Sunday, 4 April 2010

Brian Eno and Harold Budd - 'Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror'

I have no idea when I bought this. I'd guess it was late 1990s, because there are bits in it that I remember sampling and hiding in the background of tracks, just to fill it out and give it a bit of ambience (pun intended). The piano motif at the start of 'The Chill Air' immediately takes me back to the mini-studio I had set up at my gaff on Meanwood Road in Leeds. I vividly remember having woken up really early, getting into the studio, and laying down layers of samples as the background to a track. I'd used loads of tiny snippets of sound, collaged together behind a drumbeat. I had a terrible lack-of-sleep headache, and what came out of the sampler was reflective of that - disjointed, irritated and disembodied. Not a productive morning.

Conversely, 'Ambient 2' is a beautiful record, really soft and dreamy, but at the same time quite structured. I'd guess that's the combination of Eno's production and Budd's meandering but strong piano lines. It's from a period when ambient actually meant 'evocative', rather than shorthand for slow, repetitive faux-ethnic techno.

I hadn't noticed before, but this really reminds me of 'Genny Hanniver' by Tatsuhiko Asano, which is a relatively recent record. It has the same textures and dreamy feel, calm and cool, but at the same time pulling the listener towards a destination. I don't have 'Genny Hanniver' on vinyl, but it's certainly one of the better electronic downbeat records I've heard in the last 10 years.

Tracks: First Light, Steal Away, The Plateaux of Mirror, Above Chiangmai, An Arc of Doves, Not Yet Remembered, The Chill Air, Among Fields of Crystal, Wind in Lonely Fences, Failing Light.

Catalogue Number: Editions EG EGED18


  1. hi zak, did you ever hear the rockers hi fi mix of sunshine of your love? very much akin to some of the records youve been reviewing here. dave

  2. Hi Dave, I'm not familiar with it, and I'm pretty sure I don't have it hidden away anywhere, but I will try and look it up. Cheers, Zak