My all-time favourite album, probably since I first heard it, has been Sonic Youth’s ‘Daydream Nation’, but if I had to choose one record to submit as the greatest thing ever recorded, I wouldn’t even hesitate to vote for ‘Music For Airports’. It re-defines the term “timeless” as it seems to exist outside of time and space itself and it can drag you with it into celestial wilderness with minimal effort. It’s not rife with musical imagery or sound effects – in fact it was pieced together from simple tape loops – but it’s simplicity detracts nothing from the effect; if anything, it adds to it. Some people criticize it for not holding their attention, but what these people don’t realise is that it’s not designed to hold your attention; it’s designed to be heard, not listened to and this, in a sense, is its greatest strength. ‘Music For Airports’ is designed to provide space for thought. The four ‘pieces’ splashed out over the record allow you to take a step back out of your own world; nothing seems threatening when you’re truly immersed in this album. It sounds like the missing piece in every room you inhabit. And somehow it sound emotional and affecting, whatever mood you’re in, and however many times you’ve heard it.
Eno was annoyed at how, in airports and on planes, they always played “happy” music that had “You’re not going to die in a horrendous firey plane crash” written all over it. He wanted to create a record which would not only dispurse tension but also to sway every fearful passenger’s thought from “I don’t want to die” to “It won’t matter if I do”. Not only did he succeed, but he made something that is just as perfect today as it ever was. If anything, it may be more relevant than ever, living in the climate of fear and stress we inhabit today. There is no such thing as a perfect record, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the closest anyone has ever come to it and it truly is timeless; there will always be a place for the canvas on which to paint our subconscious and to carry with us through our dreary, mundane lives.
Listen to this: on your own, anywhere.
Key Track: 1/1