brian eno

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as brian eno.

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Some may find the constantly applied stage-whisper vocals here a little samey over the long haul, but for me it fits perfectly with the ambient, atmospheric-rock of Maps which swells to panoramic dimensions in places, or rides the most simple but effective of piano chords down to levels of utter intimacy. Maps is in fact James Chapman from...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Coldplay: Viva la Vida or Death And All Her Friends (EMI)

One advantage of not listening to commercial radio is that you don't start going off songs or bands through over-familiarity. Which might explain why I quite like this new album by a band which seems to annoy most right-thinking people and serious music writers.But I hear so little of them -- I rarely play the albums I have -- that this one...

Fripp and Eno: Beyond Even; 1992-2006 (Opal/Southbound)

Fripp and Eno: Beyond Even; 1992-2006 (Opal/Southbound)

As mentioned in the previous posting of the Travis and Fripp album, when guitarist Fripp got into the studio alongside musician-without-portfolio Brian Eno for the albums Evening Star and No Pussyfooting in the early 70s a particular magic was created. Not ambient music (that was to follow from Eno) but more like music as an emotional...

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

Grace Jones: Hurricane (Wall of Sound)

It has been about 20 years since the formidable Grace Jones menaced us, but she's back and her opening salvo on this typically groove-oriented album is her declaiming "this is my voice, my weapon of choice". And that track This Is marries a Sly'n'Robbie Caribbean sensibility (and sensimilla) with the Serengeti. It is larger...

CAN: A CONCEPT, A CULT, A BAND; As only the Germans can

CAN: A CONCEPT, A CULT, A BAND; As only the Germans can

By definition most people miss cult acts. And to their tuned-in loyalists that makes them even more special. There is nothing like the whiff of martyrdom, or being ignored or misunderstood, to elevate a musician’s reputation among the faithful. Like most people, I missed Can in the late 60s/early 70s. No matter, the albums are out...

KRAFTWERK'S RALF HUTTER INTERVIEWED (2008): The werk ethic

KRAFTWERK'S RALF HUTTER INTERVIEWED (2008): The werk ethic

Ralf Hutter -- founder of the innovative German electro rock pioneers Kraftwerk rarely does interviews. And when he does speak to the press he sometimes doesn’t make it easy. One reporter tells of the constraints being placed on questions: the first being no asking about Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk are, shall we say, different: their...

Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) and Evening Star (1975)

Fripp and Eno: No Pussyfooting (1973) and Evening Star (1975)

Context is everything -- or almost everything -- at Essential Elsewhere, these being albums you can return to repeatedly so probably stand outside of time, yet are always born of a specific place and time. Even if they owe nothing to it. And these two albums - the first "pair" of Essential Elsewhere albums -- seem to owe very...

ROBERT FRIPP INTERVIEWED (1990): The economic man at work

ROBERT FRIPP INTERVIEWED (1990): The economic man at work

The only sound in this small foyer is a huge fly buzzing monotonously and occasionally slapping itself into the windows. Peter, one of the guitarists studying at this retreat in Howick whispers “are you the journalist?” and our conversation is carried out in hushed voices so as not to disturb the 20 or so people in the room next...

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

In the rush to acclaim Kraftwerk as electro-pioneers, it is often overlooked how they grew out of the German avant-garde/post-hippie prog-rock scene. As Organisation and on the first two Kraftwerk albums, founders Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider (and others) engaged in long, almost free-form jams with Schneider playing flutes and bells....

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

Not only does this excellent overview of the German electronic scene come in at a whopping and thorough three hours, but it also has good timing: it is released just as Kraftwerk make a rare return appearance in New Zealand. This ambitious (but not officially sanctioned) look at Kraftwerk's place in the techno-cosmos places the group within...

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Inertia)

It has been almost 30 years since David Byrne and Brian Eno teamed up for the groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which brought sampling, found sounds, world music, trip-hop beats, studio manipulations and much more together in way that really hadn't been heard before. But anyone expecting this collaboration to be in a similar vein...

