There have been two artists that have dominated my listening this month – Brian Eno and David Byrne/Talking Heads. In Eno’s case its because some generous crook has recently uploaded all of his albums onto YouTube. I had always avoided Eno’s ambient works, because you know, ambient music typically sucks. But putting on these albums for background music while I tap away on the computer has been a pleasant way to spend the work week. Because of the nature of the music it’s hard to pick a standout track, but the 16:30 track ‘1/1’ from ‘Music For Airports’ is the closest that ambient music has come to being stuck in my head after it’s finished.
Before he disappeared into the ambience genre, Eno delivered some great pop albums, and even though I’ve now discovered I don’t hate his later stuff, his first four pop albums are still my favourites. However, I differ from a lot of people (or at least critics) in that my two favourites are not ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ and the hyper-lauded ‘Another Green World’, but ‘Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)’ and my new favourite ‘Before And After Science’. From the moment I pressed the rectangle on my phone, and the beats of ‘No-One Receiving’ came tumbling out, I knew this was the Eno album for me. And I ended up buying this album, so in my case the generous crook has ended up raising Eno’s royalties.
Last week I bought another instalment from the excellent 33 1/3 series of books, this one being Jonathan Lethem’s ‘Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music’. This was because of Jonathan Lethem rather than ‘Fear Of Music’ (which was produced by Brian Eno, by the way), which I had never heard, but it gave me the chance to discover the album simultaneously with reading the book. I had heard the big ‘hits’ from the album – ‘Life During Wartime’, ‘Heaven’, and ‘Memories Can’t Wait’, but I also got to discover some other great songs, including ‘Drugs’, ‘Air’, ‘I Zimbra’, and best of all, ‘Mind’. For those who like both their reading and music to be on the intellectual side, I recommend both the book and the album.
4. My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (album) – Brian Eno and David ByrneTalking about books, David Byrne released a very good one last year called ‘How Music Works’, which was close to getting my ‘Book Of The Year’ nod. A particularly fascinating part is where he recounts the creation process around his collaboration with Eno – ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’. At one point, they conceived it as an album by an imaginary culture, and even though they abandoned that idea, you can still hear hints of it in the final mix. It was notable at the time for its samples of world music and preachers - there are a lot of similarities between this and Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’ album from a decade later.
Yes, it’s not Eno or Byrne, and I’m probably a month late in getting on to this one, but it’s my favourite track from the past month. With the fuzzy guitars and shout of ‘… SPACE!’ Foals officially out-Muse Muse.