Side by side: Brian Eno – Music for Films Volume 2 (1983) and More Music For Films (2005)

Having already taken a deep dive into the complexities and version craziness of Brian Eno’s ‘Music For Films’, we are by no means done here. There is plenty left in the tank with the variations of the belated follow-up volume – with a particular focus on how you might piece together a digital version. (The answer is, not completely…)

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 front cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 front cover

‘Music For Films Volume 2’

Released in 1983, initially only as part of the multi-album box set ‘Working Backwards: 1983-1973’ – it would see a separate release in the US and Canada, marketed via Jem records (and a catalogue number EGBS 2). This copy here is one that came from the boxed set (the giveaway is the gold foil ‘E’G Box’ stamp in the rear cover – the sleeves of all LPs included in the boxes had these.)

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 rear cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 rear cover

Eno’s own sleeve notes on the rear cover mention “I released the first volume of Music for Films in 1978 and it contained samples of my work spanning the period 1975-1978. This second volume picks up where the first left off, but is somewhat different in that it contains fewer pieces with a greater average length.”

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 label side 1

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 label side 1

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the music itself, side one comprises seven tracks, of which three had already seen light of day on the preceding ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks’ album mere months before – these being ‘Matta’ (edited down to a mere 2’25” compared to the ‘Apollo’ album version of 4’24” approx.), ‘The Secret Place’ – unaltered, by the sound of it – and ‘An Ending’ – note, no (Ascending) to its title – which gives a clue to the fact that it is a different version – the rather angelic choral voices are absent from this version, which has a duration of 3’41” (compared to the ‘Apollo’ version of 4’25” approx.)

Otherwise, side one is made up of tracks that were new to this release: ‘The Dove’, ‘Roman Twilight’, ‘Dawn, Marshland’, ‘Climate Study’. Of these, the first three would get a CD release first of all on 1994’s ‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ CD boxed set – all four would later appear on the ‘More Music For Films’ CD in 2005.

An important takeaway then – the edit of ‘Matta’ and version of ‘An Ending’ have never appeared on CD format, to my knowledge.

Brian Eno - 'Music For Films Volume 2' 1983 label side 2

^ Brian Eno – ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ 1983 label side 2

Side two again features some tracks first heard on ‘Apollo’, though even more version craziness to take account of. Side two begins and ends with versions of ‘Always Returning’ – both are different from the ‘Apollo’ album version (which has a duration of 4’05” approx.). Side two’s opener, ‘Always Returning I’ is 4’32” approx., and it appears its only outing in CD format was on the aforementioned ‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ set, since for whatever reason it failed to make the cut for the ‘More Music for Films’ CD – which seems like an odd omission, to me. Side two’s closer, ‘Always Returning II’ is a shorter 3’05” approx. duration – it can be found on the 1994 ‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ as well as the 2005 ‘More Music for Films’.

The second track on side two is another variant from ‘Apollo’ – this being a longer version of ‘Signals’ – 3’59” here compared to the much shorter ‘Apollo’ album take of 2’47”. If you want to find this longer version on CD format then once more you will need the ‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ set.

The final remaining track first found on ‘Apollo’ included here on side two is track three, ‘Under Stars’ – seemingly unaltered.

Tracks four and five were new to this LP – namely ‘Drift Study’ and ‘Approaching Taidu’ – both of these were released on the 1994 box set and 2005 ‘More Music for Films’ releases. Sonically, you could easily imagine these fitting right in in the more ‘spacey’ atmosphere ‘Apollo’ tracks.

Takeaways from side two – the version of ‘Signals’ is a lot longer than the version first found on ‘Apollo…’ – it can be found on CD though. The two versions of ‘Always Returning’ are both different to the version on ‘Apollo…’ – again, both can be found on CD, though not easily or cheaply now.

Brian Eno - 'More Music For Films' 2005 digipak CD front cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘More Music For Films’ 2005 digipak CD front cover

A word of caution about the ‘More Music for Films’ CD – early copies of the digipak edition were mispressed, a mix up with tracks 18 and 20, with ‘Approaching Taidu’ included twice -so, ‘Climate Study’ was omitted altogether.

Brian Eno - 'More Music For Films' 2005 digipak CD rear cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘More Music For Films’ 2005 digipak CD rear cover

Brian Eno - 'More Music For Films' 2005 digipak CD inner notes

^ Brian Eno – ‘More Music For Films’ 2005 digipak CD inner notes

Brian Eno - 'More Music For Films' 2005 digipak CD disc label

^ Brian Eno – ‘More Music For Films’ 2005 digipak CD disc label

Lets summarise where to find these tracks in a nice handy table format…

Track ‘More Music For Films’ CD
‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ CD set
Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtrack Exclusive to original LP only
The Dove YES YES NO
Roman Twilight YES YES NO
Matta NO NO NO* YES
Dawn, Marshland YES YES NO
Climate Study YES NO NO
The Secret Place NO NO YES
An Ending NO NO NO YES
Always Returning I NO YES NO
Signals NO YES NO ‡
Under Stars NO NO YES
Drift Study YES YES NO
Approaching Taidu YES YES NO
Always Returning II YES YES NO

* The version on ‘Music For Films Volume 2’ is edited.

‡ The version on ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks’ is edited.

Brian Eno - 'Eno Box 1' Instrumental with disc 1 sleeve on show

^ Brian Eno – ‘Eno Box I: Instrumental’ disc 1 sleeve on show

And last of all, some photos of the ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks’ album (original UK release) – they don’t quite capture how nice the slight silver sheen finish to the printing is, but what the hell…. it’s a nice piece of design.

Brian Eno - 'Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks' 1983 UK LP front cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks’ 1983 UK LP front cover

Brian Eno - 'Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks' 1983 UK LP rear cover

^ Brian Eno – ‘Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks’ 1983 UK LP rear cover

Brian Eno - 'Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks' 1983 UK LP rear cover detail

^ Brian Eno – ‘Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks’ 1983 UK LP rear cover detail

Brian Eno - 'Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks' 1983 label side 1

^ Brian Eno – ‘Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks’ 1983 label side 1

Brian Eno - 'Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks' 1983 label side 2

^ Brian Eno – ‘Apollo Atmosphere and Soundtracks’ 1983 label side 2

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