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Brian Eno
Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks


3.5
great

Review

by Ocean of Noise USER (31 Reviews)
July 1st, 2016 | 53 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist


When discussing ambient music, Brian Eno is impossible not to mention. The man is unquestionably the most important and influential figure in the genre, not to mention that he coined the term “ambient music” with his seminal 1978 masterpiece Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Eno has made several critically acclaimed ambient albums over the years, and his 1983 opus Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks is considered one of the finest of his discography, despite some unevenness that prevents it from being a classic.

A great deal of Apollo does its job perfectly. The production is warm and hardly sounds dated, in keeping with much of Eno’s discography. The emotional range is broad, from the dark and mysterious (“Under Stars”, “Matta”) to the relaxing and ethereal (“Stars”) to the downright euphoric (“An Ending (Ascent)”). There’s plenty of innovation to be considered here, too; the use of guitar on “Under Stars” and the almost animal-like sounds of “Matta” are particularly noteworthy. Among the best tracks here, there is variety, both of colour and texture, without sacrificing unity; there really is enough to keep one listening for hours, despite the minimalistic nature of the music. There are a good handful of very special successes here that should not be missed by fans of Eno’s other ambient albums.

There is a significant break, though, in the consistency of Apollo. Tracks 8-11, being more guitar-oriented and occasionally resembling country music, are not bad by any means but feel somewhat out of place. The vast majority of the album has a great focus on synthesizers and more mysterious sonic landscapes; the space-rock stylings of most of its second half sound completely different and do not fit within the context of the other tracks at all. If those tracks had been omitted and “Stars” had been placed immediately after “Drift”, the album would have worked excellently as a whole, and if “Silver Morning”, “Deep Blue Day”, “Weightless”, and “Always Returning” had been put together on an EP or another special release, they, too, would have fared much better.

Despite this, though, Apollo is still a fascinating listen that should merit many spins for ambient music fans. While as a whole it may not rank among his finest works, there are several individual tracks here that certainly would, and so it shouldn’t be left out of the collection of any Eno fan. That being said, though, if you are new to Brian Eno’s work or want to explore the classics of ambient music, don’t start here; listen to Music for Airports, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, Volume 2, or Biosphere’s Substrata before you bother with this.



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user ratings (283)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Ocean of Noise
July 1st 2016


10930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So this is a review that I finished several months ago but never posted for some reason. It seems pretty good to me (I'm not sure why I didn't post it), but constructive comments are always welcome.

zaruyache
July 1st 2016


22991 Comments


Still need to jam most of this guy's stuff, but I loved his junk with Harold Budd.

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hal1ax
July 1st 2016


14753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ayy an ambient review. nice job

Ocean of Noise
July 1st 2016


10930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man!

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2016


19409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yesssssssss

AnimalsAsSummit
July 1st 2016


5154 Comments


eno is god

Digging: Makoto Featuring Deeizm - Progression Sessions 9: Japan Live 2003

Ocean of Noise
July 1st 2016


10930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He definitely rules.

LotusFlower
July 1st 2016


12000 Comments


nice review, but... you said he needs no introduction and then you introduced him.

parksungjoon
July 1st 2016


22312 Comments


rules

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Spacesh1p
July 1st 2016


7717 Comments


eno is god

[2] hard

Tunaboy45
July 1st 2016


17235 Comments


Eno is a living legend

Yotimi
July 1st 2016


7614 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

An Ending (ascent) is still one of the most beautiful songs ever

Ocean of Noise
July 2nd 2016


10930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review, but... you said he needs no introduction and then you introduced him.




That is an excellent point! I'll see if I can come up with a better opening sentence...



An Ending (ascent) is still one of the most beautiful songs ever




Agreed. That song is incredible.

Pho3nix
November 2nd 2016


947 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is very organic, I quite liked it

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grannypantys
February 21st 2017


2328 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not a fan of the songs here that use guitar. They all sound out of place or even hokey. Luckily those songs are rare and the remaining tracks are all excellent.

Ocean of Noise
February 21st 2017


10930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed completely dude.

AmericanFlagAsh
April 5th 2017


9938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

An Ending is so pretty ~~~



I think I like this more than Music For Airports

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Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2017


19409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Airports ain't even his best ambient release



~this~

AmericanFlagAsh
April 5th 2017


9938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last few tracks on this gave me life

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2017


19015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Opener, closer, and An Ending (Ascent) are amazing. Really glad to see this reviewed, great job Ocean!

Digging: Gorillaz - Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez



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