Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Brian Eno 20: Drums Between The Bells

Suddenly busy, Brian Eno hooked up with another collaborator out of nowhere, this time English poet Rick Holland. Drums Between The Bells was billed to “Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland”, and that’s exactly what it is—Eno music with abstract minimalist poetry recited over it, usually by a female, sometimes by himself.
Poetry readings aren’t for everyone, but then again, neither is Eno. Personally, we’d rather do without the voices, since some of the music is so nice, and some of it very familiar. “Dreambirds” and “Pour It Out” are particularly lovely piano-based pieces, and “The Real” meshes Apollo with the backwards pianos of side two of Low. “Sounds Alien” features Eno harmonizing with what a woman is reciting, but then there’s a horn break right out of an ‘80s TV cop drama. “Cloud 4” and the spooky “Breath Of Crows” involve more musical vocals as well. Leo Abrahams adds a distorted guitar to the opening “Bless This Place”, and Eno stalwart Nell Catchpole does her violin thing here and there.
The initial pressing was made available in book-like packaging that included a bonus disc of the music in a different sequence and without voices, but it cost more, naturally. A few months later, the Panic Of Looking EP presented another six tracks from the same sessions. One track, “Watch A Single Swallow In A Thermal Sky, And Try To Fit Its Motion, Or Figure Why It Flies”, is purely instrumental with treated piano. Outside of that, one cameo from his daughter and another from Bronagh Gallagher (best known from The Commitments and Pulp Fiction) it’s only for completists.

Brian Eno and Rick Holland Drums Between The Bells (2011)—3
Brian Eno and Rick Holland
Panic Of Looking (2011)—3

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