Bask in the art-world ambience

Brian Eno: A god of the art-rock world with a presence in a variety of genres, particularly ambient music, a genre born of his pioneering experiments in the four-album series “Ambient 1-4.”

Jon Hopkins: A very successful, electronic composer, who has been involved in projects with Coldplay, Massive Attack and Four Tet.

Leo Abrahams: An unfortunately less-than-well-known composer and musician who has worked with an incredible span and volume of artists, ranging from Natalie Imbruglia to Badly Drawn Boy, from Imogen Heap to Nick Cave.

These three well-established and exceptional artists come together to produce a mixture of beauty and foreboding in “Small Craft on a Milk Sea” very rarely seen in a body of work so consistent.

This collection of fifteen different pieces of music uses timbres akin to the first of the “Ambient” installments, and during the more oppressive parts, the album pitches an atmosphere closely resembling the dark, nomadic tension found in “Ambient 4: On Land.”

However, out of the entire Eno catalog, it would be fair to say that this release most closely resembles the “Drawn from Life” record, his collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm, for its mixture of ethereal, expansive instrumentation with rhythmic elements, a logical proposal considering the presence of Leo Abrahams’ name on both CD jackets.

The album has an absolutely enormous variety of just about every musical element one can think of, (i.e. timbre, mood, rhythm, instrumentation) yet it retains a very singular humor throughout its entirety.

The first few tracks of the album maintain a dreamy, free-time quality, but transfer smoothly from the more edifying, early Radiohead tonalities of the opener, “Emerald and Lime,” to the darker, brooding tension of the title track.

Beginning with the jarring, extroverted and almost tribal drumming of the fourth track, “Flint March,” the record immediately forces the listener into a state of “Inception”-esque suspense, a characteristic that it retains up until the explosive climax of “2 Forms of Anger,” in which Abrahams’ distorted guitar careens into the already nail-biting brew of creepy ambience and rhythmic electronics.

Over the next three tracks, percussiveness remains a key feature of the music, as well as what has become a sense of breaking insanity, an evolution away from what now seems like the comfortable logic of a horror film.

This mood is exemplified in “Paleosonic,” with its dripping, clanking percussion and schizophrenic guitar lines.

The remaining tracks on the album pick up the rhythm-less feel of the first few, as if instilled with a newfound submissiveness after having lost the will to fight.

All songs in this third section of the album, with the exception of the respite found in the opener’s sister track, “Emerald and Stone,” give into the brooding, unsettling feelings developed up until this time.

The album ends with the sparse quivering synth sounds of “Late Anthropocene,” bringing to mind a frigid, shivering stag in the bleakest of winters.