Though the Ambient
series are widely regarded as Brian Eno's best achievement in ambient music (he did coin the term, after all,) Neroli
is his conquest of truly minimalist music. Like an empty sky, a desolate, dry desert, or a blank wall that stoners gaze at, Neroli
carries very little, yet accomplishes a lot. Unlike his more well-known works in this serene genre, this 1993 release is one track, and barely changes throughout its one hour course. There are no symphonic movements, crescendos, or even shifts in the key it's in. Though that may come shocking to those unfamiliar with ambient music, the thing to remember is it's meant to be simple, quiet, yet still contemplative. The title of the actual song is Neroli: Thinking Music, Part IV
, of course.
delivers what it promises with its direct secondary title. The understated suite is composed of what sounds like footsteps slowly pattering through a tunnel. Each step budges slowly as the reverb rings harmoniously to form a relaxing melody, that's slow to reveal its pattern. Some of the notes ring more than others, creating wavy, subdued harmonics that increase the relaxing brainwash that this album can do.
Despite the meditative flow of the album, Eno still creates some subtle moves in the echoic synth bleeps that change the atmosphere when it's listened to while sleeping, or reading. Throughout the fifty-eight minute record, the notes occasionally speed up by a small bit, or go off in an unexpected direction for a moment, slightly randomizing the hypnotic melody. Though this appears like it may disturb the hung-over person that just woke up and needs music to calm the furrowed brow, it creates a sublime effect when relaxing.
There isn't much else to say about Neroli
, and nothing else needs to be. This album is great to listen to when napping, reading, or working diligently, as today's youth like to do. It has even been used in maternity wards, as we all know how women can get in those magical times. The solitude of the sparse music and cyclic nature makes it a perfect album for all those times in life when being as productive as a three-toed sloth is the thing to do. However, I can't really give this a high score, as it's an album that can't be enjoyed at all times. To someone who's expecting something varied and mind bending in great agitation, Neroli
is just a waste of time. It delivers what it essentially promises and nothing more.