Brian Eno - Song by Song (& Album by Album) Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by HitAndRun, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    I kind of expected this to be more of a field recording idea with minimal manipulation of the sounds - more like a Luc Ferrari thing - but I suppose the streets of London just aren't as interesting sonically as a French fishing village.
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  2. richard a

    richard a Forum Resident

    borley, essex, uk
    Sorry, yes you’re right. It doesn’t seem to have been the more usual Eno audio/visual installation. Just audio from four speakers. Really doesn’t sound terribly interesting… ah well.
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  3. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    Spinner is a fine album, but I don't like it anywhere near as much as the Glitterbug soundtrack that spawned it. It's always seemed to me like the bonus disc for a (great) album that never came out.

    Over the weekend I rewatched Glitterbug, which remains a beautiful and moving film. For those who don't know it, it's Derek Jarman's "post-ultimate" film. He'd made his cinematic last will and testament with the magisterial Blue (which also included Eno on the soundtrack), and then managed to put together this film that took him full-circle. It's a compilation of Jarman's personal 8 and 16mm footage, going right back to his earliest days as an art student and then tracking through chronologically (until it doubles back at the close). Eno is brought on to score the film, another cyclical reference, as he'd scored Jarman's first feature, and he provides contrasting music for each section. Thus the film is structured more like an album than a film. Eno's music is diverse, atmospheric, and this is probably the work of his that's most like the original Music for Films. It would be wonderful for this to finally be released in its own right, and it seems like it was originally intended to be, as three tracks from the soundtrack appeared on the All Saints sampler Future Perfect in 1995.

    Music for White Cube, which I only recently heard, is terrific: a murky, messy ambient album that sounds like an urban On Land.
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  4. Hightops

    Hightops Forum Resident

    Bay Area, Ca
    White Cube suggests an industrial On Land (think this was said earlier). Reminds me of the sound engineering in Eraserhead.
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  5. primitivesludge

    primitivesludge Forum Resident

    Eno-Wobble is interesting to me. Not brilliant or anything, but I feel you can see something of an exchange between the old guard of ambient types and the new 90s types who have taken Eno and applied it different contexts like low level dance, world music, melted indie songs, etc.. This sort of feels like a dry run for Pan American (Mark Nelson of Labradford) and his early work fusing arid ambient soundworlds with some kind of amniotic dub.

    Music for White Cube is, I guess, okay, but something irks me about Eno getting involved with White Cube - it was the absolute apotheosis of the coke-addled moneygrubber careerist back end of Britpop label entrepreneurs and Young British Art intersecting in a fug of self-congratulation. Probably all went down Pharmacy for ironic medical cocktails afterwards.
  6. ciderglider

    ciderglider Forum Resident

    I like the concept of the church bells being sonic lighthouses in the sea of London, but the realisation of it leaves me disappointed. To my ears , the traffic sound just degenerates into white noise.
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  7. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Music for the White Cube

    I do think this is an interesting concept. And, the sounds come out sounding quite musical.

    The stop-start nature is really annoying to me. I wonder if this had some role in the actual installation. E.g. if there are multiple CD players playing random tracks, then when one stops others would continue.

    It's a pity because I think I could enjoy a much longer version of this which is more continuous.

    I'm not up on the history of the White Cube gallery myself, so don't know of the back-slapping nature of what went on there. But, I think had I gone to see the exhibition (I was living in London at the time so no excuse) then I think I would have liked the exhibition by

    It should be possible to create an (e.g.) hour remix of this in surround sound which reproduces what it would have sounded like in the gallery to a greater degree. I'd like to hear that. Unfortunately I don't have surround playback here at home. (There is such at work.)

    I do like it that Eno was trying different things, and this is I think a successful experiment overall. I don't know how many others had done what in the field earlier than Eno and how much he invented this concept and to what degree he was inspired by others. But, this sounds new and interesting to me.
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  8. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the discussion everybody. Today we start two days on The Drop. Brian's sixteenth solo album from 16th July 1997.


