Saturday, December 24, 2011


...and so it is that we reach the end of this series of Brian Eno posts, culminating with his 1977 album 'Before And After Science'.
It's been an epic trek, mostly uphill, but this is IT. No more. I can move on to writing bollocks about massively overlooked bands from New Zealand and how much I fucking LOVE Adventure Time With Finn And Jake. Or something.

Ironically this record also had as prolonged a gestation period as my posts, as Eno had begun moving into new musical territory after 'Another Green World' and had a great deal of difficulty in assembling the songs that would end up here. 'Before And After Science' would end up being the last overtly song-based record that Eno produced under his own name for quite some time.

1977 was also the year that Eno worked with Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, aka Cluster - begatting the superb 'Eno & Cluster' LP - and worked with David Bowie again, on the second album in his 'Berlin trilogy'- 'Heroes' - as well as making repeated overtures to Talking Heads, a band whom he had fallen in love with during their UK tour with The Ramones.

Exactly how much he wanted to work with Talking Heads is made quite clear on one album track here, entitled Kings Lead Hat, a fairly bloody obvious anagram of the bands name...

...something that worked out nicely for Eno, as he ended up producing their next three records and making a rather splendid li'l record with Heads mainman David Byrne entitled 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts', all four of which are amongst some of my favourite records of all time ('Fear Of Music' in particular)

The usual array of guests helped Eno to finally realise his vision here, after several false starts - the previously mentioned Roedelius and Moebius, Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith, Can drummer and Krautrock legend Jaki Liebezeit, bassist Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole and his Quiet Sun bandmate Phil Manzanera, the ubiquitous Robert Fripp, Free drummer Andy Fraser, the ever-execrable Phil Collins and Brand X buddy Percy Jones, again, and the disembodied voice of deceased Dadaist Kurt Schwitters (on the track 'Schwitters Rejoinder' natch).

Musically, the album is split between the more upbeat, jagged sounds of the first half and the more intimate, pastoral tones of the latter, yet still manages to remain coherent and, to me, utterly gripping. I also appreciate the inherent Englishness of the line "Ooh what to do, not a sausage to do" in the bouncy 'Backwater'. Yes, we really DO say things like that. Well, I do, anyway.

Now, for MY money, the centrepiece of 'Before And After Science' is the achingly beautiful 'Julie With...', as languid and lunar a song as any you could hope to hear.

...isn't that just gorgeous?

This really is a beautiful album, tonally, and one of my favourite Eno records. I hope those of you who haven't heard it before give it a listen and enjoy it as much as I do. So, get it here and dig in.

...also, as a special treat because I've kept you waiting for so long, I've put together a package of Eno's non-album tracks - including a couple of singles and a BBC session featuring re-interpretations of tracks from 'Here Come The Warm Jets', an embryonic version of 'I'll Come Running' from 'Another Green World' and a Peggy Lee cover - which you can get here.

I've also decided to throw in a copy of The Winkies self-titled 1975 album in which they re-use the musical backing track to their version of 'The Paw-Paw Negro Blowtorch' and re-title it 'Trust In Dick', with rockin' power-pop results, just....because.

Shame about the cover though. Mind you, it does give you an idea where they got their name from....

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