INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Age OCTOBER 26, 2012 - by Chris Johnston
MUSIC FOR FILMS
Brian Eno, 1978
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens, according to Brian Eno collaborator David Byrne of Talking Heads, in Heaven. The two share a sense of the supernatural, and Eno's superb trilogy of ambient masterworks - Music For Films, Music For Airports and Apollo - are in another galaxy, or perhaps an afterlife, far, far away. Music For Films took Eno three years to release; at first it truly was destined for unseen films, then became an entity unto itself. During the making of it he also did Bowie's Low; the found sounds and soundscapey drones and the idea of nothingness and ambience that Eno was being drawn into played a big contextual role in that great Bowie record. This week I have essentially been sitting still in a mostly empty house at a table. The quiet neighbourhood has noise; the world has noise. Birds and wind and schoolkids just before nine and then again after three. Blinds rattle sometimes, a postie's motorcycle, a falling wheelie bin and the rear doors of a small truck that won't immediately shut. I found the optimum volume level for Music For Films in and around this organic audio was between "one" and "two" and what would happen was this: the music (someone came over and heard a faint sound and said "what's that?" I said "music" and they said "that isn't music") would play among the rest. Eno here was into chimes and synthetic, synthesised tones, and also electric piano and electric guitar. Phil Collins plays some gentle percussion, John Cale some viola and Robert Fripp some guitar. I was especially pleased that, by tinkering with the volume, it could play in my house for days and be lost then found among real life. It was nice.