    YouTube playlist:
    Spotify link: The Drop

    Track listing (from Discogs):

    1 Slip, Dip 2:18
    2 But If 1:48
    3 Belgian Drop 1:56
    4 Cornered 2:02
    5 Block Drop 2:50
    6 Out/Out 1:51
    7 Swanky 2:50
    8 Coasters 2:55
    9 Blissed 2:53
    10 M.C. Organ 2:54
    11 Boomcubist 2:07
    12 Hazard 2:15
    13 Rayonism 2:55
    14 Dutch Blur 3:02
    15 Back Clack 3:19
    16 Dear World 3:16
    17 Iced World 32:48

    There aren't really any credits, and I don't have the album cover to hand. I presume that everything is done by Brian.

    Here is an interview with Brian from 1997, but the sound and visual quality is awful. A pity as the content sounds good. Though, perhaps we've heard some of this before.

    After this we have a rest/catch-up/anything day, and then we need the next batch of albums planned.
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  9. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    He doesn't really invent much in the way of concepts, to be honest, and he didn't invent that one.
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  10. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here are some albums coming up. I have to check a number of things to see if other albums have been discussed but haven't been put into the schedule.

    Tracks and Traces by Harmonia and Eno.

    And, finally we get here. Two days for this as ambient but a major album as a collaboration with Harmonia (even if credited differently). I haven't heard this for a while and have forgotten exactly how much 'voice' Eno provides and what sort.

    A Year

    Two days as an instrumental Eno album.

    Note: The next three 'albums' are collected within Music for Installations. I don't think we want to do MfI as one album. But, there is a lot of this.

    Music for Installations

    One day, and just the first disc of the multi-disk set. Not the whole thing.

    77 Million Paintings

    Ditto to above. One day.

    Lightness: Music for the Marble Palace – The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

    Tricky. Two long ambient tracks. I suppose we could have two days. One for each track. But, given this is all part of what was released for Music for Installations, I think one day works.

    I Dormienti

    One day as a single track ambient Eno album. Even less than a CD. Should it be merged with the next set of music?

    Kite Stories

    Still Music for Installations. One day. Unless: discussion.

    Making Space

    There is a lot of this. One day.

    Music for Future Installations

    And, finishing up. One day.

    Smart - New Composers with Guest Brian Eno.

    This was in the original listing of collaborative albums, but Brian doesn't really appear on it enough. I think this won't be given a day, but will end up in the next rest/catch-up/anything day among whatever else can be found.

    Music for Onmyo-Ji

    One day. Again, ambient Eno. It is a collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm, and I'm not sure who has brought in the Japanese traditional music influences. But, I think that one day works after all the ambience that has gone before.

    Rest/Catch-Up Day

    Perhaps on this day we can post a recording of a loud alarm clock in case anyone has been soothed into a deep sleep with well over a week of ambience. Smart would be covered on this day, as well as anything else that gets found/suggested along the way.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2022
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  11. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I guess that was the case. But, for people who popularise concepts (which Eno does), he brings it to people who are not familiar with the more obscure music/art that went before. And, I think that's an important role in spreading concepts around.
  12. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    Málaga, Spain
    The Drop:

    I know this album raised many an eyebrow, but I enjoy it for what it is. I like the concept behind "generative" music and the fact that many tracks manage to almost sound melodic despite being rather abstract make this a successful and interesting album for me. Nice to hear Brian's voice in the mix on Dear World.
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  13. William Gladstone

    William Gladstone I was a teenage daydreamer.

    Panama City, FL
    The Drop - Yet another that I've shied away from for all the same reasons, and "back then" I'd have not cared for this one at all; but at this point, I think it's pretty dang good, maybe even great. This is Eno 3.0 (third decade of making music), and there are little hints of this and that from the past getting a contemporary upgrade, which can sound a bit "dated" but not really in a bad way at all.

    To me, almost, it's like a retro album (and I mean at the time), because most if not all of these tracks would have been fantastic incidental music to any number of sci fi shows/films made ten, twenty, even twenty-five years previous, which adds not only a sense of purpose, but some familiar charm to boot. Plus, there's a casualness to these songs that make them appealing and fun because they're not demanding too much from you, and yet also have something to offer in short, quirky bursts. If anything ran more than three to four minutes, it would absolutely wear thin, but as they stand, they're very agreeable interludes and even request repeat listening. I admit that the diversity, and sometimes similarity, from song to song does not make this an overly cohesive album, more like a collection of odd bits, but the selections are enjoyable enough to overlook that. Also, the one long track, Iced World, is marvelous and deserved of a longer running time, and at times almost feels like the rebellious child of Thursday Afternoon.

