Brian Eno & J. Peter Schwalm, Drawn From Life
More ambient noodling I hear you say. You say correct. And I’m lucky to have a partner with a keen eye for all things Eno to help me circumvent the personal embargo against cd-acquisition. If it’s a gift
then technically it’s a party campaign donation, innit? The thing with so much of ambient music is that, definition-wise, you could just as easily call it soundtrack music. Vaguely insinuating moods and atmospherics and drawn out soundscapes and strings: all the hallmarks of a soundtrack looking for a film. A drama with lots of roads and a cool heist or two. But take the music on its own and the usual demands for content and subject-context rise to the surface, which you well know I’ve no trouble ignoring (the demands). Ambient pleases itself alone, hence the often pratty implication for its creators. It ain’t hard core or pure music in the jazz sense of ability; it’s all felt and sculpted like a physical space. End curator-communication. J.Peter is the percussion and drum loops to Eno’s synth washes and tonal projections. There’s some really effective string work (if by 'effective' you think purely in terms of soundtracks) and some nice percussion here and there: bells, shakers, treated deep-mixed drums and surprisingly average loops. There’s a voice contribution by Laurie Anderson heavily processed by the vocoder — indeed the vocoder is the treatment of choice for this record — Brian’s Ringo voice even goes into high synthetic stretches. The synth and keyboard sounds are all half familiar if you’ve listened to a lot of Eno’s other records: snippets of similar sounds crop up all over the shop, as well as what I assume are some of his sturdy old DX7 programmes. And some familiar guitar tones. As well as his preference for vocal treatment and half-whispered suggestive-conceptual words — 'More dust… more skill… more dry… more give' etc. So if you like Passengers
you’ll interface with this stuff easily 'nuff, or Shutov
, the Music for Films
. Though this is decidedly calmer and stretchier, and the recording incredibly clear and spacious. There’s not much to hook or draw you in, but they are gorgeously calm and simple pieces. At times a little like futuristic boutique or installation music, it’s also er, great sexy music. I love the planes of music Brian works in.