Artwork by Brian Eno. Courtesy Warp. Used by permission. (Click for full-sized version. I like to get my eyeballs up against this one.)

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.

Eno book and two CDs for forty bucks? Yes, please. Photo courtesy Warp.

Bleep has your pre-order options.

Give the first track released a listen:

Brian Eno – glitch (taken from Drums Between The Bells) by Warp Records

More details:

The Guardian’s take

The poetry

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

in retrospect

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.

Read his posterous blog – evidently a new outlet for poetry. Follow him on Twitter (of course).

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.

  • Looking forward to this very much! Small Craft On A Milk Sea was a terrific record, and with this bonus instrumental CD, I can't wait to listen to this.

  • quantize

    Hate to sound like a 'I only like their old stuff' but I'm yet to hear anything that comes even vaguely close to Bush of Ghosts / Airports etc…Ok so maybe that's a product of when as much as what, but Small Craft was promising, but hardly 'terrific' in my books.

    Can we just take it easy with the hero worship? it never seems to actually help create great music.

    At least he's not singing through some dodgy autotune/vocoder, or whatever that nightmare from a few years ago was.

  • loopy

    I have to say I'm not too impressed with this track either. Nothing really special going on that made me go "wow".

    That said, I really do dig the artwork though.

  • Peter Kirn

    I would characterize what I hear in this track as being very much related to Bush of Ghosts: irregular, overlaid polyrhythms in dense configurations, a sort of wall of rhythmic sound, against cool, abstract vocals. Now, of course, the execution is very different, and so I can absolutely see enjoying the older music more than the former. But there's enough here to make me interested in the rest of the album.

    Hero worship? Mmmm, whatever. I'd say I get bubbly about plenty of people no one has ever heard of, so I'm not personally concerned about that. Honestly, the main thing is that all those details of execution to amount to taste, and you know, I don't expect anyone to agree, necessarily. You're certainly welcome to not like something, regardless of how famous a person is.

  • quantize

    'You’re certainly welcome to not like something, regardless of how famous a person is.'

    Whew, and here's me thinking I needed permission


  • Peter Kirn

    Right, but you should likewise be able to have musical heroes, too. I know I have heroes, some relatively obscure, some very, very non-obscure.

  • Nice. I hear some Bush of Ghosts in it. I also hear his 1992 release, Nerve Net.

  • ideletemyself

    Well how about a take on this from someone like myself who isn't all that familiar with Eno's solo works… I know all about Roxy Music and his production works but never got into his solo stuff for some reason, that will probably change now 🙂

    Anyways, I thought this track was pretty good. I mean I liked it just fine. It didn't blow my mind or anything but it DID make me want to listen to the rest of the album to see if it might then blow said mind…

    So take that for what it is… 😉

  • Zoopy

    God seriously? this track is god awful, to my ears anyways. 

  • long time heroes: eno, reich, roach
    recent heroes: dhafer youssef, shawn lane, rachel's

    is that diverse enough and current enough for me to still count eno as a bona-fide hero, with just enough worship as is justified by his past?

    "glitch" strikes me as the perfect material for one of eno's own remixes that would bring the energy level up to "nerve net" levels. as it is, it just makes me smile and wonder what the rest sounds like.

  • after science

    @ideletemyself WOW….I would be feeling so super lucky to be just discovering Taking tiger mountain by strategy, Before and after science, Another green world, Here come the warm jets….all the music for airports..In my opinion some of the most influential/groundbreaking work of the second half of the twentieth century.

  • CDM sure does feature a lot of WARP releases…

  • Jamsire Ernoir

    I like it! Got enough groove in it for tastes. Yay ha!

  • Meio

     I have to say that this and much of the rhythmically focussed work on 'Small Craft…' leaves me, err, bored. I'm definitely in the minority here as on the Sound Cloud page. 
    Maybe I've been listening to too much techno but this track sounds a little too much like a grandpa trying to keep up with the kids.
    Not meaning to sound like a hater though, as i really adore his ambient work. 

  • "glitch"





    two thousand eleven

    :://glitch:: //:: [] [] [] []

  • Peter Kirn

    I think this stuff is very different from Eno's work, so I can see people feeling that way.

    "Glitch" is the name of the poem, so it's really not so odd that this track would be called that. I mean, this site is called "Create Digital Music," which I had never intended and became anachronistic several months into the site – by which point, it was too late to change. I get why people are bothered by this, but jeez, look beyond the labels.

    I can't imagine why Warp releases would pop up regularly on CDM, alongside netlabels and Ghostly, for instance. I wonder why that'd be… 😉 

    Tell you what, here, *I'm* not presently signed to Warp, so – problem solved!

