Packed tightly with interlaced rhythms, set against crisp cool intoned lyrics, the first cut of Brian Eno’s forthcoming “Drums Between the Bells” from Warp can give us all reason to look forward to the summer.
Mr. Eno has been on something of a roll lately. We’ve certainly gone through periods when he wasn’s necessarily in command of electronic headlines in music, even as he contributed in other ways – the 90s brought pioneering work in generative music software and the infamous sound set for Windows, for instance. Now, he’s had back-to-back major releases in recent years.
2008: Spore (the videogame, the soundtrack for which may have overshadowed the actual game title), Everything That Happens Will Happen Today with David Byrne
2009: New live work, score for Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones
2010: Small Craft on a Milk Sea with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams
And now we know what’s coming for summer 2011: Warp Records, July 5, a full-length with Rick Holland entitled “Drums Between the Bells”
The stunning cover image, as much alien patchwork quilt as glitch, is Eno’s own creation. You can preorder vinyl with high-resolution digital for just $21, but $39 gets you the hardback two-CD set with instrumental versions of the tracks (perfect for a late-night painting session when you don’t want to be distracted with poetry), plus a forty-four page book. Typically, such books are superfluous to the musical experience, but here, with Eno himself as accomplished in visual media as musical, they’re almost a no-brainer.
Give the first track released a listen:
So, who’s this Rick Holland, anyway?
It’s perhaps best answered with his words, which to me sound unaccompanied as though they already have Eno music behind them – the forward-moving staccato cadence, the interwoven reflections of a modern electronic age, the unassuming zen echoes, the amiable ambience of the thing. Here’s his Orange Notebook Philosophy, from his blog:
flutter eyelids against the pillow
flashes behind the eyes
the sounds are computer processors
the mind reflects on itself
on what it can simulate
and it becomes that thing
the imagining becomes event
and event leads to event
so the imagining becomes
equally an event. The computer processor
flutters and electric outbursts
merge data with data
and en route
creates florettes of accidental light
enough to capture the path of animated thought
and divert to a place at once utterly surprising and real within us.
He is mindful of the world around him, but he’s no elitist: he pits the Marquis de Sade against Sasha Fierce.
Rick is musician as well as poet, just as Eno is artist as well as musician, and has various collaborations around London, it seems. Like many of Eno’s collaborations, this one is long-standing, dating to 2002.
And as with Eno’s other recent releases, Eno has a talent for finding other resonant minds to present.