"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Mojo APRIL 8, 2009 - by Andrew Male
THE BLACK DOG: MUSIC FOR REAL AIRPORTS
Eno terminus utopia trashed.
As we move further from the idyllic ambient ideal of calm futurism envisaged by Brian Eno on 1978's Music For Airports, alert to the harsh realisation that modern "public transport hubs" are now sites of anti-terrorist dislocation, constant shuffling and horrible metallic noise, it's only right that someone should have had the genius idea to produce a Music For Real Airports. That someone is Ken Downie of "intelligent techno" pioneers Black Dog Productions. Now working with Richard and Martin Dust of Dust Science Recordings, Downie has allowed his Black Dog to mutate into a brooding beast of post-Orwellian threat. Based on two hundred hours of field recordings from actual terminals Music For Real Airports begins, naturally, with a track called M1, a sullen droning cloud on the borderland of tweeting nature and urban hum, before we're welcomed "to East Midlands Airport" on Terminal EMA, an insistent dreamlike ticking punctuated by distant buzz and echo. From the repetitive swipe and mournful chorale of Passport Control, to the arctic harmonic gloom of Wait Behind This Line it soon becomes apparent that The Black Dog are all about the dead hours of abstract waiting that occupy our airport time, as opposed to, say, the free tots of Lagavulin at World Of Whiskies and a quick browse around Waterstones. And while they may lay the existential weltschmerz on a bit thick at times (one track is entitled DISinformation Desk [sic] while a brilliant welt of Metal On Metal clatter is called Strip Light Hate) but by the time we've drifted through the ghostly dub sadness and sombre digital repetitions of Sleep Deprivation (Parts 1 and 2), and awoke to the echoing Korg melancholy of Business Car Park 9 one thing is undeniable: the next time I fly I may still be hoping for Brian Eno, but I'll be grimly resigned to The Black Dog.