Listening

Brian Eno — Reflection

David Bowie was, to me, my Dylan. He was one of the few artists I always felt I could spend more time with and nev­er spent enough. When he died last year, I wres­tled with how to mourn him.

Short­ly there­after, I must’ve been watch­ing the doc­u­men­tary 5 Years that I learned how Bowie adored Eno’s Dis­creet Music, a record that I’d enjoyed but hadn’t devot­ed myself to in any mean­ing­ful way. I must’ve lis­tened to it night­ly for weeks, if not months, while putting the boys to bed, let­ting the open­ing track 1/1 envel­op me in the dark­ness.

Imag­ine my sur­prise when I opened my music app to dis­cov­er Bri­an Eno has released Reflec­tion, an hour of ambi­ent music, informed by his ear­li­er work and equal­ly sat­is­fy­ing.

More inter­est­ing is how Eno refers to it as gen­er­a­tive music. Bob Boilen men­tioned on All Songs Con­sid­ered that for $40, you can pur­chase an app that iter­ates the sounds from Reflec­tion in unique new ways and, thanks to an algo­rithm, with­out repeat­ing. I plan to spend as much time or more with this music in 2017 as I did mourn­ing Bowie last year.

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Reading

Geeta Dayal’s Another Green World

I think I speak for every­one when I say that Geeta’s take on Bri­an Eno’s Anoth­er Green World for the 33 1/3 series was hot­ly antic­i­pat­ed. I can think of few titles in the series that gen­er­at­ed as much excite­ment from the time her pitch was accept­ed to pub­li­ca­tion. Those who wait­ed will be rich­ly reward­ed by her insight­ful look into Eno and his approach to record­ing his land­mark album, Anoth­er Green World.

Gee­ta avoids the land­mines that sur­round a work like this. She brought her A game when it came to research­ing this book, dig­ging up cool quotes and get­ting great input from the peo­ple who helped Eno make this record. She doesn’t fetishize Eno’s genius; rather, she inves­ti­gates his meth­ods to demys­ti­fy the way in which Eno made the album. For any­one who’s been intim­i­dat­ed by Bri­an Eno as a mono­lith, this is a great way to get into his work, and the book offers a glimpse into his approach to his lat­er ambi­ent works that makes them much more acces­si­ble.

For a book series that can be pret­ty hit or miss, Geeta’s take on Anoth­er Green World sets the bar high for oth­er authors who want to dis­sect an album they love. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Gee­ta! It was well worth the wait.

Buy it from Ama­zon for just $7.88!

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