Review Summary: Fuck air travel.
While Brian Eno
's seminal ambient album Music for Airports
was intended to calm down those who might be anxious about flying, The Black Dog's techno-tinged answer is intended to make you really think about the hell that is air travel. Music for Real Airports
is about showing up two hours before your flight "in case security is busy," about stripping down for the screening before being asked to go through the cancer machine, and then subsequently pat down, as if crystal clear pictures of your genitalia weren't enough. It's about spending twice as much as you normally would on subpar food, and dirty, uncomfortable terminal chairs (if the gate isn't completely full of similarly cranky passengers), and of course the inevitable announcement that your plane was delayed and you must now wait an additional hour or more. It's about the mothers that force their children who are clearly too young to fly onto a plane with seemingly no regard for the other passengers. It's about the constant plane noise that makes music listening nigh impossible without incurring permanent hearing loss, and the seats that "recline," assuming every passenger is approximately five feet tall. It's about the dread you feel when you realize you'll have to go through the entire process again on your way home.
All of this implies that Music for Real Airports
is excruciatingly unpleasant. Fortunately this is not the case, as the Black Dog are quite adept at composition, and the albums leading up to this belied enough minimalist/ambient leanings that the jump to a primarily ambient album was easily within their reach. Music for Real Airports
is full of field recordings gathered from a real airport, and these recordings are used to generate feelings of tension and dread underneath the already gloomy ambient compositions. The more techno-oriented tracks are minimal enough to be unobtrusive, but intricate enough to focus on if needed - fulfilling Mr. Eno's admission that ambient music should be "as ignorable as it is interesting." Music for Real Airports
isn't as good or important as Music for Airports
- but it's not trying to be. It's merely trying to portray airports as they really are, and succeeding spectacularly.