  • Peter Kirn

    At the risk of being accused of "hero worship," though, I think I'm not giving away any secrets by saying Eno, not Warp, is the reason this is here – apologies to Warp and Bleep, I do love y'all.

  • ifthenwhy

    Really, one of the greatest qualities about Eno, and the one that allows for his musical triumphs and failings, is that he just doesn't give a fuck about his audience

    And while I remain a steadfast believer that he has not come close to topping his work in the 70's, I always find it odd that fans lament that he's not doing stuff like "Green World" anymore.

    Like he even could?

    But here's a question that comes to mind. Does the immediacy, or ease, of contemporary electronic instruments allow for laziness, or curbed ambition?

    Face it. All the sounds in this track sound like they are "relatively" easy to get.  But from my understanding of how he made his 70's works, it sure looked like nothing came very easy. He worked terribly hard to make those records.

    So perhaps my greatest criticism of post 70's Eno, is that it dosent sound like he was working very hard?


  • Peter Kirn

    Well, and based on the fact that it's absolutely, totally clear that people can't agree about what makes music "good," it means we should all be careful not to care too much about our audience. 🙂 In fact, it probably means you need to piss some people off to make someone else really happy, rather than just make everyone equally unhappy.

    And if Eno (or Radiohead, see the other post) can get some hate, it means none of us should ever worry about it again.

    I think it's cool; I'm glad we don't all agree.

    @ifthenwhy: Possibly, but that doesn't mean I'm going back to punch cards. Sorry. A lot of musical instruments are pretty easy, too. I think it's okay. Not everything in life has to be hard.

  • I respect Eno's work, but…the question I have to ask myself is "would I listen/like/buy this if it wasn't Eno?" and the answer for me is…maybe. The very nature of ENO as a "brand" is that he does different things – "My Life" is distinct from "Airports" and I think he has his stages just like many artists (case in point, picasso's blue period). What that doesn't mean is that I have to like everything he does – really the record business has poisoned our minds to accept artistic consistancy…how else could they sell CDs to the "masses" if they don't offer up artists like some Micky D's menu item (imagine: next up, the Lady Gaga Dub Reggae album :-). We all know where that model got the Record Companies, so I hope that "public" attitudes will change.

  • ifthenwhy puts it pretty well. Like the honeybadger, Eno just don't give a fuck.
    Eno is an *artist*.

    that doesn't necessarily mean he's making kickassawesome music, but it definitely means he's using music to make asskickin' art.

    When I first listened to Small Craft … I was like "WTF?" this sounds like a half-assed casio keyboard demo from the 90's. But it was deeper than that. Deep like a cavern that you could just fall into if you let yourself.

    Took a few listens to appreciate it on a meta-level like that.
    And that's the genius of Eno. He paints the forest, not the trees (sometimes).

  • digid

    Horrible track, would anyone have noticed if it wasn't Eno who made it? But I guess I am old. Having spent much (MUCH) of the 90s listening to techno and electronica, it takes something special to stand out from the best of that area (I mean, how can this even compare to Autechre, Juan Atkins et al?) – not to mention something that stands out from the best of Eno from the 70s and 80s?

    Electronica seems to have become something of a convenience for some older/old-ish musicians, and not sure it's working to their advantage. I am even finding myself a bit annoyed by some of Radiohead's adventures into that world (as on King Of Limbs), and I am the biggest Radiohead fan in the world (kind of).

    Oh well. Can't be easy competing with your own past like that.

  • I certainly hear the thread connecting this to his earlier rhythmic work, much more than 'Small Craft' (which now after hearing this track I am enthused to revisit). 'Bush of Ghosts' has been so very influential on me musically, I hear a great potential for an updated (as in all electronica that happened after 'Bush') application of the tastes and sensibilities that only Eno can bring to a project.

    Oh, and if it wasn't Eno's name on it, yes…I would be very much interested in the track and who made it 😀

    The thing about Eno, you don't 'compare' him to someone else, he has always 'risen above his station' to be an individual voice in all his pursuits, not a competitor in something as narrow and superficial as 'genre', genre being mostly a convenience for people who write about music, not those who make it).

    Thanks for the feature Peter 😉

  • plurgid said: 'And that’s the genius of Eno. He paints the forest, not the trees (sometimes)."

    I like that, nice one plurgid 😉

  • Juno

    Sounds like he's worried about offending somebody by having a melody.

  • Zoopy

    I just think this sounds like really amateur bland boring electronic music with glitch fx presets slapped on it. 


  • @ Zoopy: I think you're exaggerating…. slightly

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