If Brian Eno’s Ambient: Music for Airports was an album designed to allay travelers’ fears while flying, Small Craft on a Milk Sea just might be intended to create maritime panic. An expansive, yet strangely claustrophobic album, Small Craft touches on much of Eno’s work over the years yet manages to sound fresh and exciting. The album opens with the gently pastoral “Emerald and Lime,” whose chiming notes and floating melodica set the listener’s mind at ease. It’s a trap. The meat of the album, including the throbbing undercurrent of “Complex Heaven,” sawing strings of “Horse,” and spastic, caustic, beautiful punk guitar of “2 Forms of Anger,” is angular and challenging. The back third of the album, from “Lesser Heaven” through “Late Anthropocene,” returns to gentle, ambient soundscapes and textural explorations. Though they are largely ignorable on their own, they provide the perfect outro to this menacingly intelligent effort.
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