Here’s a site that deconstructs and reconstructs Brian Eno’s classic Music for Airports album; additionally you can play with the files yourself!
In 1978, Brian Eno released Ambient 1: Music for Airports, a landmark album in ambient and electronic music. Although it wasn’t the first ambient album by any means, it was the first album explicitly released as an ‘ambient music album’. The album was essentially a continuation of Eno’s experimentation with the tape machine as a compositional tool, as well as his exploration of generative music, music created by systems. In this article I’ll discuss how Music for Airports was created, I’ll break down and recreate the tracks 2/1 and 1/2, and hopefully give you some ideas about how to adopt this approach yourself.
Eno’s experiments with tape loops go as far back as 1973’s (No Pussyfooting), a collaboration with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp that employed an early experiment in sound-on-sound tape looping. For the recordings, Fripps’s guitar was run into two tape machines feeding into each other. The musical material runs back and forth between the machines, creating longs delays akin to modern loop pedals. The length of the delay was set by the physical distance between the two machines.
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