on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2014 14 Dez

versions of yearning, danger & uncertainty

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 5 Comments

„He raised the stake
And broke the soil
And phrased the stroke
That takes the oil
And stoked, erased and foiled the lake
And smoked and boiled the grazing snake
The roil, the choke, the cakes of praise
The spoils that break now cloak the days
That wake the coil of blazing coke
The flaking glaze of Royalty broke
He raises, stakes, admires, stokes
The flowery blaze, the fiery pokes“


E. E. Cummings would have loved these verses. Time travel activities: four Eno albums (from the 90’s) have now been be re-released as “expanded” editions that really deserve that word. Anyone out there who loves surreal heartfelt experimental rhythmical wild music from the outer fields of so-called electronic multicoloured post-fusion anti-math-rock who has never heard NERVE NET? Among its admirers Heiner Goebbels and Eivind Aarset. Call yourself happy! You are about to discover something!

Get your hands on NERVE NET and MY SQUELCHY LIFE on one double cd. A „double killer“ of sorts,  with Eno often working in expressionist mode. Might kick a hole in the cosmos for you, these expeditions with all their connections to ancient cave painting, atheist space prayers, fractal zooms and profound post-dadaism.

Imagine sitting in the “Jardin du Luxembourg” in Paris on a cold December day  listening to these two albums: strange faces around you, lonesome benches. Early winter euphoria. Snow falling. And for ambient music lovers: NEROLI and THE SHUTOV ASSEMBLY will do the trick and spread their wings around you. Mhm, this sounds too poetic, but it’s not easy to avoid the thing with the “immersive experience” here.



„Eno described parts of Nerve Net as “a new kind of dissonant dance music”, but stated in a 1990 interview with Michael Engelbrecht that some of it (for instance the track Juju Space Jazz) was inspired by and expressed a similar sort of feeling to The Shutov Assembly: The Shutov Assembly reflected “the out-of-town version of it, the outside-the-city-limits version of danger” while the other conveyed the “in-the-city-kind of feeling, but also not sweet and not reassuring” (excerpt of Hans Rollman’s review of the whole re-release package in „popmatters“) P.S. „Nerve Net“  and „The Shutov Assembly“ will be part of the „Radionacht Klanghorizonte“ on Dec. 20th at the Deutschlandfunk ( for live stream desires).

Some more background stories: MY SQUELCHY LIFE should have been released in the late summer/early autumn of 1992 (or 91). I remember Brian phoning me one summer day and playing a track to me regretting I might not get the bass line because of the frequency range of telephones. But it was fun to listen to a new Eno piece on an old phone.

Not much later he wrote me a quite long letter about Warner postponing the release because of a Prince or some other superstar record. Or some other things being part of major company politics. He was so upset about this that he withdrew the album, and part of the anger influenced the “trash jazz” elements of NERVE NET. I remember inviting myself to a Warner Hamburg listening session before Brian said “no” to the release.

I was the only person in the office and had a great time listening to one of my favourite singers. The Wire even published a review of My Squelchy Life, written by Mike Fish. When it became clear the record would not see the light of day I wrote a letter to Mike Fish, and, o wonder, really nice guy, he sent me his original promo copy of the record. At that time I regarded this old C-90 cassette as one of the biggest buried treasures in my archive. Apart from a signed vinyl version of the first edition of Bo Hansson’s “Lord of the Rings” (original Swedish release).

This entry was posted on Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2014 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Uwe Meilchen:

    Auf einigen Bo Hansson Alben, z.B. „The Magician’s Hat“ ist uebrigens auch Bobo Stensson am electric piano mit dabei … womit wir dann wieder seinem sagenhaften Album SERENITY sind …

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ich mag Stensons Solo sehr auf THE MAGICIAN’S HAT. Bei einem Stück von NERVE NET war der unheimlich sympathische John Paul Jones dabei, aber er war gar nicht amüsiert darüber, wie Eno sein Gitarrensolo auseinanderpflückte. Obwohl es am Ende grossartig klang, nur nicht mehr wie das Solo eines Led Zeppeliners :)

  3. Jochen:

    Serenity hatte ich seiner Zeit verworfen – vielleicht sollte ich hier eine Revision bzw Reaudition erwägen. Genauso, wie ich ja auch das Bollani-Album Joy in Spite of Everything vorzeitig als Geplänkel abtat, dann aber auf einen verwandtschaftlichen Rat hin genauer hörte und es flux für großartig befand (tendenziell Platte des Jahres).

    Allein der Titel schon …

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Während ich Serenity von Anfang an liebte, und Bollanis Neue nicht mal unter meinen Top 150 des Jahres auftauchen würde – vive la difference – während mir dann doch, wider Erwarten, die Songwriter vom Hofe Heinrich des Achten aus dem England des 15. Jahrhunderts nahegingen, zu finden auf dem letzten Album des Hilliard Ensembles …

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Meine liebsten ECM-Werke 2014 (abseits der New Series) sind ganz klar die von Anouar Brahem, Arild Andersen und Lumen Drones. Zwei habe ich bestimmt gerade vergessen.

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