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Aus der Erinnerung fallen mir eine gute Handvoll Alben ein, neben die ich „The Turning Year“ in einem Regal einordnen könnte – wobei sich das Werk selber schlichtem Rubrizieren entzieht. Die besten Ordnungssysteme sind bekanntlich die, welche nach allen Himmelsrichtungen offen sind. In diesem Sinne lege ich nur ein paar Fährten der Abteilung „Hinterlandmusik“ (nicht „Hintergrundmusik“!) aus: Herbert Hencks „Musica Callada“, seine Interpretation von Stücken von Federico Mompou. Glauco Veniers „Miniature Music“ (subtitled „Music for Piano and Percussion – is there a more unknown ECM-album?). Dann Nils Frahms „All Melody“ (diese Produktion entstand, reiner Zufall, auch in Berlin). Steve Tibbetts’ „Northern Song“. Erik Honoré’s „Heliographs“. Misha Alperins „At Home“. „Mixing Colours“ sowieso (the interview with „The Elderly Brothers“, in regards to their DGG-release in „Electronic Sound“, is good-humoured and insightful). Cluster‘s „Sowiesoso“ (aufgenommen 1976 in Forst und gemischt in Connys Studio). Group Listening: Clarinet & Piano – Selected Works, Vol. 2 („imagine a missing link between  „Obscure Records and ECM‘s New Series“).  Will Burns & Hannah Peel: Chalk Hill Blue. Roberto Musci‘s „Tower of Silence“. Sigurd Holes „Roraima“. Hans Ottes „Buch der Klänge“ (wiederum dargeboten von Herbert Henck). Und „The Equatorial Stars“ von Fripp & Eno.

 

Es kommt vor, dass Phänomene, die sich am Rande, fast schemenhaft, bewegen, einen ebenso tiefgreifenden Einfluss auf das innere Erleben ausüben wie das, was im Brennglas  konzentrierter Aufmerksamkeit funkelt. Nicht zuletzt in dieser Hinsicht ist „The Turning Year“ ein kleines, frei schwebendes Meisterstück, das leicht unterschätzt werden kann. Nichts ist so langweilig wie eine Notation, die keine Fragen offenlässt. Die meisten Alben von Roger Eno kenne ich seit seinem ersten Auftauchen auf einem Meilenstein aus den „goldenen Jahren der Ambient Music“ (Apollo) ziemlich gut. Bevor das Wort „neoklassisch“ zur Schublade der Popkultur wurde für introspektive Erkundungen, zwischen klassisch geschultem Ohr und autodidaktischer Aneignung, setzte Rogers Soloalbum „Voices“ (aus Bob und Dan Lanois‘ Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, Ontario) die berüchtigte Messlatte hoch für eine Musik, die nicht nach Aufmerksamkeit giert, und uns Ohrensesselreisende in ein kontemplatives, a l p h a w e l l e n f r e u d i g e s Stimmungsfeld versetzt.

 

„Modern Mood Music“, so betitelte Richard Williams  einst im Melody Maker eine Besprechung der Schallplatten „Places“ von Jan Garbarek, „Mr. Gone“ von Weather Report, und „Music For Films“ von  Brian Eno.) Oft genug gelangen dem  Mann aus Woodbridge (in den Jahren und Arbeiten nach „Voices“) delikate Gleichgewichte zwischen Oberflächenreiz und Tiefenwirksamkeit. Die Konstante: ein dunkles Leuchten, die Bandbreite erstaunlich, zwischen Kammerspiel und Kunstlied, Improvisation und Ambient. Highlights wie „Voices“ (das Album bescherte ihm einen kleinen Geldsegen, weil es dem „Erotik-Thrill“ des Kinofilms „9 1/2 Wochen“ ein paar Atempausen bescherte),  „Between Tides“, „The Flatlands“, „Lost In Transition“, „Swimming“ und – Soundaskese pur – „The Floating World“. Alle Süßholzraspelei meilenweit entfernt. Verdammt ernste Musik mit einem beinahe kindlichen Gespür für das Staunen. Rogers Samtpfotenpiano, die Verwehungen des Streicherensembles Scoring Berlin, Tibor Remans Klarinette („On The Horizon“) – die Besetzungsliste wäre unvollständig ohne einen gewissen Mr. „In-Between“, ohne den unbestimmten Raum (Zonen namens Aura, Nachklang, Stille).

