INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Mojo APRIL 2009 - by Mike Barnes
BRIAN ENO: MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS / THE OCEAN
Visual accompaniment to the original ambient music album, plus documentary.
Back in the late-'90s, Bang On A Can All-Stars' idea of realising Brian Eno's Music For Airports as a concert piece for ensemble seemed a strange one - it was basically four pieces of utilitarian muzak, after all. But while staying faithful to the original composition, they subtly elaborated its nuances, transforming it into an exquisitely spare but musically substantial piece. And somewhat ironically, it's served here by blurred, bleached-out images of taxiing aircraft and passengers passing evanescently through spaces into which the music was originally conceived to waft, barely noticed. The music doesn't demand anything demonstrative, of course, but after forty-five minutes this audio-visual combination does leave the viewer feeling somewhat comfortably numb. The companion piece is the director's 2000 documentary film of the American avant-garde and minimal tradition that inspired Bang On A Can. This absorbing film includes performances of the musicians' own pieces and and interviews with composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, who were all an influence on Eno himself.