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18 July 2013

Eno - 'Another Green World' (Island)

I think this was the first Eno record I heard, and I came from the ambient side, not the Roxy Music side. Another Green World was perfect - it was a mix of instrumentals that were futuristic, yet organic; heavily studio-based, yet didn't sound like music made by computers; and a few pop songs that were just so perfect that it didn't need any more singing. Years later I feel mostly the same way about it. 'I'll Come Running' feels a bit too rock-based to fit, though it's a great song; otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. What's funny is that for a record I think of as "half-ambient", it's surprisingly punchy throughout. The electroacoustic processing of the various guitars, keyboards, and drums don't shy away from sharp edges - 'Sky Saw', the opening cut, is aptly named. But the world painted here isn't so much a science-fiction vision as it's an alternate reality, rooted in an ethereal surrealism. This is truly music for the techno-hippies of today, for people who are into organic farming but use Twitter to talk about it. And yet, it was made 38 years ago. There's a few bonafide classics here, mostly 'St. Elmo's Fire', which is almost like a "benchmark" song you can play for someone to see if they are a good person or not. (If they like it, they're cool; if not, find better friends). Fripp's solo there is somehow the wankiest-Yngvie thing ever, yet doesn't feel gratuitous. Certain sounds on here, such as the pulsing organs of 'Golden Hours', are now inseparable in my mind from their placement in some of Peter Greenaway's early films, and The Falls in particular, which is about as cinematically precise of a depiction of 'Another Green World' as is possible. I know I just finished writing about how Taking Tiger Mountain was such a landmark record to me, but this would be the one I'd probably have to choose as Eno's most total and complete statement.

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