Simply stated, here’s the experimental-listening event of the year: an album that demands you clear your schedule, turn off your phone, and devote your attention to the sounds coming out of your speakers. In the nearly five decades since he infiltrated the music scene with Roxy Music, Eno has continually pushed the envelope: twisting glam into bizarre new shapes on his classic ’70s LPs, bringing high-concept minimalism to new audiences with his Ambient series, producing some of the most beloved rock records of all time with U2 and Talking Heads. “The Ship” continues that arc, melding avant-electronic mastery with cosmic meditations and combining sonic and literary narratives to create a unique, entrancing emotional universe. By the time the album reaches its coda — a gorgeous and unexpected cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free” — Eno has proved his legacy is neither static nor overstated. Rather “The Ship” proves that one of music’s most creative forces is only now reaching the zenith of his artistry.
ESSENTIAL: “Fickle Sun (i)”