INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Rock Scene JULY 1979 - by Steve Demorest
ENO: MUSIC FOR FILMS
What happens if you subtract the picture and the dialogue from a movie? You're left with the film-score, the musical fragments directors use to color your emotional reactions to a scene. You rarely notice it since you're occupied following the story-line, but the score is designed as an aural interpretation of the events you're following with your eyes.
With Music For Films, a collection of eighteen random instrumental tracks, Brian Eno has had the interesting idea of providing a variety of fragments and letting the listener imagine what sort of scene each might be suited for. There's no "right" answer, of course. Everyone who hears this album will "see" it differently, according to his individual imagination, and there are no lyrics to influence you in any particular direction.
Rather than using familiar instruments, Eno fashions his sounds electronically with a synthesizer, so there's a wide range in the personalities of the textures he gets. Some tones are almost ephemerally lovely, while others are rough and violent. The majority of the tracks are fairly peaceful, floating items (Eno seems partial to reflective tones), but he also generates some fascinating, machine-like rhythmic, passages, and sometimes achieves tension by mixing the harsh into the graceful. In general, the selections don't "begin" or "end" - it's as though he'd cut a two-minute passage out of an endlessly repeating pattern the way you can cut a small sample swatch off the corner of a roll of wallpaper. Listen with your mind as "open" as possible.