 

Im Gegensatz zu dem über lange Zeiten fast nomadischen Leben seines Bruders Brian liess es  Roger von früh an ruhig angehen, und verliess nur sporadisch die Räume seiner Kindheit in East Anglia. Dieses neue, allerfeinste Opus beginnt mit „A Place We Once Walked“ – wäre der Begriff „Heimatmusik“ bloss nicht so gruselig konnotiert, hier könnte er vor Anker gehen! Manche dieser pastoralen Szenerien (gutes altes Cinemascope) erfordern einen double takeSpuren des Unheimlichen, die sich hinter dem Schimmer, dem „Anheimelnden“, verbergen! Übrigens, wenn man das Klappcover der Schallplatte öffnet, findet sich eine Reihe von kleinen Fotos aus Rogers Archiv, eine dezente Anreicherung all dieser wunderlichen Melancholien einer als Musik getarnten Tranceinduktion erster Güte. 

 

In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.
(by Ezra Pound)

 

„FIRST HOUR“ (ends with a jukebox)

 

 

Michael Engelbrecht: What was the basic idea that triggered „Warp“ as a melange of solo piano composition and all the other things and sounds surrounding the Steinway?

Jon Balke: I think the starting point was an abstract idea about making an architecture of sound: walls, curved spaces, light and darkness, actually a question: can this be done? Can we experience sound as a physical environment? And then as I developed my piano playing in paralell. I wanted to try to place the piano inside these imaginary spaces. I am still not sure if I achieved what I wanted, but the process is very intriguing and interesting.

 

Rickie Lee Jones: Show Biz Kids (It‘s Like This, 1991)
Angelo Badalamenti: Twin Peaks Theme (Music from Twin Peaks, 1990)

talking one  – „do you remember Twin Peaks, 1989?“

Jon Balke: Kantor (Warp, 2016)
Radiohead: Dollars and Cents (In Rainbows, 2007)

Anna Gourari / Giya Kancheli: Piano Piece No. 15 (Elusive Affinity, 2019)
Mark Hollis: A Life (1895-1915) (Mark Hollis, 1997)
Budd / Eno:  Not Yet Remembered (The Plataux of Mirror, 1981)
Robert Wyatt: Maryan (Shleep, 1997)

talking two – „on evergreens and everblues“

Chris Watson: The Sounds of Lindisfarne (In St. Cuthbert‘s Time, 2013)
T. Rex: Cosmic Dancer (from Electric Warrior, 1971)

 

„SECOND HOUR“ (ends with a darkness)

STERNZEIT

 

 

Michael Engelbrecht: Listening to „Life Of“ you can easily feel something brooding, some darkness, a certain twilight zone. Is the origin for these sensations unknown – or somehow graspable? Echoes from all those „stranger things“ you experienced in Asia?

Steve Tibbetts: There is sometimes a sort of credulous enthusiasm to believe in „stranger things“, as you say, especially in Asia. Nonetheless there does seem to be a certain permeability to the fabric of reality in some places in the world. A friend of mine called it „thinness.“ You can look for that in music and art as well. You listen and there is a quiet collapse of duality, self and other. This might sound terribly exotic or over-thought, but if you watch your mind when you listen to music you might witness a kind of melting.

 

Steve Tibbetts Life of Alice (Life of, 2018)

(my story with „Klanghorizonte“ began with a tape cassette Steve sent me from St. Paul, with sounds from the Rocky Mountains, children‘s voices, monk chants from the Far East. With that cassette at hand, I started contacting German radio stations, and I did my first radio features about Steve‘s music in November 1989 – on the same day these shows were broadcasted by the NDR (Michael Naura) and Deutschlandfunk (Harald Rehmann). That was a problem, so I wrote two completely different texts and used different stories from Steve. The content of that transatlantic interview ended up, too, als liner notes on Steve Tibbetts‘ great album „Big Map Idea“.) 

