Review Summary: Two musical innovators come together to bring about a mesmerizing and ethereal work of art.
The story of how Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
came about is one that seems common in regard to Brian Eno’s collaborations. Edward Larry Gordon and Brian Eno met by chance, the kind of encounter that has spawned other Brian Eno’s collaborations, and this is certainly one that feels like it came about through fate. Like Eno, Gordon was a unique kind of musical innovator.
After years of learning various instruments, studying composition, performing stand-up comedy in New York, and studying mysticism, Gordon was ready to show his unique ideas to the world. He had modified a zither to include an electronic component, which made for a unique sound that caught the ear of “father of ambient music,” Brian Eno, who happened to hear Gordon performing in Washington Square Park. They brought their musical ideas together, and Edward Larry Gordon became Laraaji, releasing with Eno as producer his most influential and accomplished release, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
The first half consists of a three-part suite titled “The Dance,” a challenging, mesmerizing, and rhythmic soundscape that feels unique while hearkening to the ideas of Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The main instrument used is the hammered dulcimer, in an otherworldly way. Brian Eno’s production treatments make for layered tracks that repeat and harmonize, inducing a powerful, yet beautiful sound.
The second half is a two-part piece: “Meditation” embodies the spirit of the other installments of Eno’s ambient series with an eastern flair. It explores tranquil atmospheres that sound utterly pure and free. Laraaji plays the zither, possibly improvising, while Eno would later add delay and other effects to give “Meditation” a celestial feeling.
In the middle of making his four-part Ambient album series, Eno included Day of Radiance
as the third entry of the four. Despite not playing any instruments here, Eno’s production and creative decisions are crucial to how the music sounds and feels.
Brian Eno and Laraaji’s other works have been used in meditation centers, travel hubs, and works of entertainment all around the world. Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
is the sound of two musical innovators coming together to bring about a mesmerizing and ethereal work of art. Their collaboration is an original, engrossing experience that transports the listener to another place, and still sounds truly ahead of its time to this day.