BRIAN ENO AND THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Obscure but not oblique

BRIAN ENO AND THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Obscure but not oblique

By happy chance recently I pulled out a vinyl album which has changed my listening habits for these past weeks. It was released 30 years ago but has always struck me as timeless: it is Brian Eno’s Music For Films and the austere, pale brown cardboard cover is mottled with age. At any opportunity since I have gravitated to my cherished...

High Places: High Places (Mistletone/Rhythmethod)

High Places: High Places (Mistletone/Rhythmethod)

In an article posted at Elsewhere recently I wrote of the seductive charms of the quiet albums on Brian Eno's Obscure label in late Seventies/early Eighties, and of other such albums by the likes of Harold Budd, Laaraji, trumpeter Jon Hassell and others. On one of those lovely Hassell albums -- Dream Theory in Malaya from 1981, an Essnetial...

Paul Simon: Surprise (Warners)

Paul Simon: Surprise (Warners)

From the Sounds of Silence through American Tune and beyond, 64-year-old Paul Simon has articulated the fears and hopes of his generation. Unlike Young on his leaden Living with War, for this new album - in a gagging, sentimental cover - Simon takes musical risks and extends himself. Brian Eno provides the sonic landscapes - loops,...

U2: Achtung Baby (1991); Zooropa (1993)

U2: Achtung Baby (1991); Zooropa (1993)

Bono from U2 tells a good story. In fact Bono has a lot of good stories but this one is revealing . . . It seems that backstage at some gig in the mid Eighties Bob Dylan was playing an acoustic guitar and handed it to him. Dylan asked him to play one their songs. Bono said he realised in that moment that they didn’t have any real...

Jon Hopkins: Insides (Domino)

Jon Hopkins: Insides (Domino)

This quietly wonderful electronica album certainly didn't announce itself (my advance copy came with no cover, no promo information) but it has been a constant repeat play item on the stereo since I got it about three months back. It has been music while I worked, music while I drank wine, music while I did nothing in the heat. That I have...

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

When this English four-piece emerged in 2000 the world was very different: it was the post-Oasis/post-Verve period (they had conspicuously failed to fulfill the promise) and the British rock press was scanning for new heroes. It found the likes of Travis, Coldplay and, albeit briefly, Starsailor. There was also the informal New Acoustic...

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

NEU!: NEU! (1971) NEU!2 (1973) NEU! ‘75 (1975)

Musical innovations can happen by accident or out of necessity: a stoned John Lennon allegedly spooling the tape of Rain into his player the wrong way and discovering the sound of backwards guitars (he wanted the whole song released in reverse, but settled for just the coda); or Brian Eno who was mostly confined to bed after an accident...

U2: No Line on the Horizon (Universal)

U2: No Line on the Horizon (Universal)

Just a thought: would U2 be better without Bono? That isn't a comment on his ego and political activities -- which I have no issue with, everyone has an ego and I think he's done some decent political work. Nope, it is more on the bombastic delivery he too often brings to U2 when they can be at their most musically interesting. As here, an...

ROBERT WYATT IN CUCKOOLAND (2003): A man, his muse and his music

ROBERT WYATT IN CUCKOOLAND (2003): A man, his muse and his music

Robert Wyatt occupies an unusual place in rock culture. He's in it, but also apart from it. He's not known for his hits, although did enjoy brief chart success and a Top of the Pops appearance with his singular version of the Monkees' I'm A Believer back in '74. He doesn't do videos and won't be coming to a concert stage near you, unless it...

BRIAN ENO; THE EARLY SOLO YEARS 1973-77: Alchemy in the studio

BRIAN ENO; THE EARLY SOLO YEARS 1973-77: Alchemy in the studio

Legend has it that when Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry fell out with the band's synth player (and avant-noise merchant) Brian Eno he accused him of being a "non-musician". Eno -- full name Brian Peter St John Le Baptiste de la Salle Eno -- took this as a compliment and departed to carve out one of the most influential,...

