Review Summary: The harmony is brighter in the morning.
At this point in time, Brian Eno has nothing left to prove. A long and fruitful career that once began in the art rock/glam hybrid Roxy Music gradually transitioned into a firm reputation as one of the pioneers of ambient music with titles such as Discreet Music
, No Pussyfooting
, the Ambient
series and Thursday Afternoon
. Several decades, many art installations, collaborations and albums later, Eno hasn’t reached the twilight of his life at 68. Still seeking to innovate the art form and break new ground, Eno decided to return to the roots of his ambient experiments – to create an endless piece of music. Much like the long-form piece Thursday Afternoon
is Eno’s attempt at creating a piece of music that would not only be infinite, but would also unfold differently with each listen – “It’s like sitting by a river; it’s always the same river, but it’s always changing.”
To make his intent come to fruition, Eno teamed up with Peter Chilvers to create an app to accurately form the basis for Reflection
. To diverge from its original starting point, the app would slowly graduate based on the specific time the listener had the composition running and would adjust itself as time went on, creating a truly endless ambient work. The release here however is more of a grab bag. Not in the sense that it’s just a bunch of the different sounds put together with no purpose, but is an entire new work in itself. Reflection
’s LP configuration instead gives the listener a look into what makes the app tick while becoming a work independent from its origin. The title alone gives an idea into what the composition is aiming for with a slowly evolving groundwork that evokes a feeling of introspective reflection. The ebb and flow of the work also somehow manages to make it seem like Reflection
is far shorter than it actually is, and for a fifty-four minute long ambient piece with no imminent end whatsoever, that’s quite impressive. Reflection
’s truncated form serves a purpose (by promoting Eno’s new app) yet also displays a great restraint that has always been present in some of Eno’s greatest works. The prospect of Reflection
being endless doesn’t sound all too bad in consideration to its seamless structure, the reflective mood and the quality of the composition itself. Brian Eno has nothing to prove, yet he still tries to find ways innovate the art form he once pioneered – a reflection on days long past us.