With the words of Rick Holland
Brian Eno - Drums Between The Bells

For his second release on Warp the king of collaborators and unwavering creative spirit has teamed up with poet Rick Holland. Surprisingly upbeat jazz inflections, syncopated drums and chunky synths provide the album opener, which moves swiftly into the aptly named ‘Glitch’, featuring the digitised motorized cold war intonations of Grazyna Goworek.

As on his previous Warp release ‘Small Craft’, Eno’s soundscapes oscillate between the disruptive and the transcendental. This is expertly illustrated in the shift from the stuttering ‘Glitch’ to the piano-led yearning of ‘Dreambirds’. In this Rick’s words are indisputably painterly, but they are read by an altogether too melodramatic actress. ‘As If Your Eyes…’, so impressively long in title, sits somewhere between The Clangers and the fuzzy pre-natal warmth of Close Encounters’ famous five tones and is all the better for being instrumental. The hymnal and genuinely uplifting ‘Cloud 4’ is followed by a fifty-seven-second track of (ambient) silence.

Despite the initial twinkling of glockenspiels and bottles on the last track, which Eno sings himself, it is a mournful piece, reminiscent of ‘Drift’-era Scott Walker. But there is sadly nothing pioneering here, despite the crystal clear production. Overall, the mannered vocal deliveries detract too much from the music, despite their intoxicating lyricism. Often it feels more like an overly conscious art project rather than an album that will sustain repeated listening; it’s undeniably, admirably beautiful in parts, but ultimately too consciously cerebral and self satisfied to love.


Words by Anna Wilson

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