Posts Tagged ‘brian eno’

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Brian Eno – Music For Films

October 23, 2006

Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a problem, perhaps an addiction. It’s not an addiction that will kill me or make me lose my hair or turn my skin all clammy, but it’s an annoying one nonetheless. I buy way too many CDs. Well, I acquire way too many CDs. I don’t have a lot of money as it is and I am going to have to start to worry about college and other such expenses soon enough. Which makes my addiction all the more ridunkulous. When I see something I want, I say to myself, oh, if I had that I would be content enough to not buy any albums for a loooong time. Never works out. I always seem to make certain excuses as well to justify or protect my (what could be) dangerous habit, but I think it’s really time to buckle down. I do have some solutions that I could employ, and aren’t even that hard at employing. I should be more akin to roughing it musically than I already am, so I’ll try my hardest to review my current stash (ginormous) within the next few months without getting anything else. I have so fricking many things that I could review right now. This is one of them, and consequently one of the worst CD buying decisions I have made in the past few months. It’s Brian Eno yes, so I suppose it has to be good if you are in the right mood for it. It is, that’s very true. But it was way too expensive, even considering the fact that I could likely not get it for any cheaper elsewhere, as it is a rare import from Holland like most all of Eno’s work seems to be.

If you have ever enjoyed the wonderful sounds of Eno’s Another Green World (If you haven’t, fucking do it now. That’s a goddam order soldier.), than you might be able to equate most of the songs on this collection as music close to Becalmed, Zawinul/Lava, and possibly even Little Fishes if you want to stretch it, mostly in the way of length. The music is what the title suggests, music that sounds like it really should be from a film soundtrack. That said, like movie soundtrack nuggets, most of the songs on this album are very short, somewhat spontaneous and different from one another, and very atmospheric and interesting. I believe many of them were actually used in movies, interestingly enough.

This is, quite simply, ambient music. Keep in mind the circumstances in which it was made though. The year is 1978, and the release was technically before that of Ambeint 1: Music For Airports even though it was the same year and the man was arguably already working on the more well known masterwork. This is actually a collective work as well, and the credit on the album goes to several different people other than Eno on different occasions, the most interesting of these people being Percy Jones, Phil Collins, and Robert Fripp. But Eno himself did most of the work, and this shows in the striking simmilarity and comparable soundscapes to his later work in the Ambient series. All this said, each track is a meticulously created synth instrumental, and sometimes they work fantastically. Other times though, the pieces feel almost criminally underdeveloped and able of being crafted into something perhaps simmilar to the better tracks on Another Green World, where the instrumentals dwarf all others.

It should be noted, though, that even the underdeveloped and simple songs are joys to listen to. Brian Eno is not close to a typical music artist, so obviously this album is going to be quite different. I can immagine even the most avid listeners and fans of Eno at the time who had enjoyed not only Roxy Music but Another Green World and Eno’s other great albums would be surprised and put off by this, at least slightly. The album isn’t really organized, and songs with certain emotions don’t necessarilly carry to their followers. The biggest problem would be the fact that many of the songs could be extended a minute or two and would still fit snuggly into the format of the album. Even considering the typical length of records at the time, this clocks in at 40 minutes or so, a bit shy of the typical release. But those problems aside, most of the music here is just as breathy and atmospheric as any Brian Eno ambient work you will find.

The mood is typically very relaxed. Only the artists truly know what context these songs were supposed to be played in, but the titles hint at some theatrical situations that may or may not be fitting. Slow Water is a wonderful piece that whispers of a shimmering transparent flow. Another great one, Task Force, speaks musically of a late night city group who finds some excitement among the monotony. ‘There Is Nobody’ comes close to a flat out groove among the bleeps and bloops. The three part relaxing melancholy of Sparrowfall 1-3 are also very delightful and worth extended listens. But the two obvious winners are Quartz, a shimmering dreamer, and From The Same Hill, with it’s lovely acoustic guitar.

I guess I shouldn’t stress the fact that these pieces are relaxed so much as they are atmospheric. Alternative 3 is good, but surely disturbing. The idea here is what you would expect. It’s a collection of moody instrumental pieces that could easily be placed in movies. Considering the time in which it was made, this album is WAY ahead of it’s time and worth a listen if you are a fan of any other of Brian Eno’s ambient music. If you have heard his earlier pop or Another Green World and none of his later stuff, this might be a bit difficult if you are expecting any of the same, but it is still a great treasure box of mood pieces. Was it worth it for me? Probably not, as there are many other great Eno instrumental albums which I don’t have the pleasure of owning or even having heard, and it fetched a very high price that I was dumb enough to pay, but I am still happy with it because it is Brian Eno, and it’s really hard to go wrong with his art.

