Music for Airports

In un post del 7 giugno 2012 su un blog di, Design Decoded, Jimmy Stamp ricostruisce la vicenda del famoso album di Brian Eno, Music for Airports.

Music for Airports

È lo stesso Eno a raccontare che l’idea gli venne all’aeroporto di Colonia una domenica mattina, mentre aspettava di imbarcarsi:

The light was beautiful, everything was beautiful, except they were playing awful music. And I thought, there’s something completely wrong that people don’t think about the music that goes into situations like this. They spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the architecture, on everything. Except the music.
I had in my mind this ideal airport where it’s late at night; you’re sitting there and there are not many people around you: you’re just seeing planes take off through the smoked windows.

Music for Airports nasce dunque come una piccola musica notturna: il pianoforte, il violoncello, un coro sintetico, tutto si ripete sempre diverso e sempre uguale.

Scrive Eno sulle note di copertina:

Whereas the various purveyors of canned music proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, ambient music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, ambient music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to ‘brighten’ the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and leveling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) ambient music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.
Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.

Da questi principi nascono i vincoli che Eno si impone nella composizione:

  • L’ambient music non deve avere un ritmo immediatamente percettibile
  • Non deve interferire con la conversazione, perciò deve essere a una frequenza superiore o inferiore di quella della voce umana
  • Deve durare per lumghi periodi, ma poter essere interrrotta dagli annunci.
Loops / Brian Eno’s graphic notation for Music for Airports, published on the back of the album sleeve

Curioso che, benché Eno stesso abbia dichiarato di avere improvvisato e montato i loop senza una partitura, qualcuno ne abbia trovato una scatola intera in un negozio di Copenhagen:

Se, come diceva Goethe, l’architettura è musica congelata, allora Music for Airports è un contrappunto alla cacofonia dell’architettura aeroportuale.

Grazie a Jimmy Stamp per questa bella intuizione: Music for Airports Soothes the Savage Passenger | Design Decoded