On April 29th The Ship arrives – a new 47 minutes long journey from the ambient- and electronic music pioneer Brian Eno. The album is a natural consequence of the experimental installations that Eno has been touring with for the past year. Touring through Nau, Nave and now Switzerland Eno´s is clearly following a contemporary visulization and musical journey featuring airly soundscapes and stressed vocals. “The Ship”, Brian Eno’s new sound installation, questions the relationship between environment and musical composition. Highlighted by a set of electric candles, several loudspeakers placed on monolithic structures provide a visual counterpoint to the soft ambient glow, while sound and light create a powerful yet intimate atmosphere that imbues the entire venue.
“On a musical level, I wanted to make a record of songs that didn’t rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape. I wanted to place sonic events in a free, open space.”, says Eno.
The Ship is staged around an exploration of the horrors of World War I paired with the tragedy of Titanic in the icy Atlantic ocean. Or as Eno puts it heimself:
“One of the starting points was my fascination with the First World War, that extraordinary transcultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires. It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man’s greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, ‘over by Christmas’, set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves. I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter.”
Of “The Hour Is Thin”: “The poem read by Peter Serafinowicz was created by a Markov Chain Generator (software written by Peter Chilvers) into which we fed accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, some First World War soldiers’ songs, various bits of cyberbureaucracy and warnings about hacking, some songs of mine, some descriptions of machinery, and so on. The Generator produced thousands of lines of text from which I extracted a few and then put them into this order.”
The third track on the album is a cover of the classic song by Velvet Underground “I´m set free”. Just like many of their songs, including “Pale Blue Eyes”, “Some Kinda Love”, and “Jesus”, it largely features more subtle and restrained sounds with reflective, melodic songs that are about various forms of love. Or as Eno puts it; “Written in the late sixties, Lou Reed’s song ‘I’m Set Free’ seems even more relevant now than it did then. Perhaps anybody who’s read Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens will recognise the quiet irony of ‘I’m set free to find a new illusion’… and its implication that when we step out of our story we don’t step into ‘the truth’ – whatever that might be – but into another story.”
Multi-occupied Eno is of course not sitting down in awaiting the new album to be released cuurently Shakespeare appears to be all on top of his mind right now. In the show Golden Hours, featuring tracks from Eno’s Another Green World and choreography by De Keersmaeker, the playwright’s lines are danced rather than spoken. Inspired by the classic comedy As You Like It and featuring excerpts from Brian Eno’s Another Green World, contemporary dance icon Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker replaces Shakespeare’s dialogue with dance to convey characterisation and drama in this radical new creation. The dancers are challenged to embody the meaning behind the words, and through idiosyncratic movements express themselves with a rich, colourful and energetic palette. A gently ironic world is created full of masquerades and games of seduction, with themes of attraction, repulsion, misunderstanding and silliness, where language doesn’t need deciphering to be understood. A complete feature of this can be found in the Guardian.
About the album:
(i) Fickle Sun
(ii) The Hour Is Thin
(iii) I’m Set Free
Raul Regalado adds: iTunes Japan lists a bonus track called “Away”.
The album is available in a variety of formats:
Collector’s Edition CD – CD, 8-page booklet and 4 art cards in case bound CD wallet with spot gloss UV and cloth-bound spine
CD – CD and 8-page booklet in wallet
LP – 2xLP in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints
Coloured vinyl LP – Limited Edition 2xLP on transparent vinyl in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints
About Brian Eno
Brian Eno was born in 1948 in London, where he still lives and works. The artist has not only had a great career as musician, composer and producer, but he is also a renowned plastic artist. His works has been exhibited in prestigious venues around the world.
A graduate of the Ipswich School of Art, Brian Eno shows from early on a tendency to experiment, trying to move away from the inherent constraints of certain medias, using different forms of creation. Uncontested pioneer of ambient music, the artist broadens his aesthetic vocabulary and at the end of the 70’s takes an interest in the plastic arts, producing ambient movies such asMistaken Memories of Medieval Manhattan (1980) and Thursday Afternoon(1984). Continuing his experiences for 30 years, he collaborates with artists such as George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Mimmo Paladino and James Putnam, by trying his hand at generative art with works such as 77 Million Paintings (2006).
UPDATE ON MARCH 31st 2016
Listen to the new Eno track on Spotify below: