auto-inserted 09-17-2014 15:56:46
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On his third offering for Warp, Brian Eno returns to ambient music once again. He displayed it on his label debut, 2010's Small Craft on a Milk Sea, but the various pieces on it were either rejects from The Lovely Bones soundtrack or developed with Leo Abrahams on the Everything That Happens Will Happen Today tour. The music on Lux is a single, 75-minute composition divided into four segments that are between 18 and 20 minutes. They were composed to accompany an exhibit of Eno's visual art in Turin. Lux adheres to his ambient principle of making music that is "rewarding attention but not being so strict as to demand it. There is an elemental drift in all four parts of this work, but that's not all there is. Aided once again by Abrahams on Moog guitar, and violins and violas by Neil Catchpole, Eno's electronic textures and drones are also accented by the piano's stray single notes or minimal chords, and skeletal use of bass and/or acoustic guitar. But that sense of drift, while inescapable, is actually deliberate and tactile. Music swells and wanes. Alterations of mood and the suggestion of various light shades can be altered in startling fashion--15:47 of "Lux 1," when the piece's tonality drops with piano keys played in the lower register deliberately adding an ominous sense of drama. Here again, Eno's sense of creating space all around the droning themes simply moves one idea along to the next place. As each section fades and disappears, the next emerges, unobtrusively, the new one contains only the trace memory of what previously transpired. While each track exists in a self-contained sphere, it is holistic in its relationship to the others. The listener's isn't so much absorbed in actively engaging the composition, but absorbed by it. That said, there is great reward in focusing on what "happens." That's because Lux betrays implications of vastness just underneath its dulcet tones and restrained palette.