THE BLACK DOG: Music For Real Airports (Soma Recordings)


Posted on Apr 7th 2010 09:34 pm

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (4)

The Black Dog: Music For Real Airports

Music For Real Airports
Soma Recordings 2010
14 Tracks. 58mins51secs

Amazon UK: CD US: CD

Airports are funny places; hubs of intense activity, their cold and chaotic order is bound by contradicting sentiments of excitement, frustration, boredom, joy, exhaustion, anticipation, sadness; passengers caught in endless security queues, rushing through duty free shops or perpetually awaiting in concourses and lounges. All this forms the basis for Music For Real Airports, a collaborative project for art galleries soundtracked by The Black Dog, with visual media created by design studio Human, due to be premiered at La Sensoria festival in Sheffield later on this month. The Black Dog collected over two hundred hours of field recordings in various airports while on tour. These were then incorporated into lush atmospheric constructions to render the experience of passing through these thoroughly inhuman bustling nests of modern life.

Unlike Brian Eno’s seminal 1978 work Music For Airports, which was conceived as a soothing four part textural ambient piece destined to be used by airport authorities, the music collected here by Ken Downie and brothers Martin and Richard Dust, although ambient in nature, doesn’t seek to be used in airports, but rather brings a multitude of sonic elements of airport life into the work. The album itself, like many of the Black Dog’s records, has a very clear narrative structure, giving a panoramic view of interactions involved with air travelling, starting with the journey to the airport (M1), reaching the terminal, going through check in and security(DISinformation Desk, Passport Control, Wait Behind This Line), waiting in lounges, facing delays, suffering sleep deprivation, and eventually reaching the other side (Businness Car Park 9). The music, like most modern airports, is extremely polished and well-ordered on the outside, but deep below the smooth surfaces hide a host of often almost imperceptible activity, cast into micro-beats, hyperactive electronics, hums, noises and haunting textures. At times, crowd noises and announcements break the cold and relentless progression of the record, as to remind the listener of its purpose, but all too soon, it is back to highly processed textures.

There is one obvious nudge to Eno’s Music For Airports on Delay 9 as a slow moving piano line, wrapped in reverb, echoes at various intervals, but, instead of being the centrepiece, the music is here part and parcel of the background buzz and captured as such, amongst crowd noises, threatening hums and, toward the end, the insistent beeping of a phone line gone dead. The soothing melody, unnoticed through the hustle and bustle, losing its meaning. Despite its ambient nature, Music For Real Airports is not a peaceful record, feeding both on the concentrated urban character of airports and on their extreme emotional impact. The soundscapes assembled by the trio are particularly dense and intricate, and appear to change focus almost constantly. Often, two or more distinct sound sources can be found side by side, quite unrelated, yet brought together by one common factor.

While it shares a lot of common features with its predecessors, Music For Real Airports is quite a radical departure for The Black Dog as they move away from the elegant techno that usually serves as backbone to their work to focus entirely on atmospheric forms. Ambient has always been an integrant part of the band’s music, but it is the first time that it has taken such a dominant place. It is difficult to gauge the full scope of the project with the visual part of it missing, but the soundtrack to the installation actually works superbly well as a stand-alone piece. The music flows elegantly from one end of the record to the other, each track linked to the one before it yet utterly unique, creating one of the band’s most absorbing work to date.


The Black Dog | Music For Real Airports | Human Studio | Soma Recordings
Amazon UK: CD US: CD

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (4)

4 Responses to “THE BLACK DOG: Music For Real Airports (Soma Recordings)”

  1. THE 2010 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 19 Dec 2010 at 8:51 pm

    […] (Actual Noise Records) 29. HAUSCHKA Foreign Landscapes (130701/Fat-Cat Records) 30. THE BLACK DOG Music For Real Airports (Soma […]

  2. […] subject to constant changes in tone and form. At times reminiscent of The Black Dog’s recent Music For Real Airports project in the way the atmospheric landscape is forever refined and contextualised, this is as […]

  3. […] times reminiscent of The Black Dog’s recent Music For Real Airports, especially in the way environmental noises and sounds are used to build up a stark sound map, […]

  4. […] tracks of the album to much more atmospheric, beat-less, pieces. It is however with its follow-up, Music For Real Airports (2010), which aimed at creating a sonic environment from sounds sourced in and around various […]