Music for Airplanes

Brian Eno is the closest thing electronic music’s got to a household name – quick fact: he created the start-up sound for Windows 95 – and his 1978 album Music for Airports is generally considered to be the paragon of ambient music. Eno’s vision with the work was a gentler, atmospheric soundtrack to calm the stress of airport terminals and it was born out of his own frustrations while stuck during travel.

Enter Mux Mool and his newest release, Drum EP 2. Now I realize that it’s borderline blasphemy to compare anyone to Sir Eno, and I’m not even necessarily going to make that case here with Mr. Mool, but some tenuous connection in spirit came to mind when I first heard these tracks.

Mux Mool

Mux Mool (via Lorena Cupcake/Flickr)

Mux Mool’s 2010 full length Skulltaste was a scattershot, eclectic and hard hitting album, that was filled with original electronica ideas and made you want to get up and dance. That album is great for a lot of reasons, but the tracks on Drum EP 2 are quite a bit different; they make a nicer, softer accompaniment that seems like it would be great listening on a plane, just like Eno’s Music for Airports sounds like it was meant for airports. Mux has been criss-crossing the country doing a steady stream of shows and as part of the process, has been making beats while riding in planes, a challenge to himself, but also a way to interweave the airy, light and flowing characteristics of air travel into his sound in order to make something equally interesting as Skulltaste, but nearly unrelated.

A little tidbit courtesy of Mux Mool (as posted on the ISO50 blog):

I think the first time you ever fly it can be very inspiring. To be high above, seeing clouds and what not. But when you start flying all the time, it becomes far less so. Actually, traveling in general can be rather soul sucking if you don’t properly prepare yourself. So this is an exercise in trying to remain inspired and present at a time when there is only frustration and anxiety and crying babies and snoring people and bad smells and stale air and delays and loneliness all around you. I found that focusing myself on this project help get me through many uncomfortable layovers and redeye flights.

Take “Half Moon Ganja” for example. The bubbly female vocals of “bop-bop-bop” on the track scream Pan Am commercial (in that good anticipation, relaxation and pleasure kind of way) and makes me want to hop a flight to somewhere exotic. “Hypercolor ADD” is not Eno’s relaxing airport scene, but a coloring of some extremely efficient international hub filled with businessmen in suits with briefcases swishing past each other in an assembly line process. The album winds its way deeper into downtempo territory, reaching a lovely haunt in the second half of “The Hundred Dollar Beat” that seems to just creep out of nowhere before swinging back into a funkier beat (and the EP’s most Skulltaste sound, though still only remotely so) with “Jen and Soda.” As you reach the catchy piano syncopation, light bongos and glitchy, yet oh-so-relaxing vocal samples of closer “Lazy Soul,” the stewardess should be coming back with another Scotch and that pillow you asked for. Maybe traveling ain’t so bad.

Go stream the EP now over at Moodgadget and/or download it for free. There’s a spot to donate if you like it, so maybe throw a bone his way. That’ll keep him in the air and keep him making beats, because Drum EP 2’s main downfall is that it’s over too quickly.


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