Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells – review

(Warp)

In David Byrne's tour film, Ride, Rise, Roar, Brian Eno admits he doesn't really like lyrics, and in the accompanying notes for this second Warp album in only a few months, he admits the "liberation" of realising that a song needn't involve singing. Hence this album of musical speech, which involves Eno sculpting music around voices he likes, from poet Rick Holland, to a woman he met on the street near the studio, and a lady from the local health club. Although this sounds as if he is taking the mickey, the results are often rather highbrow. Glitch's motorik electronics and Seedpods' airy grooves are compelling, but at times it feels as if Eno is stubbornly working against himself. The beautiful melodies of Pour It Out and Dreambirds are crying out not for wordy narratives about how "hemoglobin modules exist as 20 million models", but those yearning, dreamlike vocals from albums like 1977's Before and After Science, when he did that frightful lyric-writing and singing stuff immeasurably well.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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