Wednesday, September 12, 2007

369. Brian Eno - Before And After Science (1977)

Track Listing

1. No One Receiving
2. Backwater
3. Kurt's Rejoinder
4. Energy Fools The Magician
5. King's Lead Hat
6. Here He Comes
7. Julie With...
8. By This River
9. Through Hollow Lands
10. Spider And I


Here we start a new year, a great year full of interesting pop, punk and other music. This album definitely fits in "other". It is very hard for me to decide on a favourite Brian Eno album, I love them all so much, or at least the ones that are here on the list plus a couple, that I really don't know what my favourite is. This album probably does have the best balance of my favourite elements of Eno, it has the great mellow ambient music as well as his more outrageous pop.

On the realm of outrageous pop you have the amazing King's Lead Hat, a non-stop tribute to Talking Heads who he was producing at the time, on the other spectrum you have two amazing pop-ambient tracks in By This River and Spider And I. All these songs are perfection, but so is the rest of the album.

There is no failure here, there is no track beneath the level of genius and this is how you want your Eno. Doing something new and different but at the same time totally exhilarating. This album is probably the best introduction you can have to Eno, if you like the first half go get Here Come The Warm Jets or Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, if you like the second half get Discreet Music, Another Green World or Music For Airports and his other ambient compositions. The thing is Eno is an expert on both forms and it is a shame that this is his last album with actual lyrics until his most recent album which really isn't up to this standard.

Track Highlight

1. By This River
2. Spider And I
3. King's Lead Hat
4. Kurt's Rejoinder

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

* The song "Kurt's Rejoinder" features a sample of Dada artist Kurt Schwitters performing his Ursonate.

* "King's Lead Hat" is an anagram of Talking Heads, and the song is indeed a Talking Heads pastiche. Eno's intention was to record the song with members of the band but that could not be arranged. It was covered by Ultravox as a live B-side on the 12" version of their single "Passing Strangers" in 1980, and by The Dirtbombs as a limited-edition bonus track on their album Dangerous Magical Noise in 2003.

* "Through Hollow Lands" is dedicated to Harold Budd. Various internet sites, including Fred Frith's own discography page claim that co-musician 'Shirley Williams' on this track is a pseudonym of Robert Wyatt. In fact, Wyatt himself admitted to as much on 2003's BBC Radio 2 documentary "A Quantity of Stuff - The Brian Eno Story".

* The song "By This River" features in the Italian film The Son's Room and the Mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien.

* Martin Gore of Depeche Mode covered "By This River" in his solo album Counterfeit² in 2003.

* Supposedly 109 tracks were recorded for the album, the majority of which remain unheard.

By This River:


Anonymous said...

Freaky - I was just listening to this today for the first time in ages. Apart from being the first Eno album I ever bought, I love the way it covers nearly every aspect of his musical interests - abstract and angular, bubble gum pop, eclectic jazz, found sounds, beautiful melodies and pure ambience. A cohesive album and a sampler for nearly everything else he's done.

Francisco Silva said...


That's the great thing about it. It manages to be cohesive even tough it is a smorgasbord of Eno goodies.