Album: Brian Eno

Another Day on Earth, OPAL/HANNIBAL
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The Independent Culture

It's been a while since Eno applied himself to songs rather than instrumentals - 15 years, in fact, since Wrong Way Up with John Cale. This CD is still highly informed by his work with ambient/trance music, only the opening track "This" resembling a mainstream pop groove, its twitchy techno embellished with cascades of African-style guitar, as Eno ponders his place in the world via a list of emotional locators, starting with possessions and becoming more abstract: "This/ What I thought I knew/ This/ What I thought was true". Most of the other pieces seem to float above the world, shimmering heat-haze trance textures within which his voice is sometimes treated to sound a bit like a dalek ("Passing Over"), or a ghostly vocoder whisper ("And Then So Clear"). Nudged gently along on a susurrus of cymbals, several songs sound like the Australian minimalist chilled-jazz trio The Necks, but with vocals: there's the same sense of unhurried, involuntary drift about Eno's planetary overview, realised within a structural framework whose affinity to Laurie Anderson's work is affirmed by the echoing ululations of the closing "Bonebomb". For all that, it's never less than interesting, with melodies that refuse to badger the listener but entice almost subliminally.