Brian Eno/Harold Budd – Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror

This classic is nothing short of amazing.

Each of Eno’s Ambient works has a different mood, with unique instrumentation and textures. On Ambient 2, Eno and Harold Budd create a intoxicating world that, once you’ve visited, you’ll want to return to.

Harold Budd creates slow piano works, reminiscent of some of Eric Satie’s more well-known work, or possibly Thomas de Hartmann’s. Budd treats his keyboards through effects, though, and adds reverberation, creating an unnatural context for the natural sounds. Eno processes Budd’s piano with phasers, tape loops, and backwards reverberation effects. Budd and Eno create sounds never heard before on Ambient 2.

The album is as listenable as it is ignorable, so it supports multiple levels of attention. Of Eno’s Ambient series, The Plateaux of Mirror is probably the most accessible. The pieces have clear melodies and form, less oblique than Ambient 1 or 4.

The pieces are slow and mellow, and their titles suggest quiet, contemplative places: “Wind in Lonely Fences”, or “The Chill Air”, for example. They are evocative and thought provoking. The pieces work together as a whole, also, because they have fairly consistent sound, pacing and mood throughout.

Ambient 2 is a great introduction to Eno’s ambient music. If you like this, you’d like his album The Pearl, also.

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