    I know that for many fans this one is low down on the ladder, if not the bottom rung. Perhaps folks were still hoping for AGW Part II, etc, but as an artist, Eno was moving forward and yet, as stated, the hints of the past are still there to retain his identity, but with a new pair of cool shades. Extra bonus points because my son really liked this one, and so it will get played more often in hopes of keeping him on the path towards quality music and not, you know, Nickelback.
  14. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    Pure speculation on my part, but based on my knowledge of other Eno works, my guess would be that the individual tracks would be on loops playing through speakers in different parts of the space, so you'd create your own mix by physically moving around the space, and the overall piece would be perpetually unique because the differing track lengths would never sync up again in the same way.

    At least that's how I'd do it!

    The Drop

    As I recall, the idea here was jazz created by aliens who'd only heard the music described. Which suggests a much more interesting album than we got (which has no discernable relationship to jazz)!

    I like 'Iced World' best, but that's a Spinner track that got lost, or got found. Whatever.

    For one of Eno's weakest albums, with no singles released from it, there are a lot of waifs and strays to track down:

    The Glitters Is Gold compilation features unannounced extended versions of two tracks: 'Swanky' and 'Blissed'
    These are substantially different to the album versions. 'Swanky' runs 5.13 (album version is 2.50) and 'Blissed' runs 4.26 (album version is 2.53)

    The original Japanese release came with a second little disc with three bonus tracks:
    'Swat & Rut' / 'Slicing System' / 'Sharply Cornered'
    I think this is the first Japanese Eno CD with bonus tracks, something that would become a grand, annoying tradition.
    The 2014 double LP included only two of those three tracks on the third side (speaking of annoying!)

    Then there's We Love You, an art book that came with a CD where contemporary visual artists collaborated with musicians. Brian Eno drew the Marc Quinn straw (or vice versa), and their track, 'Sensual Zero Gravity', is a version of 'Coasters' from The Drop.
    For future reference, if you ever want to hear Tracy Emin collaborate with Boy George, or Sam Taylor-Wood covering Serge Gainsbourg with the Pet Shop Boys, this is the album for you!

    Finally, and most uselessly, the 2014 vinyl edition of the album had to truncate 'Iced World' down to 19 minutes (from 32) because it was too long for an album side. For no understandable reason, this LP Edit was also replicated on the reissue CD, so if you want the complete album, you'll need to get an original CD.
  15. richard a

    richard a Forum Resident

    borley, essex, uk
    I’m slightly surprised by the positive reaction to The Drop. I generally love everything that Eno has done, but this one absolutely leaves me cold. Didn’t like it 25 years ago and playing it again yesterday didn’t help either. It’s ok. It noodles along and isn’t actually offensive. But it’s simply, for me anyway, not memorable in any way until we get to Iced World which is better than the rest of the album but is way too long! By remaining so unchanging it just doesn’t justify its absurd length and the short version found as a hidden track on Spinner is more than enough for me. Ah well, it’s good that we don’t all like the same things!
  16. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The Drop

    I have said that this is my least favourite Eno album. But, on listening to it, I hear quite a bit that I like. I've read various accounts of whether the album is produced by generative means, but not really seen a 100% confirmation. I *think* it is.

    The tracks 'Slip Dip', 'But If', and 'Belgian Drop' are in the style of what I remember of this album. I bought it on release and remember being a bit disappointed at the time. 'Cornered' is mostly piano with some synth coming in through the track. The melodies aren't what I would consider captivating, but there is interest in the details.

    'Block Drop' finally brings in more rhythm though it has the same 'wandering' melody as the other tracks which makes me think that surely this is generative music. It's when we get to 'Out/Out' that things become a bit more straightforward with the simple and repetitive but catchy bass line. Though, I sort of expect something to happen, for the music to go somewhere, but then it doesn't.

