Taking a cue from the liner notes, most reviewers of Brian Eno's Neroli (1991) point out the piece's simple melodic line, its derivation from the Phrygian mode, its slowly mutating processes, and perhaps also its practical use as background music for therapy. All of these are salient points, and informative to anyone who wonders what this ambient album is like. Yet it might be helpful to mention Neroli's uncanny similarity to the second Environments album, Tintinnabulation (Synthesized Bell Tones), which was created by Syntonic Research, Inc., and released on Atlantic in 1972. Both Tintinnabulation and Eno's later work function as soft aural experiences, and resemble each other in their blurred textures and low chiming sonorities. The only substantial differences worth noting are Eno's purer tones and cleaner, noise-free atmosphere, which make Neroli more pleasant to hear on a digital player; Tintinnabulation, being an analog recording of comparatively more complex synthesized sounds, has some undesirable production noises, buzzy reverberations, and some detectable tape hiss. But a side-by-side comparison reveals a commonality of purpose as well as similar methods, and both work as "chill-out" discs. Eno's CD, however, has the advantage of name recognition, and is therefore more likely to be available.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson