Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brian Eno 13: Another Day On Earth

In between high-profile production jobs for U2 and James, among others, Eno released the occasional album around the turn of the century. Most were ambient in the purest sense of the word, in that they were designed to accompany art installations, and not be overly concerned with things like melody or chord changes. Of these, only Nerve Net had songs on it, and they weren’t very exciting.
The arrival of Another Day On Earth, however, was exciting, since he actually had songs with words to them. While it’s closer to the general sound of Wrong Way Up than anything in the “first four”, it was easy to ignore the previous fifteen years of silence.
Beginning with exactly the type of rhythm box he’d used for composition, “This” is repetitive yet melodic, while “And Then So Clear” and “A Long Way Down” continue the gentle approach, the former with a processed vocal in an artificially high register, and the latter more spoken. (Speaking of which, he gives over “Going Unconscious” and the closing “Bone Bomb”—something of an anti-war statement?—to the dulcet coos of a woman, while his synth burble underneath.)
“Caught Between” is fairly adventurous vocally, showing the grasp of harmony he’d picked over the years. It even has some guitar straight out of Another Green World. “Passing Over” comes close to being spooky, and luckily the mood is lightened by “How Many Worlds”, its chamber-like backing decorated by several violins. “Bottomliners” is full of impressionistic lyrics designed to excite the imaginations of Enophiles everywhere.
By the time “Just Another Day” comes along, many of the songs have started to resemble one another, but it’s still a nice summation of the best elements of the album. “Under” continues the mood, oddly enough as it’s a re-recording of a track from My Squelchy Life, previously released on one of his box sets.
Another Day On Earth wasn’t about to set the world on fire, but again, for Eno fans, it was great to have something to add the pile that wasn’t strictly digital wallpaper. He’d go further back into the future a few years later on a reunion with David Byrne, collaborate with other esoteric people and continue to work with U2, determined as ever to find his own way.

Brian Eno Another Day On Earth (2005)—

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