Brian Eno and J. Peter Schwalm Drawn from Life

Eno and Schwalm have created a cinematic bit of sonorous brilliance, and it's amazing to hear the level of detail that Eno brings to this work. Every listen reveals a new subtle detail not heard before from this release comprised of instrumental arrangements, atmospherics and environmental sounds. Drawn from Life opens up with suspenseful string arrangements that unfurl into lush melodies and sparse lyrics that are articulated via processed yet gentle vocals, "Like Pictures 1 & 2" and "Two Voices." Every nook and cranny is accounted for on this album, which could explain why there are long moments of pure silence after some tracks - obviously there to give listeners a moment of respite after being submerged in an ocean of sound. Some might consider Drawn from Life overproduced, but I would like to think of it as meticulous, which is a strong attribute in a recording. There is a romantic mood sustained throughout the entire album, brushed with wistfulness and sweetness, as exemplified by the dreamy track "Bloom," which has samples of a babbling toddler with bits of domestic noise in the background. To call this album merely ambient would be doing this recording a disservice; Drawn from Life is not so much an album as it is an artefact. (Virgin)