Tunng: Eating The Dead (Tunng presents Dead Club, 2020)

talking three – „an English journey“

Mike Sammes: Tuc / Timex (Music for Biscuits, 1973)
Brian Eno: This (Another Day On Earth, 2005)

Darren Hayman: Wysall, (Thankful Villages, Vol. 3, 2018)
David Bowie: tis a pity she was a whore (Darkstar, 2016)

John Surman: Trethewy Quoit, (Road to St. Ives, 1990)
Incredible String Band: (a song from Wee Tam & The Big Huge, 1971)
Paul Giovanni: Searching for Rowan (The Wicker Man O.S.T, 1973)
Damon Albarn: Esja, The Tower of Montevideo (The nearer…, 2021)

talking four – „the magic of field recordings“

Jana Winderen: (Spring Bloom In The Marginal Ice Zone, 2017)
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker (You Want It Darker, 2018)

 

„THIRD HOUR“ (ends with a celebration)

 

 

talking five – „our life in the bush of ghosts“

V.A. – Bayu Bayu (from: West Java – Sundanese Jaipong, 2003) 
Dadawah: Run Come Rally (Love and Peace, 1974) 
Tinariwen: Hayati (Elwan, 2017)
Sussan Deyhim & Richard Horowitz: Got Away (Desert Equations, 1986)
Tinariwen: Iklam Dglour (from: Amadjar, 2019)
Keith Hudson (from Flesh Of My Skin…, 1974)
Codona: Que Faser (from: Codona 2, 1981) 

talking six – „ECM classics“

Keith Jarrett:  Long As You Know You‘re Living Yours (from BELONGING)

KALENDERBLATT

 

 

“FOURTH HOUR“ (ends with 50 words for snow)

 

Les Baxter: Zambezi (Tamboo, 1955)
Various Animals: Hippopotamus (Animals of Africa)
Burnt Friedman: Mura (from Bokoboko, 2011)

talking seven – „dancing, dreaming, meditating“

Underworld:  mmm Skyscaper … (dubnobasswithmyheadon, 1997)
Brian Eno: Fractal Zoom (Nerve Net, 1992)
Jon Hassell: Choir Moire (Dream Theory in Malay, 1981)
Jon Hopkins: (Music for Psychedelic Therapy, 2021)

talking eight – „Jon Hopkins on his new album“ 

Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow (50 Words For Snow, 2011)

 

 

„FIFTH HOUR (part 1)“ (ends with a stranger)

 


Laurie Anderson: World without end (from: Bright Red, 1994)
Ralph Towner: Entry in a Diary (from: Diary, 1973)
Lambchop: The Last Benedict (from: Showtunes, 2021)

talking nine – „this and that“

Portico Quartet: A.O.E. (from: Monument, 2021)
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Quattro (World Drifts In) (Raise The Roof, 2021)

 

 

„FIFTH HOUR (part 2)“ (ends with  a beginning)

 

The Allman Brothers Band: In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Live at Fillmore East (1971)

talking ten – „circle line, district line, waterloo station“  (above my underground photo, April 2014)

801 Live: Tomorrow Never Knows (801 Live, 1976)

 

When I entered Brian Eno’s studio in West London on a sunny, early April morning, 2014, he was just working on an idea in his head (a special sound maybe, a rhythm, a melodic shape?). I was quiet for a moment so that he could make a mental note. – You look a bit Moroccan, I then said to him. I’ve never seen Brian Eno with a white beard before. He really was in the Moroccan hills a short time ago. What I didn’t know was that he bought a hat there – in that country that was once a “hippie dream world” deep in the last century, but which turned to hell for too many young people. I have known Brian since 1989, and when I’m in London, there are casual meetings once in a while. This time Brian and Karl (Hyde) would play a „concert for one“, happily for me, two days later. The first day of working on their follow-up album „High Life“. When I left the studio, with a copy of SOMEDAY WORLD, I saw Brian setting a pulsating electronic rhythm in motion. Always fun to hear a glimpse of a possible future. Hope he was able to – nearly seamlessly, return to the idea he had in his mind – meaning the completely different place he had been some minutes before!

 

2021 11 Mrz

JazzFacts today & more

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Eyolf Dale / Per Zanussi / Audun Kleive: „Being“ (Edition Rec.)*
Snowpoet: „Wait For Me“ (Edition Rec.)
Punkt.Vrt.Plastik: „Somit“ (Intakt Rec.)
Tamara Lukasheva: „Gleichung“ (Wismart Rec.)

