Brian Eno / Harold Budd “Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#631 in the Series) is Harold  Budd / Brian  Eno, Ambient  2 :The Plateaux  Of Mirror

It was a beautiful day today, sunny in the morning, and you could easily have been fooled into thinking spring was arriving early. There’s a row of old-fashioned houses that I can see from a window at work and all morning long, as the slow rising sun crept up, the houses were changing colour, pink, orange, red. It was a lovely sight and it brought this album to my mind,  it’s an old favourite which I hadn’t played in such a long time.

Up until 7 years ago I worked in a paper mill and worked shifts, 12 hour days followed by 12 hour nights. The nights could be hard to get used to and I would often find myself, especially in summer, struggling to get to sleep at odd hours of the day, times when the body would simply reject the very notion altogether. No matter how hard I would try, my mind just couldn’t be fooled, and it simply knew that I shouldn’t be trying to sleep when the sun was shining outside.

It was at times like those that this record came into its own, it was a godsend and helped send me to sleep, it’s graceful, gentle lullabies did the trick every time. It was great. I’d lie there , half-awake, semi-asleep and just drift away to the music, so warm it makes you feel like you’ve been wrapped in cotton-wool, until it was impossible to tell where the music ended and my dreams began.

What we have here is, essentially, 10 pieces of music, no singing, featuring Harold Budd on piano and Brian Eno doing everything else. Which basically amounts to background noises, treatments, atmosphere and general texture. That sounds a lot from him but it’s very subtle, the first listens make you concentrate on the piano, Eno is fairly unobtrusive but the more you listen the more you realize how important his input is.

Budd is upfront, providing some spectral, haunting passages and Eno’s in the background, filling the spaces in-between with his low-key trickery.

That’s a fairly brief description which in no way does justice to the fragile and gorgeous, drifting world which these two have managed to conjure up between them. There doesn’t seem, initially, to be much to it all but it contains real depth, music which sounds as if it’s been filtered through honey. Or sunlight.

Music for when the world turns velvet, sunrise, long lazy afternoons, twilight, lying in the hot, sticky heat at the end of a scorching Summer day, windows open, smell of new cut grass in the air………………

— Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland

Track listing

All tracks by Brian Eno and Harold Budd.

  1. “First Light” – 6:59
  2. “Steal Away” – 1:29
  3. “The Plateaux of Mirror” – 4:10
  4. “Above Chiangmai” – 2:49
  5. “An Arc of Doves” – 6:22
  6. “Not Yet Remembered” – 3:50
  7. “The Chill Air” – 2:13
  8. “Among Fields of Crystal” – 3:24
  9. “Wind in Lonely Fences” – 3:57
  10. “Failing Light” – 4:17


  • Harold Budd: Piano and electric piano
  • Brian Eno:  Other instruments, treatments

Listen to the album below…

Check out more albums that are instrumental or at least have some great instrumental tracks on them.

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Posted by Larry Carta


  1. coachmaddog (16 Feb 2012, 21:20)

    Stephen, you are on a roll. Eno is a genius.

  2. Stephen dalrymple (17 Feb 2012, 11:54)

    Appreciated , thank you.

  3. Bill (21 Feb 2012, 21:07)

    Wasn’t Daniel Lanois involved with some of the production on this one? Seems like I remember reading that (or some other Eno/Budd project) in Daniel’s book “Soul Mining”.

  4. Lisa (15 May 2012, 20:29)

    I can relate to the low-key trickery, but I also can relate to Chopin’s two against three , great pick!

  5. GeoffW (30 Jun 2012, 16:39)

    Stephen-one of my ambient favourites as well. Try Laraaji’s “Day of Radiance”

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