    A lot of the tracks don't really have a memorable memory. Finally 'Swanky' does. Eno has shown us with ambient works that music can be very attractive without 'hooks'. But, somehow I find that some of the music on this album teases as if there are going to be hooks, and then they aren't delivered. Or, at least some of the repetition that I expect isn't delivered. 'Swanky' finally delivers hooks. Both in the repetitive bass line, but also in the melody. I didn't remember this track from when I was playing the album on release. Maybe I didn't actually listen to it very much having been put off the first few tracks. 'Coasters' again has a now very simple indeed bass line, but back to the wandering melodies without much repetition. Music doesn't need to have repetition. But, somehow my ears expect a bit more of it from what I hear on this album. I'm not sure why.

    While I find this music better than I remember, I don't know this rehabilitates this album to the point where it is no longer my least favourite Eno album. I'm trying to think of anything I like less. But,

    Back to the music: I feel that perhaps this style would have suited an EP rather than a whole album. Even by the point of 'MC Organ' I feel I've listened to enough of this. Having the drums provides some repetition, and the bass line is simple but interesting. But, I just expect a bit more from the melody. It ... just wanders a bit too much for me.

    By 'Rayonism' when the wandering melody comes back again, I feel that I've had enough of this and I look and there is still plenty of album to go. Random melodies are interesting the first few times you hear them, but nowadays I've heard too much of that. It's tempting to think that randomisation can produce any melody in the history of the world, but it always sounds the same. And, for me, it does here.

    'Black Clack' is more interesting again, and doesn't just wander randomly. But, by this point in the album I'm switching off a bit. It's hard to stay focussed on this, even though the music is not ambient.

    'Dear World' perhaps has the best repetitive bass line on the album and welcome Eno wordless vocals (I presume). If an EP was made from this album I would definitely include this track. The melody when it arrives is random-ish, but somehow more memorable. There is good music on this album, but somehow the album ends up being less than the sum of its parts.

    It's a bit disappointing that a fair amount of the running order of this album is 'Iced World' which (in modern context) has been heard before.

    The album eventually finishes. I think that a lot of these tracks would provide interesting variation on a different album. With different types of music. But, collecting these all together doesn't work for me. I can see why this was the last Eno album that I bought on release for a while. And, the albums that got me back into Eno were vocal albums. Another Day on Earth, etc.

    Hmm.... I would say that I'm not expecting AGW part II etc. But, there is something vaguely unsatisfying with this album.
  17. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Today is another rest/catch-up/anything day before we start on the next batch of ambient pieces/albums.

    In 1997 Eno contributed the 'Moon Up Mix' of the Can track 'Pnoom' to the Can remix album Sacriledge.

    Pnoom - Moon Up Mix

    It's only 57 seconds long. But, the original track is only 26 seconds long, I think. So, this is an extended mix.

    Eno also produced (and sang along with) an unfinished Roy Orbison track 'You Make Me Feel Like Crying', released on the soundtrack of the Wim Wenders film 'The End of Violence', and eventually as a bonus track on later CDs of Orbison's album Mystery Girl. Eno's vocal is clearly designed to support Orbison's vocal, not provide significant recognisable 'Eno'. It's a very nice song of the style that Orbison had hits with earlier in his career. This was a bonus track on a 2007 re-release of the album, and I hadn't heard it before as I bought the original CD. Note: Orbison sadly died one month after the release of this album - at 52.

    Eno played on Robert Wyatt's album Shleep, contributing synth, synth bass, and chorus. Phil Manzanera also appears on the album. The first track 'Heaps of Sheeps' sounds a bit like Eno's 70s work, and perhaps a bit reminiscient of Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain. I know that everyone else here is more familiar with Wyatt's work than me. The rest of the album covers a wide range of styles. I hear some more acoustic slightly pastoral work, jazz influenced music, and other variations. I hear some very welcome (to my ears) Manzanera sounding guitar on tracks such as 'Alien'. But I don't know the styles/sound of the other guitarists on the album, so it could be someone else.
  18. ciderglider

