tue 15/10/2019

CD: Brian Eno - Lux | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Brian Eno - Lux

CD: Brian Eno - Lux

Latest from the ambient pioneer is the musical equivalent of slow food

The cool sweetness of Brian Eno's green world

Brian Eno’s latest is the musical equivalent of slow food: something to savour in a state of quietude and away from the stresses of accelerated time. The ambient genre of which he was a pioneer has, in other hands, drifted into a kind of quality Muzak, background music to soothe the nerves of restless devotees of speed. With a subtle palette of soft-edged keyboard and string sounds, laden with reverb, Eno manages to stop time, avoiding the inevitably predictable tropes of narrative development, and gently drawing the listener into the presence of the here and now.

Brian Eno avoids the cosy syrup of New Age doodlings – the stuff masseurs use to help soften overwrought muscle tissue. And yet, the music on Lux is never less than sweet, but a cool sweetness, well-dosed and never plunging into excess.

There is, in a sense, never anything new in a music which focuses so clearly on texture and timbre rather than unfolding drama or melody. The idea is to stop rather than be drawn into the tension and goal-driven script of musical story-telling – the laws of harmony or the structure of the 12-bar blues, for instance. So Lux is in many ways very similar to No Pussyfooting, Eno’s 1975 excursion into similar territory with Robert Fripp, or any of the other famous ambient albums from Music for Airports to his collaborations with pianist Harold Budd.

As antidote to the stresses of constantly accelerated time, a process whereby increased speed, paradoxically, reduces the time we have available, Lux is both political statement and healing tool. It makes you feel good while drawing you away from the pace imposed by the constant stimulation of desire and expectations. Don’t expect the excitement that Eno as producer coaxes out of Coldplay or U2. Neither is Lux ideal background music: it demands the kind of attention that slows the heart and opens the mind.

Brian Eno avoids the cosy syrup of New Age doodlings - the stuff masseurs use to help soften overwrought muscle tissue


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.