Skip to content

Brian Eno – Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978)

January 10, 2017


Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @caughtmegaming


[Album 502/1001]

Would you rather:

a) Listen to Brian Eno
b) Get a massage
c) Feel like you’re waiting in an airport

If you had asked me a few years ago, I would probably have picked c), as I didn’t really get the appeal of either Eno (not having ever really explored) or massages (not having ever booked one).

But waiting in an airport meant coffee/crosswords/reading/vacation and I certainly got the appeal of those!


In 2017, however, I’d likely pick the hidden option d).

As in, d), All of the above.

Why the change of heart?


a) I’m starting to appreciate (on my way to enjoying) Brian Eno. He recorded this album with the 220px-music_for_airportsmission to make a record that was “as ignorable as it was interesting.”

That’s actually the perfect description of Ambient 1: Music For Airports. It’s sparse, but it fills the space nicely. I forget it’s playing in the background, but it would be noticeable if it wasn’t.

Kudos Brian Eno, really neat idea, really nice execution. Mission accomplished.

b) What type of background music works well during a massage? Ignorable, yet interesting, sounds about right. A friend of mine is a massage therapist and plays Ambient 1: Music For Airports during her sessions. I’ve also finally had a massage and I now get their appeal.

c) I’m still a fan of the coffee/crosswords/reading/vacation that accompanies airport waiting.

d) So yes, please sign me up for all of the above: a Brian Eno-soundtracked massage, with a dash of that coffee/crosswords/reading/vacation feeling!


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate 2loud2oldmusic‘s Sunday Song series, especially this year’s installment that is being guest-hosted by his spouse.

It’s always nice to see people in the community using adjectives like ‘lovely’ when describing their partners, even nicer to see those ‘lovely’ partners guest-host!

From → 1970s

  1. Delighted to hear you have left the holding lounge with your Eno adventure and have taking a first gliding flight. Wishing you many more happy landings.

    BTW, If you become intrigued by where some of these ideas came from, this one is worth re-visiting…

    • Cheers Bruce – I’m still in the early stages of Eno adventuring but I’m optimistic the landings will keep getting happier!

  2. Eno as an artist and as a producer. Eno and Lanois production on Achtung Baby is groundbreaking.

    • Achtung’s probably my favourite U2 album!

      • I’m not a huge U2’er but Achtung is mine as well. What a sonic landscape that album is….so ahead of it’s time and still sounds current by today standards!

  3. I was just thinking of the bizarre things that come together in a Geoff Stephen post (Brian Eno?Massage?Airport?)until I read that there is an actual album, by Eno, on the 1001, to be played at airports (imagine several exclamation marks to express incredulity). That would be a great test for artists, wouldn’t it? Make music people are supposed to ignore because they’re busy or bored or uninterested. Completely different from the radio, when people actually turn it on because they want to listen, even if they want to ignore it at times. I don’t want to be listening to punk when I’m getting a root canal, but I don’t want Kenny G either.

    I’m always skeptical about massages, but I’d go if it was logistically possible to your friend’s, just because it would involve Brian Eno and not some generic meditation CD!

    • Much appreciated Amrita!
      Speaking of Kenny G & dental work, did you ever see Wayne’s World 2?!

      • Oh, Geoff, that made my day! That was hilarious and I absolutely did not know about it! Even as a kid, when you aren’t supposed to have taste, there was something about sax played in that typical 80s way that irritated me so much. To be honest, I’d rather have an excruciating root canal instead!

      • Always my pleasure to share a Wayne’s World 2 reference – glad you enjoyed!

  4. Nice post, Geoff. I’ve yet to delve into the world of Eno, but I’m aware of this one and understating to be one of those important albums (so I get the inclusion on the 1001). Dare say it’s one I’ll get to.

    • Thanks J – and don’t be alarmed if it’s not instantly appealing, it definitely wasn’t life-changing at first for me.
      But it grows and it grows nicely!

  5. One of my favourite LPs period. I listen to this LP so often when I’m reading, I know every minimal minim of it. Eno, rather mischieviously said that he made music to sleep to.

  6. Would you rather:

    a) Listen to Brian Eno
    b) Get a massage
    c) Feel like you’re waiting in an airport

    Hm. I don’t like massage, and I’ve waited in airports and it sucks. So I guess a).

    • I’m learning you could do a lot worse than listening to Eno – and in the time since I wrote this post, a friend of mine’s flight was delayed for 56(!) hours. Luckily they were put up in a hotel but had to continuously check back at the airport – I think even for me, the appeal of waiting in airports would vanish entirely by hour #56!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Brian Eno – Before and After Science (1977) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. 1978 | 1001albumsin10years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: