Side by side: Brian Eno – ‘Music for Films (Directors Edition)’ promo UK LP (EG Records EGM1, 1976) and ‘Music for Films’ UK LP (EG/Polydor 2310 623, 1978)

Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Films’ has a complicated history and in this post I’ll do my best to unravel the differences between the original 1976 promo-only release, its 1978 wider commercial release and how the stray tracks have reappeared on CD in later years.

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' original 1976 promotional 'Director's Edition' - front cover

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ original 1976 promotional ‘Director’s Edition’ – front cover

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' original 1976 promotional 'Director's Edition' - rear cover

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ original 1976 promotional ‘Director’s Edition’ – rear cover

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' original 1976 promotional 'Director's Edition' - inner sleeve

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ original 1976 promotional ‘Director’s Edition’ – inner sleeve

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' original 1976 promotional 'Director's Edition' - label side A

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ original 1976 promotional ‘Director’s Edition’ – label side A

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' original 1976 promotional 'Director's Edition' - label side B

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ original 1976 promotional ‘Director’s Edition’ – label side B

Before going any further, its probably best to start off with a summary of known variants…


Vinyl LPs.

1976 Promo only version now known by the title ‘Directors Edition’, pressed in an edition of 500 copies and the version featured in this post (EG Records, EGM-1).

  • Very different tracklisting, some of which had already appeared on ‘Another Green World’ and ‘Evening Star’ (though these versions were all edited in one way or another), some would re-appear on the 1978 edition, while others which did not appear again until 1994 and the ‘Eno Box 1: Instrumental’ CD boxed set and a few more not until the2005 on the ‘More Music for Films’ CD. Different sleeve colour and text compared to the 1978 release. Distributed by Island Records.

1976 Test pressing edition.

  • I’ve never seen this edition, which comes with no track titles and only 25 tracks compared to the 27 to be found on the ‘Directors Edition’ version, so I don’t know much about it.

1978 general release version (EG Records/Polydor 2310 623).

  • The first commercially released version, now with only 18 tracks featured, of which four were the same tracks and titled the same as the 1976 promotional version, four were the same tracks but with different titles and one was a much shorter edit and mix though with the same title (‘Final Sunset’).

1982 ‘Editions EG’ re-release and a slightly altered tracklist sequencing (Editions EG, EGED-5).

  • Oddly, despite this updated UK edition sleeve, no mention is made of any post 1978 LP releases in the discography section on the rear of the sleeve, nor do the sleeve notes mention the altered tracklist sequence, the sleevenotes remaining the same as the 1978 issue. By contrast, the 1982 Editions EG release from the US (EGS 105) updates both the sleevenotes (with Eno noting it as being a more satisfactory sequence) and the ‘works of related interest including post-1978 releases up to Ambient #3.
  • Interestingly for me, as I hadn’t been aware of it before, a 1980 Canadian Editions EG/Polygram release (EGED 105) seems to be the first time that Eno’s revised tracklist re-sequencing of the 1978 general release appears. The rear sleeve discography section lists the two 1980 collaborative releases, ‘The Plateux of Mirrors’ and ‘Fourth World Volume 1: Possible Musics’ too.

2018 Half-speed remaster edition (Virgin EMI Records, ENO2LP9).

  • This remastered edition restored the tracklist sequence back to the 1978 variant. Initial copies pressed on 2 x LPs, subsequent pressing on single LP.

CD editions.

‘Music for Films’ (Editions EG/Virgin, EEGCD5, 1987, UK).

  • The CD release kept the rearranged tracklisting from the 1980/82 releases but restored the sleevenotes from the 1978 release.

‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ box set (Virgin, ENOBX1 7243 8 39110 2 8, 1994, UK).

  • The first time some of the tracks that were originally exclusive to the 1976 Directors Edition were released on CD format. (I think this is the first time the 1976 edition is referred to as ‘Directors Edition’ too?)

‘More Music for Films’ (Virgin, ENOCD12, 2005, UK).

  • This release compiled 14 tracks from the original 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ promotional-only release along with 7 tracks originally released in the ‘Music for Films 2’ LP (Editions EG/Jem, EGBS 2, 1983). Well, almost. There are some anomalies on the edition I have – and that is the ‘corrected’ version too… read on.

The 1976 Directors Edition and how it compares with the 1978 commercial edition.

Probably the easiest way to present all this is by way of a table, with the tracks as per 1976 and their approximate durations (timed from a vinyl rip of my copy) and notes about alternative sources, 1978 title and duration variations and later appearances on CD. Note: The timings aren’t gospel, more of an aid to differentiate any significant differences. of which, there are a few…

1976 titles 1976
duration
Notes on comparison with 1978 edition and other appearances 1978 or other
duration
Becalmed 01:59 An edit of the track originally from ‘Another Green World’ – the intro is truncated quite a bit, the main part comes in at approx. 00:29 instead of 1:13. 03:57
Deep Waters 01:01 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on the ‘More Music for Films’ 2005 CD when it was mistakenly listed as ‘Dark Waters’ instead. It sounds like some kind of reversed variant of elements of ‘Becalmed’ to my ears? 01:03
There Is Nobody 01:45 Same title and music shared with the the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:43
Spain 01:37 Same music but re-titled as ‘Aragon’ on the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:37
Untitled 02:05 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 02:06
The Last Door 01:30 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on the ‘More Music for Films’ 2005 CD. It seems to bear some kind of relation musically to ‘Spain’ aka ‘Aragon’ – as if based on the same backing track but without the electric piano overdubs? 01:31
Chemin de Fer 01:50 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 01:58
Dark Waters 02:11 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – it was not included on any later CD and as far as I know remains otherwise unissued. The tracks that is listed as ‘Dark Waters’ on the 2005 ‘More Music for Films’ CD is actually the track ‘Deep Waters’ instead. -:–
Sparrowfall 1 01:14 Same title and music shared with the the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:11
Sparrowfall 2 01:46 Same title and music shared with the the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:44
Sparrowfall 3 01:20 Same title and music shared with the the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:24
Evening Star 01:39 An extremely shortened edit of the track orginally from Fripp & Eno’s ‘Evening Star’. 07:48
Another Green World 01:21 An edit of the track originally from ‘Another Green World’ – the intro is truncated and the low rumbling drums are missing. 01:37
In Dark Trees 01:54 An edit of the track originally from ‘Another Green World’ – it fades out earlier but is otherwise unaltered. 02:30
Fuseli 01:41 Same music but re-titled as ‘Patrolling Wire Borders’ on the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. 01:42
Melancholy Waltz 01:46 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on the ‘More Music for Films’ 2005 CD. 01:47
Northern Lights 02:03 Same music but re-titled as ‘Quartz’ on the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. On the 2005 ‘More Music for Films’ CD, ‘Northern Lights’ is an otherwise unreleased track altogether! 02:03
From The Coast 01:26 Same music but re-titled as ‘Inland Sea’ on the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’. On the 2005 ‘More Music for Films’ CD, ‘From The Coast’ is actually the track ‘Quartz’ (from 1978 ‘Music for Films’ aka ‘Northern Lights’ on the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ LP! 01:25
Shell 01:25 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on the ‘More Music for Films’ 2005 CD. 01:27
Little Fishes 01:47 Full duration version of the track originally from ‘Another Green World’ (where it segues with ‘Sombre Reptiles’). 01:30
Empty Landscape 01:26 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 01:27
Reactor 01:35 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. Musically, appears to be built upon the same backing track as ‘In Dark Trees’ but somewhat more haywire with guitar overdubbing! 01:41
The Secret 01:13 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 01:13
Don’t Look Back 01:00 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 00:57
Marseilles 01:28 Originally exclusive to the 1976 ‘Directors Edition’ – first re-issued on disc one of the 1994 ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ CD boxed set. 01:29
Final Sunset 02:36 Same title and music shared with the the 1978 edition of ‘Music for Films’ but is far shorter and ends without the introduction of still organ tones that make up the latter part of the 1978 version. 04:14
Juliet 01:35 An edit of the track titled ‘Spirits Drifting’ originally from ‘Another Green World’ – it fades out a lot earlier but otherwise seems unaltered. 02:51

Phew! Got that? Pretty different all in all. Particularly interesting that the 2005 ‘More Music for Films’ CD isn’t quite the full  stop on the story as might have been hoped, since it doesn’t include the track ‘Dark Waters’ (even though the sleeve lists that title mistakenly). There’s one other thing to note while we are at it. 1994’s ‘Eno Box 1 Instrumental’ disc 1 includes ‘Slow Water’, but lists it as a track from the 1976 Directors Edition of ‘Music for Films’ mistakenly. At least, I think that’s the case, given that I don’t know what all appeared on the 25 track ‘test pressing’ version…

Let’s finish off by comparing the sleeve designs as well, while we’re at it. We started off with the 1976 edition and for comparison, here’s the 1978 UK edition, this one (with the mysterious “This Way Out – H. Houdini” inscription in the run out groove area). The front of the 1976 edition includes extra EG Records text/logo and overall the colouring is different – 1976, a bluey-green is the colour of ink, including label text. By 1978 and a more browny-maroon is the colour, with label text print in brown. The sleeve notes from Eno are different on the two editions.

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - front cover

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – front cover

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - rear cover

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – rear cover

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - label side A

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – label side A

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - label side B

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – label side B

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - inner bag

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – inner bag

Brian Eno 'Music for Films' 1978 UK EG Records release - run out groove inscription

^ Brian Eno ‘Music for Films’ 1978 UK EG Records release – run out groove inscription

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