DAY THREE / DISC THREE
Lightness – Music For The Marble Palace
With this (or any other) evocative title, is Eno elucidating the purpose of the project, defining the setting or evoking a mood? Or perhaps exercising his sense of mischief.
Mood and fantasy blur.
I’m wandering in an immense deserted palace in a Dying Earth tale by Jack Vance. It is full of phantoms and foreboding. The shimmering sounds suggest heat rather than cool marble; maybe it is the energy of enchantment weaving a spell. Energy fools the Magician, as Brian observed in 1977.
What the listener brings with them to the music might well colour their experience. What you feel changes what you hear.
This is a two-track disc totalling 55 minutes. I like that the discs are of uneven lengths, that some are shorter than others.
This one perfectly illustrates the earlier point about avoiding the vinyl for this set. Lightness is a delicately poised single disc. On the vinyl, however, the two pieces are carved up into segments across four sides.
Atmospheric Lightness – Part 1 [15:56]
Atmospheric Lightness – Part 2 [15:12]
Chamber Lightness – Part 1 [13:38]
Chamber Lightness – Part 2 [11:48]
Lying back, drifting into a state of lightness, transcendence slowly creeps towards you… then up you hop to turn over the record.
Another quarter-hour, lift LP 4 off, carefully put it away (you don’t want scratches on an ambient record), extract LP 5, sit back down to catch your breath in the Chamber of Light(ness) then jump up to flip it over for a final relaxing ten minutes or so of utter peace and calm. Get the point? This is one—possible the only—area of music where I do not consider vinyl the most desirable medium. Compact Discs were made for this. Or even (whisper it!) load them all onto your computer and stream the whole shebang. Put it on random; you’ll never need another ambient album until you die. Though a multi-disc CD player—remember them?—would give better sound.
Don’t get me wrong, the 9 LP vinyl box is a thing of exquisite beauty and if it appeared on my doorstep tomorrow* I would be utterly delighted, yet one cannot help thinking that this is the point where functionality and aesthetics collide.
Now, what’s the music doing? “Chamber Lightness”. Still floating around that palace; perhaps a little more suspended than “Atmospheric Lightness”.
Dip my hand into the bag of Scrabble letters.
i = interior
o = open
Tune in or tune out. Good soundtrack for writing…
* Benefactors are welcome to use the excuse of it being a birth anniversary, if that helps.
〈 INTERMISSION 〉