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Album Review: Lux

...And the award for Most Relaxing Album of the Year (as selected by Music Director Zach Nivens) goes to... Brian Eno's Lux.
     
    
"The new ambient composition from genre godfather Brian Eno embraces a sound palette that will be familiar to fans of his previous work. A single piano note pings mournfully and sinks into an ocean of reverb; an airy sine wave floats ever so gracefully from the left channel to the right; violins briefly emerge from the fog to emit a cry of…despair? Longing? Joy? This is perhaps the greatest strength of Lux; it makes no demands on the listener, reveling in its uncompromising placidity and ambiguity.

The mission of ambient music (according to Eno, at least) is to create sounds that can be studied or ignored depending on the context, giving it a remarkable versatility. Lux can soundtrack a late-night reading session, an afternoon nap, meditation at a New Age feel-goodery, or, yes, a layover at the airport. I find something quite magical about the way this immaculately crafted music drifts past without concern for my attention - perhaps I identify with its staunch commitment to a lack of direction.

No, Lux is not significantly different from Eno’s other efforts in this arena, but why would it be? Each album creates a unique space to hang out in for a little while, its geography defined by the choice of sounds and their organization. Lux features neither the melodic sensibilities of Music for Airports nor the hypnotic looping figures of Discreet Music; instead, the live instrumentation here recalls 1985’s piano-led Thursday Afternoon, featuring a series of tentative tones snuggling up with a blanket of autumnal haze.

I hesitate to deem this an album for everyone, but I’m sure there’s at least one activity in your everyday life that calls for an ambient soundscape like this. Listen while you write, while you drive, or while you sleep. You can decide whether it occupies the foreground or the background."

- Zach Nivens