Eno - Another Green World - Review
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critics' view

If I had a cat, I'd name him Brian Eno. We'd have the most nonsensical adventures, perhaps involving catamarans and talking geese. He'd help me pick up women and I'd feed him kibble. Dog kibble, because if there's one thing I know about Brian Eno, it's that you've got to give the unexpected if you expect to get the unexpected. Furthermore, not only does one have to expect the unexpected, but one also must come to expect the expected because once you've got your guard down, what with all the expecting of the unexpected, Brian Eno will give you the expected, which is to say, the unexpected. It's really not so difficult to follow. Just go out today, tomorrow if you're feeling a little rushed, and buy Another Green World. You might hate it; I'm sure someone hates this album. But what will it hurt to try, huh? It's not like sixteen dollars is all that an outrageous price, all things considered. And even if you do hate it, you can return it and buy some hirsute-fetish porn or whatever tickles your fancy.

Right about now, it might be helpful to explain why you would want to buy Another Green World. What, the attractive detail of Tom Phillip's After Raphael on the cover isn't enticing enough for you? Pah! I spit at your ducks.

Another Green World is often regarded as Eno's masterpiece and I would say that it might as well be. If not his greatest album, then surely it's his most remarkable, an intricate blend of pop and experimental texture. One might also call it a transitory album, because it is the collection that bridges the gap between concept and execution. Another Green World is half instrumental, half lyrical pop, a preposterous little beast that stands upright, yet is not ready to walk into the great ambient beyond. And because of that, it falls somewhere between ambience and accessibility. The album consists of experiments Eno had been threatening to conduct since he started messing with tapes.

So he stopped threatening. The instrumentals on the album aspire to become exactly what each title suggests; "Sombre Reptiles" sounds of primordial beasts lounging in the arid desert sun, tongues flicking in lazy rhythms. The aches of an ancient vessel groan out from the bowels on the succinctly titled, "The Big Ship." Some extraterrestrial forest glows in dim evening light to the tune of "In Dark Trees," a moody number where the inhabitants of said forest prowl and stalk about in their own nocturnal glee. On Another Green World, Eno takes song craft to a literal meaning, forging music as a sculptor might mold clay into iconic representation. The result is other worldly for certain, built on serenity, harmony and calm.

About the only exception to that calm is the album opener, "Sky Saw," which as you might guess, sounds like the filament being torn in two. John Cale lends his viola to help with the sky molestation and also guests on "Golden Hours," a gurgling 'conventional' song. Eno calls on another familiar friend, Robert Fripp, for some frantic guitar solos on the same track. Fripp's shining moment, however, comes on the wonderful "St. Elmo's Fire," where he explodes into schizophrenic shredding over the clicky percussion. Even in among Eno's greatest songs, "St. Elmo's Fire" is a standout.

I'll Come Running proves to be the most conventional of all the songs and a love song to boot. Eno declares, "I'll come running to tie your shoes," as proof of his devotion. Paul Rudolph's fuzzy bass lines accent the jangling piano-plus-castanet onslaught, and Fripp adds some slightly more restrained licks this time around. The final song with vocals is "Everything Merges With the Night," a collection of bass, guitar and piano set to disintegrate. It's the perfect lead-in to the final track, "Spirits Drifting," the swirling instrumental that might as well be the signpost saying, "This way to Discreet Music, Music for Films and Music for Airports."

Oh! I forgot to tell you why I would name my cat Brian Eno. For starters, Brian is a good name for any household pet. I'm sure Seth MacFarlane would agree. I think it works especially well with dogs and fish, but it'll do in a pinch for cats. Furthermore, cats, like Brian Eno, always land on their feet. Whether he's producing, singing, doing ambient, playing pinochle, making pop songs or creating three second start-up sounds for computer operating systems, Brian Eno always comes out smelling like roses. Don't forget that. Lastly, I was stuck and I couldn't think of any other way to start this review. Bye!

Robert Crumb
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