Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Nov 9, 2010
    90
    Even when it seems a bit disjointed on close inspection, it's when you take a step back that this album really comes into focus.
  2. Nov 1, 2010
    90
    Small Craft on a Milk Sea gives us the classically transportive experience that Brian Eno excels in creating.
  3. 88
    Though it might sound like a cold place, Eno's primordial milk sea is often choppy and warm, the kind of rough and imperfect environment where ideas ignite.
  4. Nov 23, 2010
    84
    Another resplendent nonpareil from Eno (and a collaborative improvisation with Leo Abraham and Jon Hopkins), this is veritably a spontaneous soundtrack to an inferential film, one that is essentially revealed in the imagination of the listener.
  5. Nov 5, 2010
    80
    Eno may be trading on his earlier developments in ambience, but Small Craft on a Milk Sea is a good and proper balance of curiosity and expression.
  6. Nov 4, 2010
    80
    Aficionados will hear a master ambient craftsman in his element. [Dec. 2010, p. 95]
  7. 80
    Mr. Eno produced Small Craft on a Milk Sea from studio improvisations he shared with the electronica musician Jon Hopkins and the guitarist Leo Abrahams, blending their musicianly interactions with the impersonal, repetitive processes of loops and beats and blurring any distinction between human and mechanized.
  8. Nov 1, 2010
    80
    It's at once more lithe and more aggressive an album than we've heard from Eno in years; and while sometimes the pieces feel too short (or, in some cases, just plain incomplete), Small Craft offers a promising sampler of sonic possibilities from an artist as immune to fashion as his music is to time.
  9. Oct 29, 2010
    80
    Eno unleashes tempests of breakbeats ("Horse"), electro exotica ("Bone Jump"), even roiling post-rock ("2 Forms of Anger"), creating a perfect storm.
  10. Oct 29, 2010
    80
    All this makes the album sound like an arid conservatoire experiment, but it's more than that. Many of its tracks, like Morricone-feeling "Written, Forgotten," are designed to drift into the background--upmarket mood music, if you will--but others demand your attention. [Dec 2010, p.89]
  11. Oct 29, 2010
    80
    On Small Craft, the 62-year-old Eno has provided both sonic career overview, as well as an engaging experience for listeners wanting something both familiar and new. [Dec 2010, p.111]
  12. 75
    Like everything Eno touches, the album is riddled with baffling and stimulating forays into unexpected territories.
  13. Nov 2, 2010
    75
    It's an uncharacteristically diverse album for the electronic-music pioneer-one that grew out of several years of improvising with previous collaborators Jon Hopkins and Leo Abraham-and it bears the stylistic fluctuations of a work long in development, with eerily plucked guitars and tense piano lines giving way to doomsday lasers, Aphex Twin skitter, and finally, refracted versions of earlier tracks à la Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror.
  14. Oct 29, 2010
    75
    Another victory in a storied career, Small Craft on a Milk Sea is Eno's attempt to reiterate the relevance of the long-player through its unique sequencing.
  15. Nov 4, 2010
    74
    With few exceptions, Small Craft on a Milk Sea's 15 songs fall roughly into one of two categories: ambient and active.
  16. Nov 16, 2010
    70
    Things move from melodic ambience to galloping sci-fi workouts and back again, the highlight being the sublime 'Emerald And Stone'.
  17. 70
    After all these years, he's still got it.
  18. Nov 10, 2010
    70
    Small Craft... isn't an album that's going to change the world forever, but listened to in the right environment it sometimes does just that for a few minutes at a time.
  19. Nov 10, 2010
    70
    For the most part, Small Craft on a Milk Sea slots back into that forward thinking mindset, creating further realms of possibility for Eno to operate in.
  20. Nov 5, 2010
    70
    While most of the album is at least somewhat experimental in nature, Eno includes some reminders that he could probably compose a soundtrack for the afterlife if he felt the calling.
  21. Nov 3, 2010
    70
    Small Craft probably wouldn't make it as an art installation. It gets too diverse and obstreperous to make good musical wallpaper.
  22. Nov 2, 2010
    70
    Small Craft is something different: a rhythmically aggressive Brian Eno album.
  23. Nov 22, 2010
    62
    Rather than anticipating something new, Small Craft on a Milk Sea ultimately feels like one of the final surges of a style and format that Eno himself is outgrowing.
  24. Nov 15, 2010
    60
    There's no doubting that sounds are placed together, weaved and treated expertly and Small Craft On A Milk Sea can, save its more aggressive moments, flow over and around you therapeutically.
  25. Nov 11, 2010
    60
    The likes of Emerald and Lime and the similarly named Emerald and Stone are trademark Eno, and lovely: music as thought-provoking, soothing balm.
  26. Nov 8, 2010
    60
    The album may lack consistency, but it isn't short on order, each track bearing some indelible marker of Eno's touch.
  27. Nov 4, 2010
    60
    With assistance from fellow electronicists and past creative foils Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins, this translates as otherworldly synthetic miniatures, rhythmic techno tension-builders and, on Forms Of Anger, a sudden rush of motorik rock menace. [Dec. 2010, p. 109]
  28. Nov 2, 2010
    60
    Eno's true strength has always been in his ability to constantly create, to constantly make good noise. Small Craft on a Milk Sea finds him doing exactly that, and the results are at worst incredibly listenable, and at best utterly invigorating.
  29. Nov 1, 2010
    60
    The real triumphs come when beats make unexpected appearances, bringing to mind the left-field electronic music that his new label, Warp, was once revered for. Makes you wonder what Eno would come up with if he ventured into techno.
  30. Jan 3, 2011
    50
    Music is meditation for Brian Eno, so it's fitting that portions of Small Craft on a Milk Sea – a collaboration with guitarist Leo Abrahams and pianist Jon Hopkins – sound like they're circulating air at a day spa.
  31. Nov 1, 2010
    50
    It's the kind of hair-raising music that one wishes occurred more frequently on this overly subdued collection.
  32. Mar 1, 2011
    40
    This may be the first solo Eno work that is entirely without interest. It is bafflingly below par. [Dec 2010, p.45]
  33. Dec 23, 2010
    40
    The most interesting tracks on this album sound like music for the great Pier 1 Imports in the sky, suggesting an infinity of pure, terrifying stasis.
  34. Nov 1, 2010
    40
    Small Craft is an attempt to puncture that bubble, but doesn't quite do it; but, hopefully, if Eno's focus is still there, the next one should. I'm at least optimistic that it will.

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