Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brian Eno — Ambient 4: On Land (1982)

I already covered the first three albums of the Ambient Series in this blog (see: Ambient 1, Ambient 2 and Ambient 3). So it's time to close those reviews with the fourth and final chapter: Ambient 4: On Land.

On Land is a collection of tracks, each inspired by a landscape or an impression (just read the tracks titles: Lizard Point, Lantern Marsh, Unfamiliar Wind etc.) But rather than the minimal Satie inspired piano of the first Ambient albums, what we get there is really an aural landscape. Each track has it's own sound and evokes a different place. You can hear synths that sound like the wind, distant chimes or insect noises. This is atmospheric music. Everything is conceived to give a vivid impression of a place as if the listener was there himself.

This is definitely the darkest album of the series and it was a turning point for ambient music because it is one of the first albums that can be labeled as dark ambient music (maybe with a few earlier albums like Zeit [1972] by Tangerine Dream). It inspired many of the albums to come and paved the way for artists like Lustmord and the whole dark ambient genre. Of course it is not very menacing by today's extreme dark ambient standards. It is more subtle and that is definitely a quality. This is Eno at it's best, and this is really what ambient music has become: elaborate landscapes of sound.


  1. This entire series is beautiful and groundbreaking. On Land is both subtle and extreme. Perfection.

    (Great series of reviews, too, mon frere!)

  2. Thank you for your comments, I will continue making reviews of albums because those posts are among the most read on my blog (and I like writing reviews).