Brian Eno’s Small Craft on a Milk Sea comes ashore in the US today on Warp Records, produced with collaborators Jon Hopkins (whom I recently interviewed and covered live) and Leo Abrahams (a wonderful and dexterous composer and musician himself).

You can hear the full album on Grooveshark. Update: The Grooveshark available was apparently premature, pending an exclusive release deal. It should become available again, but in the meantime, Warp has put several tracks up on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/5984658"]

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/5984659"]

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/5667089"]

A name like Eno’s tends to precede itself, but I quite honestly think, his fame aside, it’s a masterpiece. The collaboration of the three artists seems utterly clear and harmonious. Some of Eno’s own best ambient and experimental tendencies, from the artist who helped define those categories, float back to the surface here. But they’re partly reflected anew in these other artists. The ease with which the trio fuse their sounds is little wonder: these two gentlemen have been ongoing collaborators with Eno, working extensively on fine details of various productions and playing live with him onstage. They seem to achieved a creative mind meld.

The result is something that returns to that tradition, but finds continuity between the old and new, a common voice that can begin to escape the burden of time and trend. It is often unabashedly simple and, in the words of The Great Pumpkin, full of sincerity. It’s the original soundtrack score to something you haven’t imagined yet. And it’s just sonically wonderful, even in the lower-fidelity stream, warm and clear, evoking deep colors. It’s something you might like to bring along with you for the winter of 2010-11.

But, anyway, through the magic of the Internet, you don’t have to take anyone’s hollow words; you can give it a listen and disagree violently, immediately, if you like.

For myself, I’m off to purchase it as a physical album, to listen repeatedly in its entirety, in defiance of what supposedly happens these days in music listening trends.

Release news via Flavorwire, who point to still more reading.

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  • Greg

    Is that the Harmonica preset for a DX-7 on the first track?

  • fusulinid

    album of the year, hands down.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Hopefully I'll be able to get the LP version without buying the boxset.

  • KrankyOne

    Aw crap, leaving a comment stopped the music. Long time Eno fan. This is fantastic!

  • http://hendersonsix.com Henderson

    Excellent! Have been following the developments of this album since it was announced. I was particularly taken by the grittiness of the prereleased tracks on his website – now I'm exploring the album in full I'm hearing a great diversity in dynamics and texture.

    Makes me wonder a bit though – why released on Warp and not OPAL? Was it just seen as a neutral territory for collaboration, or perhaps a useful way to reach its intended audience?

    I will also definitely be buying the "hard copy". It looks beautifully packaged, and for me, that's a very important aspect of the listening experience – especially with an Eno album.

  • Cillian

    I too would like to be able to buy the Lp version without having to shout out 70 sterling pounds for the box set. I'm not saying it's not worth the money, but I would like a cheaper option.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    Peter, I didn't see a link to the awesome interview with Eno. Here's a link via wired.com: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/11/brian-eno-

    It took me a while to, ahem, get into it.

  • Peter Kirn

    And the box edition is sold out, too, so vinyl lovers look out of luck on this one. But a CD + 24-bit WAV isn't a bad deal. I say use the spare change to buy a really nice bottle of wine to enjoy with a friend/significant other and listen that way. You can make your own packaging…

  • Gerd Rische

    Endgültig im totalen Kitsch gelandet.

  • Armando

    wow peter thanks man!

  • http://www.encym.net Roland Reinke

    It's a really wonderful album. The only complaint I have is that the bonus tracks are only available with the vinyl box set.

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