BRIAN ENO: NEROLI (1993)
«Thanks to the calming nature of the piece, Neroli has been implemented in some maternity wards, both to instill a sense of calm as well as enhance the organic nature of childbirth» (Wikipedia). I am not quite sure how exactly a series of intricately looped, digitally synthesized notes is supposed to «enhance the organic nature of childbirth», but who am I to question advanced psychotheurapetical practices? Let us instead concentrate on the title — most likely an anagram, but what for? "Lorien"? Unless the elves actually spend most of their time frozen in cocoons, not very likely. "Lenoir"? That's a pretty common surname; probably not the inventor of the internal combustion engine, though, as that would be too loud for this album. "Nilore"? What does the man care about nuclear technology research sites in Pakistan? Beats me.
Anyway, this is basically Thursday Afternoon Vol. 2 — only a «darker» counterpart to that record's «lighter» aura, as the played notes are much lower; there is also no humming electronic background whatsoever, so the only thing left between you and the gradually fading soundwaves of the dripping notes is silence. Imagine your roof leaking in a regular pattern, with a set of pots capturing the droplets, as the pattern very slowly shifts due to the droplets dropping at different speeds, yet essentially remains the same, and that is basically Neroli for you, except the dripping process has been given an electronic coating. And, of course, it is almost one hour long.
Perhaps it really does help young mothers, lying in beds resting with nothing much to do. Perhaps it is a cool soundtrack to help you meditate — as an experiment, you could try playing it in its entirety every evening before you go to bed, and it might drain your brain of all the silly, disturbing, nerve-wrecking events of the day. I am not denying the worth of this as a medical tool (it should definitely have at least some sort of placebo value), and I am not even denying it the status of an artistic statement, one that would prompt people to exclaim: "Ah, that Neroli! Verily, has a more astute metaphor for the entire universe behaving just like circles on the water been thought of by mortal man? That Eno — musical philosophy has never been more profound in its simplicity and directness! Not even John Cage has got anything on him!"
What I am denying is the capacity of these «circles on the water» to do much of anything for me, or for people who, while not denying the powers of «ambient» as a genre, think that minimalism in composing is long past being valuable per se. Honestly, one Thursday Afternoon per artist is quite enough; so I would prefer to simply label this «Brian Eno's Limited Time Offer For Maternity Wards — Not To Be Taken Seriously» and forget that it ever existed.