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Shuffle Time, Again

October 9, 2006

Hey, sorry about the missed update on Thursday again. It’s not that I’m running out of things to say so much as time to say it in. And beyond that, I am having difficulty finding things to review that haven’t already been acclaimed by everyone already. It’s not that I don’t want to review things like Oasis, Tool, or Liquid Tension Experiment. I’m just 90% sure that you don’t give a shit. And why should you? I don’t want to stray too far into the mainstream even though I am your typical mainstream whore. I just want to keep things a tad interesting.

Sonic Youth – Silver Rocket

Talk about a dream job. What non-jock guy wouldn’t want to be Thurston Moore? He’s around fifty now, and yet he’s still kicking, producing great records with his art punk band that not only revolutionized music, but can still kick out some good hooks and also features his lovely wife. Now that’s the life. I haven’t heard Rather Ripped yet but I’m told it’s pretty awesome. Daydream Nation, however, I have heard and it is an awesomely badass album not to mention revolutionary and extremely important on it’s own. Silver Rocket is actually a standout punk song of sorts, with a livid guitar squall in the forefront driving it all the way home. It’s no Teenage Riot, but holds it’s place as a fantastic short rocker.

Head Automatica – Broklyn Is Burning

Theres something awesome about this, but I don’t know what. It’s got a solid beat I guess, and the riff is nice, but that’s about it. It’s kind of sleazy rock, and if you are in the right mood for it, that’s good. I haven’t heard too much else by these guys nor do I really have a desire to. I believe they just recently came out with a new album. The guys voice really annoys me though, enough so that even if this is a half-decent song, I have absolutely no desire to get anywhere close to anything with these semi-emo vocals.

Stone Temple Pilots – Days Of The Week

This was one of STPs last hits off of Shangri – La Dee Da in, what, 02 or 03? Something like that. The album is rather difficult but if you give it a chance it could be considered better than No. 4, which is usually classified as a little better than Shangri. In any case, this is one of the bands better songs. But there are a few other good ones on that album… Bi-Polar Bear, Hollywood Bitch, even Coma. Theres good things to be found in the druggy mind of Scott Weiland, and it’s surprising enough that these good things are infectious straightforward pop. Purple was the height of that talent though, and after that things sort of went downhill, at least as far as albums go. The band still produced pop gold until the end, but just not consistantly as they did before.

Home – Smashing Pumpkins

This is one of the better tracks off of Machina II, the final album from our great friends Smashing Pumpkins. I’ve already ranted more than necessary in refference to their current situation, so I won’t do that. But this is a great song from a pretty underrated album. In my opinion, Machina II is miles over Machina/The Machines of God. For whatever reason, it is just much more inviting and comforting than it’s predecessor. For those of you who don’t know, the album was only released in hard copy form in extreme rarity in the form of four rare EPs (I think they may have all been vinyl, actually), but the gist of the whole thing was that the bands last album was encouraged to be shared on the internet for free. What a nice gesture. The only problem might be the production, and even then that might just be the version I have. I’m sure there is a higher quality version elsewhere on the web. Anyway, this is actually a standout track from an album that really shines and serves as a grand sendaway to SMP.

Led Zeppelin – Night Flight

As far as I’m concerned, Physical Graffiti was the last Led Zeppelin album that really mattered. Presence never did anything for me, nor did In Through The Out Door (although I guess In The Evening is a classic product of it’s time). I never even really liked Houses of The Holy that much either, but I would still say it’s a good album. Physical Graffiti, however, remustered the bands old energy and innovation and put out all the cards on the table. It was a big deal when it came out, surely. My mother even remembers the sign in the local mall above the entrance to the record store. “ITS NOT HERE YET.” That’s just how big they were. Half the album was new stuff and the other half old unreleased stuff. It’s hard to pinpoint which was which, but you can hear some of it having some newer eastern and even dance type stuff in it, while the other half is more vintage Led Zeppelin, consisting of more bluesy and pop stuff. This is one of the better tracks from that world. Great track from a great album.

Nirvana – Stain

Well, it was bound to happen. How many Nirvana songs do I have on my iPod anyway? Over two hundred easily. So one is bound to come up early in a shuffle. To be honest, there isn’t too much special about this song. There are some Nirvana songs I just don’t like. They are few and far between yes, and most of them are b-sides like this. It’s just generally an uninspired obnoxious rocker. And yet when I get to this whenever I listen to Incesticide, I won’t skip it. It’s got pretty good production and the solo is good. It’s got the punk attitude down, it just doesn’t follow through with it, and the lyrics are kind of tasteless. Not much else to say.

