The basic core of tracks making up Brian Eno's Music for Films was originally assembled in 1976 for inclusion in a promotional LP of prospective cues sent to film directors. In early 1978, a bit before Music for Airports, Editions EG released Music for Films with little more than Eno's cryptic comment: "some of it was made specifically for soundtrack material, (and) some of it was made for other reasons but found its way into films." As with most things Eno, this led to a good deal of speculation and controversy. One filmmaker long ago stated, "All of that is crap – this music was never used in any films," and another film student who had tried out some of the cues: "this is the worst music for films ever.
Music for Films, Vol. 3, is a set of mismatched pieces by Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno (aka Eno). They are from his voluminous works for cinema, installations, shorts, and other related media. The disc contains 15 short pieces (only one is over five minutes). In that regard, there is a distinct similarity to his new wave pop music from the '70s. This CD is, however, all instrumental, largely electronic, and distinctly Eno. Despite their dissimilar origins, these tracks have definite cohesion. Eno injects avant-garde timbres and metallic textures into each composition. The flow is smooth, the atmospheres are vast, and the soundscapes are vivid. This is a very cool montage of Eno's work.
A listener familiar with the pedigree of the albums of Brian Eno might assume that Virgin/Astralwerks' release More Music for Films is merely a re-packaging of Music for Films II, a bonus album included within the LP boxed set Working Backwards. Such an assumption would be incorrect, as More Music for Films represents a new spin on a variety of soundtrack material made by Eno in the years 1976-1983, including some tracks drawn from Music for Films II, others from Eno Box I: Instrumentals, and at least six selections never made public before. According to Virgin, these are taken from the limited-edition promo LP of Music for Films, a two album set pre-dating the familiar EG release by two years and only circulated to filmmakers and journalists.
Once we are aware that certain music has been written for film, it’s easy to wax poetic about said music’s visual associations. Yet I believe that one needn’t be aware of Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou’s filmic motivations in order to feel it in the same way, for hers imagines, recites, and sings the lament of a zeitgeist in decay. Karaindrou’s themes are potent yet familiar, even (if not especially) to those who’ve never heard them before. Brimming with tragedy and triumph alike, this is music not only for the fictional, but also for real strangers crossing paths in a world of mist and shadows.