    ciderglider Forum Resident

    The Drop annoys me, and it annoys me all the more because I don't really know why it annoys me in the first place. It feels like the music deliberately avoids resolving itself, so it makes me feel unsatisfied. One track in this vein is an interesting experiment, a whole album of it is gruelling.
  19. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    'Heaps of Sheeps' is the big Eno track on that lovely album, as he produced and arranged it. The rest of the album was self-produced, but Eno plays on some of it as well.
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  20. brew ziggins

    brew ziggins Forum Prisoner

    The Village
    I’m not hating The Drop as much as I remembered. It’s slightly unsettling, which would be OK, except everything else is already unsettling enough.
    I’m sitting here finding it reminiscent of the Fripp/Belew ProjeKct 2 duo. Belgian Drop, for example. Fripp was deploying a lot of plinky synthetic keyboard sounds during that period.
    The Drop came out a year before P2. Not drawing any connections, just noting the resemblance.
  21. richard a

    richard a Forum Resident

    borley, essex, uk
    Interesting comparison with the King Crimson ProjeKct 2. Yes there are similar sounds and constructions - I’d not really spotted that before. But out of all the ProjeKcts its 2 that’s my least favourite, for similar reasons to why I’m not terribly keen on The Drop. The plinky plonky sound, the simplistic tunes and uninteresting repetitive nature of the pieces. Incidentally, P2 was a trio, Belew on electronic drums (which sounded horrible…), Trey Gunn on Warr guitar, and Fripp on soundscapes and guitar. There was a much later ProjeKct with just Fripp and Belew, but as the tech had improved this one, P6, sounded a lot different - and better.
  22. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the discussion everybody. Today we start two days on Tracks and Traces by Harmonia 76 or Harmonia and Eno 76. Recorded in September 1976, and first released in November 1997.



    Spotify link (I believe 2009 CD Release): Tracks and Traces

    YouTube playlist (ditto):

    Wikipedia link: Tracks and Traces - Wikipedia
    Discogs link: Harmonia & Eno '76 - Tracks And Traces

    Track listing (2009 CD, from Discogs):

    (Wikipedia): Music written, performed and produced by Brian Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Michael Rother and Dieter Moebius. "Luneburg Heath" vocals and lyrics by Brian Eno.

    1 Welcome 3:02
    2 Atmosphere 3:26
    3 Vamos Companeros 4:34
    4 By The Riverside 9:30
    5 Luneburg Heath 4:56
    6 Sometimes In Autumn 15:52
    7 Weird Dream 6:41
    8 Almost 5:30
    9 Les Demoiselles 4:02
    10 When Shade Was Born 1:33
    11 Trace 1:33
    12 Aubade 3:34

    Credits (from Wikipedia):

    Michael Rother – e-guitar, keyboards, drum machine
    Dieter Moebius – synthesizer, mini harp
    Hans-Joachim Roedelius – keyboards
    Brian Eno – synthesizer, e-bass, voice, lyrics

    Here's the background on the album from Wikipedia.

    Tracks and Traces is a collaborative album by German kosmische supergroup Harmonia (featuring Neu! guitarist Michael Rother and Cluster members Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) and British musician Brian Eno, initially credited to Harmonia 76. Eno joined the group at Harmonia's studio in Forst, Germany for the September 1976 recording sessions.

    The results remained unreleased until November 1997, when they were compiled by the American Rykodisc label (originally in Germany by the label S3, remastered by Eric Spitzer-Marlyn and Othmar Eichinger).[1] In 2009, a reissue featuring additional tracks and alternate artwork was released, this time credited to Harmonia & Eno '76.
  23. brew ziggins

    brew ziggins Forum Prisoner

    The Village
    Hmmm.... surprised to find I own this CD. Then surprised to find no CD in the case. How could it have gone AWOL? Can't imagine I played it more than once, especially after dialing the album up on Spotify. Belldog and one or two other tracks aside, I continue to be underwhelmed by the Eno/Cluster catalog.
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  24. primitivesludge

    primitivesludge Forum Resident

    'Welcome' was the first track on the compilation I made when romancing my current gf, so figure out whether I like this one (Tracks and Traces) from that.
  25. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    Málaga, Spain
    Tracks & Traces:

    I like this one quite a bit. Beautiful yet slightly eerie and unsettling soundscapes. I lived near Luneburg Heath for four years during the 1970s, so that track brings back memories.

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