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Brian Eno - Drums Between the Bells

  by Lisa Torem

published: 8 / 7 / 2011

Brian Eno - Drums Between the Bells
Label: Warp Records
Format: CD


Visionary latest album from Brian Eno, which finds him working with poet Rick Holland and takes its inspiration from multimedia

British artist, composer and conceptualist, Brian Eno, was so fascinated by the imagery of the Sao Paulo forest and city scenes, that he synched up his photographs with his newest recording, ‘Drums Between The Bells.’ In addition, Eno collaborated with poet Rick Holland, with whom he had first worked in the late 90s, on the “Map-Making project” which included student work from four British colleges, the National Youth Orchestra and the English Ballet. They began working seriously together in 2003, but it was not until 2011 that their work got finished and resulted in this captivating masterstroke. Earlier in the year, Eno launched his generative art installation, ’77 Million Paintings’ at Calgary’s 25th annual High Performance Rodeo, in celebration of visual music. He described this project as a “multi-media installation that utilizes shifting imagescapes and ambient sounds.” At that event, he also lectured on time, art, culture and creativity. What you should know before listening to this new album, or possibly any of Eno’s work, is that his vision seems to be as important as the ambient sounds, spoken word, glitches and bleeps that have become his hallmark. Also, judging by tracks such as, ‘2 Forms of Anger’ which appeared in his Warp Record debut, Eno has, since that time, become determined to add deeper substance to his unusual compositions. To that end, the addition of Holland means that Eno’s sometimes-indistinguishable works receive greater, creative recognition, and, as Holland is the poet, but not necessarily the orator, a number of people participate in the tracks, including the two men. The changing timber of the seven, spoken word talents provides a narrative framework for man, exhilarating moments. ‘bless this space’ starts the journey, and is narrated by Eno. Then, Grazyna Goworek’s voice is electronically altered and almost robotic sounding in ‘glitch.’ Nevertheless, it is pleasantly set against African drumming. “There’s a chip in the ceiling” is how ‘dreambirds’ begins. Soft, piano chords diminish and in its place, hypnotic and lush movement occurs. ‘Pour it out’ has a more tranquil, sonic landscape, though it embraces provocative imagery. “Molecules rearrange just enough to let dreams through…” That is definitely patter that fuses the scientific/creative mind. ‘seedpods’ suggests that “all over London, the flicker of seedpods against passing buses – seeds, sounds…” well, your imagination will have to assist you in gathering your thoughts on this one, though, I feel that the pulses and poetry drone palpably in unison. ‘the real’ considers: “what you see is what seems.” It is an existential voyage in which sounds deepen and evaporate, begin and recapitulate, shimmer and melt away; flickering like a star, brightening and diminishing. “the airman” inhales further. Against the line, “I will see what the airman saw…” a type of limitless stratosphere is created. Aylie Cook’s pleasing intonation fuels poignant observations. Eno and Holland unite in ‘fierce aisles of light.’ ‘As if your eyes were partly closed, as if you honed the swirl within them and offered me the world’ offers up a light touch, as kinesthetic as flakes of newly fallen snow wetting your bare palm. Another, think piece, ‘a title’ is just that. “Life doesn’t start with a title. We are water and return there.” ‘sounds alien’ instills the vigor of shuffling rhythm, and the blend of male/female vocals. The most comical lyrics win out in ‘dow.’- “Tokyo by day/Stock exchange by night” and “Money in the mix/You pick up sticks.“ Mltimedia’ simmers in imagery:“the earth is dust”and "the groans of pipe through rock and wind”, spoken again, by Aylie Cook. The final track, ‘breath of crows’ is ethereal, haunting and melancholy. The Rick Holland and Brian Eno merger results in a unique collaboration which covers many artistic bases in a fresh, invigorating way.

Track Listing:-
1 Bless This Space
2 Glitch
3 Dreambirds
4 Pour It Out
5 Seedpods
6 The Real
7 The Airman
8 Fierce Aisles Of Light
9 As If Your Eyes Were Partly Closed
10 A Title
11 Sounds Alien
12 Dow
13 Multimedia
14 Cloud 4
15 Silence
16 Breath Of Crows

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Poet and lyricist Rick Holland speaks to Lisa Torem about his collaboration with Brian Eno on his latest album, 'Drums Between the Bells'


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