galleries, with a tour of gallery spaces and live performances to be announced shortly.

Brian Eno: Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by Unicorn on the cob (19 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'm more curious about music for fake airports...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2010

ooh, nice.

Note that almost the entire body of "ambient music" is not actually Ambient, including The Black Dogs entire body of work. Also Radio Scarecrow is a really nice album.
posted by Artw at 9:39 AM on February 16, 2010

I've often wished for Music for Airports to actually be played at airports. Airport music is drek, lowest common denominator type stuff. I find M4A uplifting.
posted by unixrat at 9:42 AM on February 16, 2010

Ooh, The Black Dog. I keep thinking Ken Downie disappeared from music before the year 2000, as I missed his return in 2005 with Dust Science Recordings for a number of years. Thanks for the heads up on more Black Dog music!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:44 AM on February 16, 2010

I've often wished for Music for Airports to actually be played at airports.

I think it was played at one of the LGA terminals not too long after its release, but it was an installation and wasn't included as anything ongoing.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:46 AM on February 16, 2010

filthy light thief - Plaid is worth checking out as well.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2010

Although "Another Green World" hinted at the direction he was headed, Eno's ambient work really began with the track "Discreet Music" from 1975, which is as compelling as 31 minutes of music can possibly get.
posted by davebush at 9:55 AM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

(Basically The Black Dog minus Ken Downie)
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on February 16, 2010

Just heard Discreet Music for the first time pretty recently and I'm totally digging it. For those who are interested, you can listen (one time, anyway) to a lot of Eno records, including Discreet Music and the Ambient series, over at Lala.com.
posted by ekroh at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2010

I remember once lying flat on my back in a forest in the flight path of Vancouver's YVR airport, listening to Mr. Eno's Music For Airports. Birdsong and other forest sounds fused smoothly with spacious drones and themes ... and the occasional thunder of jet turbines at full roar.

It worked rather nicely, I must say.
posted by philip-random at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2010

Very nice post. I'm trying to figure out the project; Black Dog's description and statement of intent confuses me. For example:

Some members of The Black Dog were disappointed by Eno's treatment of the subject in 1979 and have been considering how to produce a more meaningful response ever since.

So not only have they missed the point of Eno's project as well as the significance of his innovations, structural and otherwise; they've been working on a response since 1979.

Airports have some of the glossiest surfaces in modern culture, but the fear underneath remains. Hence this record is not a utilitarian accompaniment to airports, in the sense of reinforcing the false utopia and fake idealism of air travel. Unlike Eno's Music for Airports, this is not a record to be used by airport authorities to lull their customers.

Apparently there's a wild-eyed-utopian airport movement that needs a corrective.
posted by xod at 10:06 AM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah. This reads as useless and offensive to me -- some may call that "art", but I find their inherent disregard and lack of actually grokking Eno's work to be a nonstarter for this. Real Airports, indeed.
posted by cavalier at 10:08 AM on February 16, 2010

I think you guys are reacting more to bad copywriting than anything. I read that to mean that Eno's work was from 1979, but upon their recent examination of it as a literal music for airports, they felt they could do one better. Not that they had been ruminating on it for thirty years.

The backlash against airports as a non-space, etc etc is very of its time and not as novel as Eno's original intent, but I see no evil in exposing the fear anywhere, as cliched as it may be.
posted by mikeh at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2010

As a massive fan of The Black Dog and Eno, I'm hopeful that I'll get to see this installation (or at least hear it) as it's intended if they do a gallery tour. I can't imagine this would translate well in a nightclub or bar setting.

I've wanted to see something like this since Charles Long and Stereolab's Amorphous Body Study Center project.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:21 AM on February 16, 2010

filthy light thief - Plaid is worth checking out as well

Although I feel that every other comment I make here is about the animé TekkonKinkreet, I'll just add that Plaid's score for this is (possibly) the best electronic music I've come across for a movie.
posted by specialbrew at 12:01 PM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Next up, Music for Real Films.
posted by The Mouthchew at 1:09 PM on February 16, 2010

Awesome. Great post.
posted by WPW at 3:01 PM on February 16, 2010

I was first introduced to Music for Airports through this album by Bang on a Can and was blown away to realize that they had scored it for non-digital instruments. I'm really ooking forward to this new project.
posted by KingEdRa at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2010

i read this Q "cash for questions" where they asked eno if music for airports had ever actually been played at an airport. he said once he visited brazil, and to honor him, they played it as he arrived at the airport. BUT, they played it at ear-splitting volume, which hilariously negated the calming effect it was supposed to have. haha i love imagining that tableau.
posted by jcruelty at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2010

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