INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Stool Pigeon NOVEMBER 1, 2012 - by Colm McAuliffe
BRIAN ENO: LUX
According to John Cage, ambient sounds were the sounds of the environment one happened to be in. On the basis of Lux, Brian Eno's first solo album in seven years and a return to his ambient (non) excursions, the venerable Eno is either encased in the depths of the Discovery Channel, or has lost himself again in the plateaux of mirrors where he encountered Harold Budd, back in 1980.
All of this isn't to say that Lux isn't enjoyable. It is. In fact, it's like seventy five minutes of gently soothing foreplay without even remotely approaching climax. There are no peaks and troughs in Lux's musical topography; dig beneath the surface and what you find is more surface.
Eno's staggering reputation as the intellectual figurehead of art rock towers over everything the touches. And his fingerprints are everywhere, from the U2's stadium bluster to the Microsoft Windows start-up chimes. This sheer ubiquity ensures his most recent work can be readily dismissed as that of a man past his sell-by-date, his pioneering days long behind him. But Eno himself firmly places Lux within the canon of 1975's Discreet Music and 1983's Neroli, his self-styled holographic or 'thinking' music, the latter album in particular notable for a specific, almost geometrical approach to mood music-making.
Lux, as the title suggests, drenches this clinical aural wallpaper in rich, warm colours and textures. The four tracks hum with a fractal iridescence which was lacking from Eno's previous release, 2010's Small Craft On A Milk Sea and ensures the album achieves and maintains a certain cotton-cushioned assuagement.
Of course, all this talk of warmth and gentle humming suggests that you may derive just as much enjoyment from sitting astride a central heating boiler, which may be true... but probably not for seventy five minutes straight.