Monday, November 23, 2009

Brian Eno 6: Before And After Science

Eno took a long time to release a proper follow-up to Another Green World, but that’s not to say he wasn’t busy, as evidenced by his various collaborations, as well as Discreet Music. He gained more mainstream notice by appearing heavily on two David Bowie albums within a year’s space, and some of that influence shows up on Before And After Science. Supposedly culled from sessions producing over a hundred compositions, these ten songs run a gamut of styles while conveying a cohesive mood.

Side one is almost funky, beginning with the bass-heavy “No One Receiving” and pulling out the synths for “Backwater”. “Kurt’s Rejoinder” comes at a fast pace, and we finally get a Green World-style respite with “Energy Fools The Magician”. “King’s Lead Hat”, besides being incredibly catchy, is an anagram for a band he’d soon spend several albums producing.

Side two begins with another pop song, the gentler and extremely melodic “Here He Comes”. And from here, Eno paints an aural picture of a wide, open seascape that’s as calming as it is mysterious. “Julie With…” is a moving snapshot that still raises debate over what’s actually taken place, built over slow minor chords and ending with a melancholy guitar solo. “By This River” saddens the mood even more, with an almost child-like piano part carrying through courtesy of his new friends, the German duo Cluster. (More on them later.) “Through Hollow Lands” follows its counterpart on the first side with another instrumental, this one dedicated to minimalist pianist Harold Budd. (More on him later, too.) And just like the credits for a science fiction movie about friendly aliens, “Spider And I” fades in and out on a wish and a dream.

It’s the second side that makes Before And After Science a truly grand finale for such a busy period. Eno’s first four “rock” albums are a complete entity, complementing each other so well that to enjoy one is to enjoy them all together. And while he had more albums up his sleeve, it would be a long time before we’d hear him sing again.

Brian Eno Before And After Science (1977)—4

No comments:

Post a Comment