Brian Eno

Music for Installations (Astralwerks / Opal / Universal)

Top 10 Box Sets of 2018

What do you buy for the Eno-phile who already owns an Oblique Strategies card deck, the Music for Airports reissue, and the Reflection app? Music for Installations, a stunning 6-CD/9-LP set that collects the best of the 70-year-old Brit's sound installation pieces on vinyl for the first time.

A super-producer (Byrne, Bowie, U2) and the godfather of ambient music, Eno's CV spans back to the early Seventies with Roxy Music, but Music for Installations begins in the mid-Eighties. Much of his visual art stems from television as a light source, first expressed in the 1986 piece "Five Light Paintings," which sounds like 19 minutes of a scrambled cable TV nature documentary. "77 Million Paintings" (2006) remains his best-known installation, which featured paintings projected on top of each other to generate a near limitless combination of images. Previously only available on DVD, the music element to these works invokes the zero-gravity textures of Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (1983), with sprinkles of the cricket calls lurking on Another Green World (1975) classic "In Dark Trees." The newest music here is entitled Music for Future Installations, four soundtracks for imaginary pieces that progress from the blissed-out, inner-space austerity of "Unnoticed Planet" to the creepy un-lullaby "Surbahar Sleeping Music."

From quirky ("Needle Click") and Zen ("Chamber Lightness") to dystopian ("Kites III"), Music for Installations surveys Eno's myriad musical personalities, but what rationalizes the hefty price tag is an oversized art book. Packed with rare photos and a new essay, the book captures its subject's most ephemeral work in images that will be new to even the biggest fans. It's basically coffeetable porn for ambient music nerds; or, translated to Eno-speak, "Pages to Impress Your Dorkiest Friends With."


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Brian Eno
Phases & Stages
Brian Eno; Bryan Ferry; Wyatt, Atzmon & Stephen
Small Craft on a Milk Sea, Olympia, For the Ghosts Within (Record Review)

Audra Schroeder, Dec. 31, 2010

Summertime Blues
Brian Eno's 'Another Green World'
Gonna raise a fuss, gonna raise a holler: rock & roll books

Audra Schroeder, June 11, 2010

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Dan Gentile
The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Thursday
The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Thursday
Young Thug in the park, icy French experimentalism, and more

March 18, 2022

The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Wednesday
The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Wednesday
The buzzy, the brave, the thrash-able twee-pop

March 17, 2022


Brian Eno, Gift Guide 2018

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle