Brian Eno, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea"

75 Billboard Rating

Drawing on his art-rock work with David Byrne as well as his pioneering ambient output, master producer Brian Eno has released the sonic component of a three-act play with "Small Craft on a Milk Sea," his debut album on Warp Records. Recorded with musicians Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins, the set is broken into three clear-cut segments, with its middle third of busy instrumental numbers flanked by two passages of quieter material. It's difficult to turn away from the endless synthesizers and stuttering percussion of tracks like "Horse" and "2 Forms of Anger," but the swaying inflections of such hushed songs as "Complex Heaven" and "Slow Ice, Old Moon" are arguably richer. Eno utilizes a diverse palette of instrumentation to tell his wordless story, mixing whispers of guitar, piano and chilling production effects into a haunting final product. Another victory in a storied career, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" is Eno's attempt to reiterate the relevance of the long-player through its unique sequencing.

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