It takes at least a couple seasons to fully appreciate an album like Brian Eno’s Small Craft On A Milk Sea, which is one reason why it took me 6 months to review it for 10Listens.com:
Last October, back when we used to offer quick first impressions of albums before our full 10 Listens reviews, I offered one such first impression of Brian Eno’s Small Craft On A Milk Sea. But although I immediately enjoyed the album, after a couple of listens I decided to wait a few months to absorb and appraise it. See, I had a theory about this album. It initially struck me as a very wintry album: icy, barren, desolate, dark, menacing. I figured I should hear it in that kind of climate in order to fully appreciate it.
Then the more I listened, I started to think that maybe this album wasn’t merely a “winter” album, but was more like a mood ring: that its colors would change significantly with the temperature. Now I’m not saying this is a particularly original theory, at least when it comes to many other Brian Eno albums (or ambient/electronic albums in general), which are often designed to be Rorschachy enough to assume different properties depending on the setting in which they’re experienced. I just thought that this would be extra-specially true of Small Craft On A Milk Sea. And now that I’ve listened to it in various environments and climates, I think my theory was fairly accurate.