Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Another Day on Earth

I just thought I'd take a short break from work (yes, on a Sunday!) to recommend an album. It arrived yesterday morning in the post and I've been listening to it most of the weekend. Another Day on Earth is the new album from the remarkable Brian Eno (it can be purchased directly from the enoshop) and is the first full album of songs he's done since 1977's Before and After Science (though he collaborated with John Cale on Wrong Way Up a couple of years later, and has done sporadic vocals on several of his albums since then... Nerve Net and Drawn From Life, for instance, both featured his voice in one form or another).

I'd been eager to hear this album since I'd heard him describe song-writing as the "last great challenge in music" during an interview with Alan Moore on Radio 4. How would he rise to the challenge then?

"Very well", is the answer. "Very well indeed".

If you're a fan of Brian Eno then you will love this album. I'm a big fan of his instrumental stuff, so I've got hold of - and dug - all his recent albums. But given that I play his vocal albums an awful lot (or "the early, funny stuff" as we refer to them in this flat... a prize of a big fat spliff to the first person to point out the reference), I've always hoped that he'd do a few more.

The glorious piano and strings of How Many Worlds and the understated, simple unaffected vocals, make it one of the best songs he's ever done. And it doesn't feel at all isolated on an album that covers plenty of bases.

If I have one criticism it's that I think he overuses vocal effects every now and then. Although that said - as is the case on And Then So Clear - just when you're thinking "turn off the vocoder Brian, and let's hear you sing!" his own voice begins to emerge subtly from within the effects... it's a very lovely 'machine to human' transition which places the earlier effects-laden verses in perfect context.

Another Day on Earth is an excellent album which deserves a longer review than I currently have time for. It also deserves a far bigger audience than I suspect it'll get. If (as is the case with a friend of mine) you "just don't like his voice" then this album is obviously not for you... but I recommend you check out Ambient 4: On Land (the best of his non-vocal stuff in my view).

However, if you do like his earlier vocal albums, then you will love this. I don't believe there's a man on the planet who can play a recording studio as an instrument the way that Eno does. And when you have that behind some amazing songs... well... I don't imagine there will be a better album this year.
Bone Bomb
my body so thin
so tired
beaten for years
ploughshare to bomb
so hard

bone bomb
bone bomb
bone bomb

my town so dusty
so dry
buildings pushed over
lives heaped together
young girls dreaming of beautiful deaths
popstar pictures above their beds
above their heads...

everything stolen
except my bones
now I am only bone
I waited for peace
and here is my peace
here in this still last moment
of my life.


Anonymous iotar said...

>>or "the early, funny stuff" as we refer to them in this flat... a prize of a big fat spliff to the first person to point out the reference...

"Stardust Memories", I believe. Was that a rhetorical big fat spliff or the proper rolled goodness?

15/6/05 14:44  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

Well it would be you, iotar, who came up with the answer. I mean, I guess we could make a big thing about how it's "the competition smoke" next time you pop over for a bong while listening to chilled music...

16/6/05 21:57  

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