 
 

Mindestens diese vier Alben stellt Odilo Clausnitzer in der Ausgabe der JazzFacts, heute,  am 11. März um 21.05 im Deutschlandfunk, vor. „Jazz auf Netflix“ – ein Autor geht auf Spurensuche des Jazz auf dem Streamingportal nach. In der Rubrik „Was hörst Du?“ fragt Hendrika Entzian die Saxofonistin Charlotte Greve. Und ich stelle Nik Bärtschs Solopianoalbum „Entendre“ vor. Manfred Eicher ist der Produzent – seit den frühen Siebziger Jahren hat er so einige Standards gesetzt, auch auf diesem Terrain, live und im Studio. Kein Grund, nun Routine walten zu lassen, das beweist die Produktion von „Entendre“ allemal. Steve Tibbetts erzählte mir diese Story über Manfred Eichers Begegnung mit japanischen Tonspezialisten während Keith Jarretts legendärer „Sun Bear Concerts“ …

 
 

 
 

Nik Bärtsch wird mit einer weiteren Passage aus meinem kleinen Interview in den „Klanghorizonten“ im April (dritter Samstag) zu hören sein. Im April erscheinen dann auch neue Alben von Thomas Stronen, Sinnika Langeland und Vijay Iyer auf ECM, die wahrscheinlich auch ihren Weg in die kommenden „Klanghorizonte“ finden werden. (Pianist Vijay Iyer has assembled a new trio with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey for this forthcoming album named Uneasy). Und es gibt ein weiteres feines  Album der „Natural Information Society“, das bei „Aguirre Records“ rauskommen wird. Das Label wird betreut von Klaus und Werner, und ich habe bei Werner wegen der CD und eines Interviews mit dem Komponisten und Guimbra-Spieler Joshua Abrahms angefragt (er geniesst bei mir schlicht mehr Vertrauen als Klaus.) Und dann traf soeben auch noch ein Rune Grammofon-Paket ein, mit demnächst erscheinenden Arbeiten von Kjetil Mulelid (solo piano again!) und der Gitarristin Hedvig Mollestad. Im Mai freue ich mich auf meine nächste Ausgabe der JazzFacts mit Neuem von der improvisierten Musik.

 

* I am even more excited about pianist Eyolf Dale’s new album coming out in early 2021 – a new trio with two ingenious „big names“ in the Norwegian jazz scene: drummer Audun Kleive and bassist Per Zanussi. I really like Eyolf; I was lucky enough to join him on tour in the mid-Norwegian coastal region around Molde and Ålesund once, and a year later I was invited to spend a few days filming him recording in the nice studio The Village in Copenhagen, when he was playing in Hayden Powell’s trio. I am sure his new trio project is going to be a great live experience — if the tour will be actually be allowed to take place.

(Ingo J. Biermann, from the blog diary)

 


KLANGHORIZONTE DECEMBER 19

 

FIRST HOUR – NEW ALBUMS – talking 1 /  Gwenifer Raymond: Strange Lights over Garth Mountain, from Strange Light over Garth Mountain / Dino Saluzzi: Ausencias, from Albores / talking 2 / Matt Berninger: Loved so little, from Serpentine Prison (produced by Booker T. Jones) / Dino Saluzzi: Intimo, from Albores / Lambchop: Reservations, from Trip / Loma: Thorn, from Don‘t Shy Away / talking 3 / Music from the album Super Heavy Metal Music (definitely not heavy metal as you know it)

 

SECOND HOUR – NEW ALBUMS – SternzeitBelbury Poly, from The Gone Away / talking 1 / Simon Kirby, Tom Perman, Rob St. John: Phonaestheme, from Sing the Gloaming / Roger and Brian Eno: Manganese, from Luminous / talking 3 / Anja Lechner & Francois Couturier, from Lontano / Ian William Craig and David Lentz: Track 2, from In  a Word / talking 4 / Peter Schwalm & Arve Henriksen, from Neuzeit 

 

THIRD HOUR – CLOSE-UP: „Just as you are“ – Robert Wyatt and Alfie Benge (based on the book „Side By Side“, songs, paintings, my unforgettable encounters, once upon a time, with the couple at London‘s Westbank, and a very fine biography) Kalenderblatt 

 

