Endless Loop: An Ending (Ascent)

brianenoHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“An Ending (Ascent)” by Brian Eno

Brian Eno’s “An Ending (Ascent),” from 1983’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks, is easily one of my favorite pieces of music of all time, probably top five even.  It’s just so wonderfully moving, a haunting and beautiful instrumental that could score just about any moment in time, from bittersweet elation to quiet despair.  It can bring tears just sounding as it does without any discernable context whatsoever, just the notes, the melody, the sound.  And I love it for that.  That feeling is about as close to god as I’m ever likely to feel.

I wish I could remember what my introduction to Brian Eno was.

More than likely, the Trainspotting soundtrack’s use of “Deep Blue Day” is what sealed the deal for me, that song’s lush melody paired with the images of Ewan McGregor swimming in a toilet burned forever into my brain and psyche.  But maybe it was Eno’s production work through the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s instead, seminal records from the likes of Talking Heads, U2, or David Bowie subliminally speaking the man’s musical majesty to me.  It’s also possible it was his time in Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry’s long running project being one of the many bands I explored when I began diving head first into glam rock.  Or maybe it was his 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports, that record being one of immense fascination for me and some of my friends in high school, its minimalist approach to music the antithesis of any and everything else we were listening to at the time.  One other instance that could have been my introduction to Eno was the exuberant cheerleading of the man’s work by this weird guy I went to high school with.  I can’t remember his name, but he was tall and awkward and wore the same puffy, orange jacket every single day, even if it was 100 degrees outside.  He constantly extolled the virtues of Brian Eno’s entire catalog, and I guess maybe I decided to believe him.

But whatever it was, Trainspotting or the weird guy in the orange jacket, I’m glad it happened.  It led me to “An Ending (Ascent),” and for that I am eternally grateful, a debt that can never be repaid.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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