Brian Eno and Friends, The Ambient Mixtape

Brian Eno gave ambient music its name; he also gave the genre its definitive soundbite when he imagined a style “as ignorable as it is interesting.” And with a remarkable run of albums beginning in the mid 1970s, he laid the groundwork for ambient at its most all-encompassing. Many of those albums were his own, whether solo or in collaboration: Ambient 1: Music for Airports, a limpid snapshot of generative processes at work, is the ur-text, and is exactly as described: It’s less something you pay attention to than a tool for subtly charging the air around you. On Apollo, Daniel Lanois’ pedal-steel guitar is the filament connecting earthy Americana with Eno’s vaporous space music. And in his position as label-head (of the short-lived Obscure Records) and curator (of Editions EG’s Ambient series), he expanded ambient music’s purview with work from Harold Budd, Laraaji, and the Penguin Café Orchestra.