FOURTH HOUR – TIME TRAVEL 1 – talking 1 / Beverly Glenn-Copeland: La Vita, Ever New, from Transmissions – The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland / talking 2 / Neil Young: Separate Ways, from Homegrown /  Willie Nelson: from the album Stardust (produced by Booker T. Jones) / Bernard Herrmann: from Vertigo O.S.T / Ran Blake & Andrew Rathbun: Vertigo, from Northern Noir / Al Green: Judy, aus Let‘s Stay Together / Ran Blake & Andrew Rathbun: Judy, from Northern Noir / talking 3 / Gary Peacock, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette: Tone Field, from Tales of Another

 

FIFTH HOUR – TIME TRAVEL 2 – Terje Rypdal: two compositions from Descendre, with Palle Mikkelborg and Jon Christensen / talking 1 / Jon Hassell: Hex, from Vernal Equinox /// Nachrichten und Tagesspiegel um 5.30 bis 5.40 /// Robert Wyatt: A Beautiful Peace, from: Comicopera / talking 2 / Tony Allen: Ise Nla, Morose, Aye Le,  from: Lagos No Shaking

 

 


KLANGHORIZONTE DECEMBER 26 

 

FIRST HOUR – LOOKING BACK ON SOME EXCELLENT RECORDS OF 2020 (part 1) – talking 1 / Die Wilde Jagd: Damian, from Haut / Eivind Aarset & Jan Bang, from Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes / talking 2 / Bill Callahan: from Gold Record / Vox Clamantis & Cyrillus Kreek, from The Suspended Harp of Babel / Burd Ellen, from Says The Never Beyond / talking 3 / Shabaka & The Ancestors, one track from We Are Sent Here By History /  Tunng: from Dead Club / talking 3 / Jon Balke: from Discourses

 

SECOND HOUR – LOOKING BACK ON SOME MORE EXCELLENT RECORDS OF 2020 (part 2) – STERNZEIT / talking 1 / Hen Ogledd, from Free Humans / The Flaming Lips, from American Head / talking 2 / Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes: Initial Meditation, Plantains, Pueblo, from Heritage of the Invisible II /  talking 3 / Alabaster DePlume, from To Cy and Lee, Instrumentals Vol. 1 / Anja Lechner & Francois Couturier, from Lontano / Steve Tibbetts speaking on „Lontano“ and „Promontoire“ / Benjamin Moussay, from Promontoire / Einstürzende Neubauten, from Alles in allem / talking 4 Jon Hassell, from Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Vol. 2)

 

THIRD HOUR – CLOSE-UP – „Brian‘s soundtracks for real and imaginary films“ (feat. „Film Music 1976-2020“, & „Music For Films“ (1978)) incl. a fresh interview with Eno

 

FOURTH HOUR – TIME TRAVEL 1 – „Notes & sounds from a finally unearthed treasure: „From Brussels with Love“ from 1980“ *  (a kind of   collage…feat. my favourite sing from Thomas Dolby, great pieces from The Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, Gavin Bryars, and  an Eno interview solo from 1980 may be interesting, as perhaps my little counterpoint, music from the o.s.t. „Barry Lyndon“)

 

 

FIFTH HOUR – TIME TRAVEL 2 – part 1 –  talking 1 / Ryuichi Sakamoto: Boku No Kakera, Saru To Yuki To Gomi No Kodoma, Kacha Kucha Ne, The Garden of Popples, Relaché, from Hidari Ude No Yume (reissue of The Lefthanded Dream) / NACHRICHTEN 5.30 Uhr / part 2V.A. (Dvaram V. Naido a.o.) How The River Ganges Flows (according to Third Man Records, „a transcendent collection of Carnatic violin performances captured on 78 rpm disc between 1933 and 1952 (…) Most of these sublime recordings have not been heard since they were first etched in shellac decades ago. These melodies are ethereal and transporting: meditative. The rhythms undulate from despair to ecstasy, often within the same phrase.” / in between all these „violin shellacs— there will be one song by M. Ward from his Billie Holiday homage, and the final song of the night:  John Lennon’s Instant Karma

 

