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CD REVIEW

Brian Eno “Small Craft on a Milk Sea”

by Richard Smart

Few artists can claim to have had as much impact on popular music as Brian Eno. His solo pieces and work as a record producer have influenced the way pop, punk, rock and dance music are made and listened to. Eno’s newest album, “Small Craft on a Milk Sea,” does not disappoint.

From the ambient opening track, “Emerald and Lime,” the album quickly begins to explore darker territory, adding crisp production to the results of the artist’s improvisations with electronic artists Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. From start to finish, the rapport the trio have built up through years of playing together is clear.

The album is a rare commodity in an MP3-dominated market — a work with no standout tracks that needs to be listened to as a whole. Distinct moods permeate throughout and the initial tracks are as ambient as earlier Eno records. By “Flint March” it feels like the trio is drilling the music into your head — difficult listening as keyboards and gentle drumming are swapped for electric guitars against a backdrop of beats that would feel at home on an Aphex Twin recording.

Expect “Small Craft on a Milk Sea” to exert huge influence and be heavily sampled.