Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland

Brian Eno's new album, Drums between the bells, his second on Warp, came out last month. In fact, it's a collaboration with poet Rick Holland. I've just heard a few tracks from it on a sampler, but one tune in particular has really stuck with me. It's a beautiful slice of drifting guitar and synth kosmische, with a straight-faced female spoken word monologue, describing the view, in a sort of impressionistic fashion, from the top of a skyscraper in New York - "from the top of this high rise, people as small as the pigment in your eyes." It's surprisingly romantic given the delivery, with a dizzy, swooning quality to the arrangement.

Brian Eno - pour it out (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

I don't know who's responsible for the vocal but the delivery reminds me a lot of Berit Immig from Berlin-based band Omo. They released one of my favourite albums of the last few years in 2009, The white album on LoAF. Many of the tracks on that album explore that same kind of contrast between a deadpan vocal and expressive backing track.

By the way, there's also some interesting writing on Eno's website, what's being called a dialogue between Eno and Holland. Expect opinions on modern art, interaction between words and music, philosophy of culture, among others. I particularly like this one-liner from Eno -

Your life is filled with gadgets because you can afford them
(Rule: every object takes up your time. Ask yourself what it gives you in return)

That's up there with Eno's Oblique Strategies. Read more here.


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