* „Wenn mit FROM BRUSSELS WITH LOVE jene Compilation aus Belgien gemeint ist … die jetzt wiederveröffentlicht wird, dann kann ich nur sagen: ich höre mich seit einigen Tagen wiedermal durch die alte MadeToMeasure-Serie, die ich seit Jahren sehr schätze. Überhaupt bescherte mir das Label Crépuscule immer schon Musik, die sich nicht in Worte fassen lässt, die immer den Zwiespalt zwischen mysteriös, schräg, obskur, somnambul, experimentell, Fragezeichen, Bauchschmerzen und Kopfweh auf der einen Seite und bittersweet, intellektuell, überraschend, schön, Hymnus, Elegie & Verführung auf der anderen Seite zu überbrücken vermochte. Nicht B-Ware, wie vieles aus dem Pop der Benelux,sondern Eins-A-Kram von einem völlig anderen Ufer (Fjorde gibts da ja nicht …). Was mir da alles an Inspirationen entgegenschwappte … Immer noch fasziniert mich das, ohne dass ichs zu erklären vermöchte. Mich befällt beim Hören das Gefühl, Sie hätten Ihr Sendekonzept dorther …“ 

(Olaf Pawlicki)


This particular repackaging of a past aural/oral and visual culture is a resplendent one; you can while away the time by perusing beguiling old photographs of Annik Honoré and the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant, or read typically acerbic reviews by the likes of Paul du Noyer. A far cry from that musty and murky DIY era, when the photocopy machine and stereo radio/cassette recorder shaped an uncertain world. (…) Multiformat reissues of old albums, however “iconic”, are now part of the never-ending treadmill of pop eating itself. I can forgive those who think it’s all a bit too much, especially in the times we find ourselves in. But, at the end of the world or not, there is something wonderful when fond memories of forgotten or lost music can be given a new life and meaning. From Brussels with Love (or Witlof, if you want to hear an old in-joke) is one such.“

(Richard Foster, TheQuietus)

Es kann ja immer etwas dazwischen kommen, aber momentan sieht es so aus, dass meine nächste Ausgabe der der Radionacht Klanghorizonte im Deutschlandfunk eine spezielle wird: „Produced by Manfred Eicher – fünf Jahrzehnte ECM in fünf Stunden“. Das Tempo dieser Reise durch die Dekaden wird trotz der „mission impossible“ kein eiliges sein. Ob ich Manfred Eicher noch treffen werde im Vorfeld, ist unklar. Auf jeden Fall konnte ich zwei Musiker für die Sendung gewinnen, die seit ziemlich früher Zeit auf unterschiedliche Art mit dem Label verbunden sind. Steve Tibbetts wählt jeweils eine seiner Lieblingsplatten aus den „Siebzigern“, „Achtzigern“ und „Neunzigern“ aus, Jon Balke macht das mit den „Neunzigern“, „Nullern“, und „Zehnern“. Beide werden etwas zu diesen Werken erzählen, Steve wird sich dazu wohl in seinem Studio in St. Paul ein paar ruhige Minuten nehmen, Jon ist derzeit in Kompositionsarbeiten versunken, wird aber spätestens in Venedig, wo er demnächst auftritt, morgens auf einem Hotelbalkon, genug Musse haben, seine kleinen Stories beizusteuern. Das alles in der Nacht von Freitag auf Samstag, im Deutschlandfunk, am 17. August. Vielleicht kommt auch noch der eineoder andere Überraschungsgast hinzu. Natürlich wird von beiden auch etwas zu hören sein, spätestens in der letzten Stunde – Jon Balkes „WARP“ (2016) und Steve Tibbetts‘ „LIFE OF“ (2018) sind zwei fantastische Alben.

2013 5 Okt

The Copycat Discussion (Eno vs. Sylvian)

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When I talked to Brian Eno in 1993 mentioning the name of David Sylvian I got a response that definitely showed no sign of amusement. Had Sylvian been stealing ideas and artists, a copycat in action? Sensitive matter! Facts: Brian played with Robert Fripp creating classics like NO PUSSYFOOTING or EVENING STAR (side one), later David invited Robert to play with him, for example, on GONE TO EARTH.

Brian collaborated with Jon Hassell creating some desert island discs (POSSIBLE MUSICS, DREAM THEORY IN MALAY), and then, well, David contacted Jon for some collaborative efforts that resulted in some decent work.

Though David’s ambient works were underrated in their era (PLIGHT AND PREMONITION), they never came close to the classics Brian Eno had produced in the 70s, and later on. DISCREET MUSIC, MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS, MUSIC FOR FILMS, ON LAND, APOLLO, THE SHUTOV ASSEMBLY … Holger Czukay crossed their ways, too. So sorry, Brian was, again, the first. This may produce raised eyebrows. Or is it only a question of age? And today? Brian Eno was always fond of spoken word pieces, and recently, well, both artists published (or contributed to) albums with spoken words. But a milestone of spoken word deliveries had been, without doubt, created by Eno & Byrne, a long time ago, MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS.