Porno For Pyros – 100 Ways

Theres something strange about Perry Ferrel…
Wait, I didn’t just fucking say that, did I?
EVERYTHING is strange about Perry Ferrel. He’s totally weird, but ingenious too. For some reason, not one of my friends likes Jane’s Addiction, and they seem to bring up the fact that they don’t like them at totally irrelevant times. I can’t understand that. Whatever. Porno For Pyros was the sort of follow up project to Jane’s Addiction featuring Perry as the main songwriter. They had two albums, and the approach was generally much more relaxed and mellow. This is a pretty good song, but there is something unnerving to hear him making something serious and contemplative instead of genuine angry punk like Mountain Song. I still like it though.

Elvis – Can’t Help Falling In Love

Here’s one from the King, maybe my favorite song from him. It’s just a beautiful love song. It’s a cover, like most all of Elvis’ songs, but we all know that Elvis didn’t really shine in his songwriting ability so much as his keen delivery. Everyone has to have a little Elvis, right? Right. Want a greatest hits? Go here and prepare to get sick.
http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:6qotk60x9kr0~T21
I myself find the vast number of movies he starred in more dependably hokie and interesting than I find his music ingenious or fantastic. He’s the man, theres no denying that.

Tool – Parabola

Tool disorients me. They are a great band, don’t get me wrong, but they have some obvious downfalls. One of which is their fanbase, which is about 7/8 complete and total ass wipes. Second is the fact that I personally find it tiring to listen to one of their albums all the way through. Their sophistication in the metal genre is off-putting to the casual listener too. Their sound is very tribal and often times filled with strange time signatures and progressive outings that people find difficult. I know I sure did, and it took me a long time to bring myself to like Lateralus. But it happened eventually, and this is probably one of the better songs off of the album, standing up there with The Grudge, Reflection, and Mantra (what can I say, I was never really one for Schism).

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dosed

The best song off of the bands best album, By The Way, easily. To be honest I’m not a big fan of the band, but they can pull off some great songs if they put their mind to it. I think the main reason why is Anthony Kiedis. I think the instrumentation of the band is utterly fantastic. But with his voice and lyrics… I find I can’t really take them too seriously anymore. Especially on Stadium Arcadium. There are so many great songs there just ruined by uninspired lyrics, but you have already heard my take on that album. Coincidentally, my friends mother recently saw Anthony Kiedis in an airport. Apparently there was some fuss in the ticket line with him, and he was a little flustered. Keep in mind that my friends mother is pretty much the biggest RHCP fan EVER. He was doing a little damage control I think, so he allowed a picture to be taken with her. Strangely enough, she saw the band on an airplane ten years earlier, before she was a fan. Weird coincidence.

Brian Eno – The Big Ship

Another Green World defined the electronic genre and what synthesizers could do in not only a pop context but in a lush instrumental. It’s easily one of the greatest albums ever made, truly a one of a kind piece. This is one of the instrumentals, which arguably make up the more interesting portion of the album. A very floaty and airy guitar fuzz wall is in the middle, with a piano like instrument augmenting the chords, a noteworthy beat supplementing the beauty, and an interesting synthesizer cut in the background (which if you listen closely enough, is in the same rhythm but not the same time as everything else). The image is what it sounds like. Think a traveller who has come all the way from a monastary in sixteenth century England, now arriving at a port with a big beautiful ship ready to take off to his next destination into the early morning sea.

The Jesus And Mary Chain – Dirty Water

This is the opener to the bands 1994 accoustic album Stoned And Dethroned. It’s really a very relaxing tune. The entire album is underrated I’d say, and it contains a lot of mellow almost country-ish chill tunes. Like Psychocandy, it’s got such a great number of songs that it should keep even the most avid Chain fans satisfied for a long time. To me, this is the more obvious choice for a single, way more obvious than Come On or Sometimes Always (with all due respect). This song reminds me of when I was on vacation in upstate New York when I was in Seventh grade. We stayed with some relatives, and we all went swimming in a pond one day. I didn’t really swim so much as put my feet in the water. I was still a little pampered back then, so I didn’t really want to jump into the dirty and cold water on that chill late summer morning. It wasn’t that big of a pond as far as diameter goes, but it was bordered by an extremely high cliff, at least a few hundred feet tall. I remember someone saying that the pond was probably at least as deep as the cliff was tall. That always stuck with me for some reason.