The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages


Reviewed by Michael Chamy, August 20, 2004, Music

Brian Eno

Here Come the Warm Jets (Virgin/Astralwerks)

Brian Eno

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (Virgin/Astralwerks)

Brian Eno

Another Green World (Virgin/Astralwerks)

Brian Eno

Before and After Science (Virgin/Astralwerks)

One night in 1975, Brian Eno, recovering from a car crash, woke up in his hospital bed with the idea of "ambient music." In that moment, Roxy Music's snazzy glam rocker was instantly transformed into the meditative sound guru who made Music for Airports. Another Green World, one of four beautifully packaged reissues without bonus tracks, is the first LP after Eno's revelation and sparkles with the many colors missing from this black-and-white event. It remains the one album in a diverse canon that melds all sides of the enigmatic Britpop perfectionist, sound-art pioneer, and super producer. Flanked by guitarist Robert Fripp, drummer Phil Collins, and other era art-rockers like John Cale, Eno shaped Another Green World into an abstract collection of shifty, ethereal mood pieces that commingle with the pure pop perfection of tracks like "St. Elmo's Fire" and "I'll Come Running." Eno's solo debut, '74's Here Come the Warm Jets, is the clarion call, opening with glam rock masterpiece/Velvet Goldmine staple "Needles in the Camel's Eye" before descending into a world of layered art-pop inspired equally by classic rock and avant-garde composer John Cage. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), from the same year, furthered Eno's mastery of sideways, impressionistic pop and is a fine forum for a wonderful voice often overshadowed by so many other musical talents. After Another Green World and other immersions into ambience, Eno returned to bouncy pop for 1977's Before and After Science, the presence of German art-rockers from Can and Cluster notwithstanding. Candied plastic funk and razor-sharp melodies presage the forthcoming synth-pop wave, yet the album's second half is the real winner. Patient and melodically focused, these are sublime ballads thick with mood, atmosphere, and that indescribable ambience that makes Eno the one-of-a-kind wizard that he is.

(Another Green World) ****

(Here Come the Warm Jets; Before & After Science) ***.5

(Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)) ***

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