Now, how to judge this? Both artists profit from collaborations, both artists released brillant song albums in the 70’s (Brian, ANOTHER GREEN WORLD, for example) and the 80’s (David, BRILLIANT TREES). I think there was inspiration in the air, and David transported areas of Brian’s music in his own territory. With good taste and a certain amount of cleverness. Was there a special competitive climate between artists in England? Sylvian had to get rid of the restrictions the early albums of Japan have shown. At least TIN DRUM offered some exits. And Eno was probably a role model for Sylvian in the way one could reconcile the avantgarde and the pop world without sacrificing visions. Eno was the one who opened the ambient landscapes, and Sylvian followed on his tracks.

Change of the scenery. Twentyfirst century. NINE HORSES in parts, and BLEMISH and MANAFON and MANAFON VARIATIONS for sure were fucking great albums by Mr. Sylvian. They rank among his best works ever. No Eno inflluence could be detected. And no ECM connection either. David had always loved to have ECM artists being part of his songs, from Kenny Wheeler to Steve Tibbetts. Even Terje Rypdal was asked. That has stopped, too. In recent times, and because of different reasons, David even stopped singing. His hard core fans are not amused. It is always a good sign when hard core fans are not amused. See Scott Walker. See Talk Talk. Nostalgia is a trap. And inspiration is fair enough, no copycats in action. Though Sylvian learned his Eno-lessons, no doubt about that. Brian, by the way, studied Steve Reich’s early works en detail, and drew exciting conclusions! (ME)

 
 

I always wondered why DS never mentioned Brian Eno in interviews, but …

From my point of view there is a fundamental difference, not only in the songwriting, but also in the experimental/ambient music of those two artists, that could in a way be compared to the difference between Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane: it’s a difference in spirit.

There are secular coolness, cheerful playfullness and easy-going humour in Enos music. David Sylvian however used electronics to point out a certain auratic/traumatic drama in “the difficulty of being” (J. Cocteau) and in personal, spiritual searching.

Does Eno like Sylvian’s songwriting? I do. (JS)

 
 

I don’t think that Eno likes Sylvian’s songwriting, especially the early solo-albums. On one side, we have the atheist Eno, on the other the „spiritual searcher“ Sylvian. (Though his masterpiece MANAFON was released in the aftermath of doubts and disbelief.) The lyrics of „classic Sylvian“ (Brilliant Trees, Gone to Earth, Secrets of the Beehive), too, belong to this category of artists searching for self-recognition and wisdom, a totally different approach. In fact, they have far less common ground than the line of artistic „soul mates“ they’ve invited to their albums might suggest.

And the singing? Two worlds, too. Here, on Eno’s part, the sharpness and dark wit, the undermining of wrong romanticism, and – simultaneously – again and again a yearning quality (listen to the song „SPINNING AWAY“). There, on Sylvian’s paths, a melodramatic attitude, a certain amount of pathos (never easy to handle), mythical sub-texts, religious metaphors. But, all of that changed since BLEMISH. So, maybe, Eno would possibly like this new late turn in Sylvian’s career. Because of the courage to attack the old formulas. (ME)

 
 

Blemish, then Manafon, Wandermüde (name is program) and actually the Kilowatt-Hour declare an intention to walk on that path between music and anti-music. Walking this fine line between the neither and the nor means: filtering or making music that includes a contra-pole, something different than music. There has to be an exit.

This is, how i interpretate Sylvians work in recent years: music as an antidot for outworn harmonies, sweet melodies and obsolete clishes. These are swan songs, it’s farewell-music – with a slight destructive touch. But something remains from the Brilliant Trees and Gone to Earth albums up to the present works: an atmosphere of subtil desire; romanticism, mystizism and (scuse me) … narcissism – even though in a homeopathic dose.

David Sylvian uses electronic effects to create more or less „mystic“ moods, as he ever did. To compare it with Eno again: one drives the screw in, the other one drives it out. Here stays the introverted and depressive subject: Orpheus with the blues. And on the other hand it is the objective, more relaxing sound: drifting through time & space … spinning away. (JS)

 


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