Album Reviews

Album Review: Brian Eno with Jon Hopkins & Leo Abrahams – Small Craft On A Milk Sea (Warp)

By | Published on Wednesday 3 November 2010

Brian Eno

Given his status as one of the definitive sonic pioneers, it feels right that Warp Records should release a Brian Eno album, and this one sits comfortably in the label’s electronic listening music pantheon, even though it arguably has just as much in common with classical music as it does electronica.

Billed as a collaborative effort, you can definitely hear the influence of Hopkins in the jarring electronics as well as Abrahams’ tender guitar parts. And it feels very much a journey, or landscape, with the sedate, sparse opening triptych and ambient closing tracks parenthesising the album’s beats driven central core, the music therein ranging from mildly pleasant downtempo to discordant, disturbing, uneasy listening.

At its best – the effortlessly moody minimalism of ‘Emerald And Lime’, with its beautifully plaintive, evocative piano, or the energising ‘Flint March’, which is like horses galloping into your bedroom just as you were dozing off into blissful sleep – ‘SCOAMS’ functions perfectly as the inevitable soundtrack to various imaginary films

And whilst a couple of tracks are too short to sustain any sense of mood and drama, and occasionally the whole thing feels too clever for its own good (though this is Brian Eno, remember), for the most part this is an engaging listen and the type of album you wish Eno would make more regularly. MS

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