When Brian Eno releases a new album, you never quite know what to expect. This time out the electronic music pioneer presents a cross between his many ambient albums and 1992's erratic Nerve Net. No stranger to collaboration, Eno's latest instrumental offering enlists the occasional aid of composers/musicians Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins for the largely improvised sessions.
Small Craft On A Milk Sea opens in an ambient mode for the first three tracks, gently introducing listeners to the electronic format of the album. In typical Eno fashion, the sounds are haunting and atmospheric, relaxing and interesting. On the fourth track, "Flint March," the beats break in and the mood shifts dramatically. For the next five songs we enter a more sinister world with alien-sounding synths and increasingly relentless percussion and effects.
"2 Forms Of Anger" continues this trend with suspenseful loops and beats and eventually erupts into an unexpected punk-jam of electric guitars. It's not until the 10th track, "Slow Ice, Old Moon," that the album mellows out again and descends back into an ambient landscape. From here to the 16th and final track we retrace our steps to the album's launching point.