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

For more than 30 years the Kronos Quartet have been innovators, rarely looking back or playing pieces more than a few times, always on the lookout for contemporary material and daring projects. They have recorded with John Zorn and Allen Ginsberg, played material by Jimi Hendrix, Terry Riley, the remarkable Inuit singer Tagaq,...

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

At the very end of the Nineties, David Bowie released one of his best album in years, Hours. Unfortunately by that time fewer and fewer people were listening to him. He'd started the decade with the two Tin Machine albums in which he tried to bury himself within a band format (about as successfully as McCartney did with Wings) and although...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Hassell: Last Night the Moon Came (ECM/Ode)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Jon Hassell: Last Night the Moon Came (ECM/Ode)

By sheer coincidence, this new album by ambient trumpeter Jon Hassell (full title "Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street" from a poem by Rumi) arrived just as I was posting his 1981 release Dream Theory in Malaya as an Essential Elsewhere album. And it is pleasing to report that when it comes to his seductive,...

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

Jon Hassell: Dream Theory in Malaya (1981)

When I imported this album in 1981 it was on the basis of faith: faith that the Melody Maker writer who had hailed it was on the money, that Brian Eno who appeared as a collaborator and on whose EG Music imprint it appeared was right, that it would be as good as their previous collaboration, and that it would arrive intact. My faith was...

Odawas: The Blue Depths (Rhythmethod)

Odawas: The Blue Depths (Rhythmethod)

Some albums are very hard to describe, this one by an ambient, slightly trippy duo from California isn't: imagine gentle Neil Young-folk coming at you from a distance but wrapped in a kind of warm synth sound like Vangelis or Kitaro (without the twee bits). Titles like Our Gentle Life Together, Secrets of the Fall, Moonlight/Twilight and...

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

Tortoise: Beacons of Ancestorship (UNSPK)

As the band most likely to be cited when the discussion turned to "post-rock", this five-piece from Chicago have been critically acclaimed for their magpie tendencies (they lift from prog-rock, free jazz, punk, post-punk, electronica, Can and other equally unconstrained Krautrock bands) but largely haven't connected with an audience...

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

In 1976 the musician/producer and music theorist Brian Eno said to Punk magazine of New York’s the Velvet Underground: “I knew that they were going to be one of the most interesting groups and that there would be a time when it wouldn’t be the Beatles up there and then all these other groups down there. “It would be a...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Flaming Lips: Embryonic (Warners)

Anyone coming to this sprawling and musically diverse (not to say sometimes bewildering) 80 minute album because they were seduced by the Lips' earlier album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (with that sublime hit Do You Realise) might want to take a big breath. This is different in many, many ways. This is the Lips' fascinating and...

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

There are few things more depressing than observing a revolution become a style (or the Beatles’ Revolution become a Nike ad). Or to witness innovation morph into cliché. When director Godfrey Reggio’s innovative film Koyaanisqatsi appeared in the early Eighties it had an immediate impact on popular music and film culture....

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

This Heat: This Heat (1979)

Understandably, many hail the Sixties as the greatest ever decade for popular music: the undeniable brilliance of the Beatles and what they spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention globally; the whole shift from pop to rock, and from singles to albums, which freed minds and arses that followed; the innovations of Hendrix, Cream and...

Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Harmonia and Eno '76: Tracks and Traces Reissue (Gronland/Rhythmethod)

Even during his days in Roxy Music, Brian Eno professed an admiration for not just the music coming out of the German electronic movement (Can and so on) but for their collective spirit. They often lived communally and kept outside the mainstream, and (the commune thing excepted) so did he. That they had so many musical interests in common...

The Church: Priest = Aura (1992)

The Church: Priest = Aura (1992)

With the luxury of time, lowered expectation and some haze-inducing drugs, a kind of sublime, relaxed psychedelia can be the happy result.  As in the case of this album by one of Australia‘s finest bands of the Eighties and Nineties. When the Church emerged out of Canberra in the early Eighties they had some of the guitar...

David Sylvian: Gone to Earth (1986)

David Sylvian: Gone to Earth (1986)

You never know quite how people are going to turn out: they find bodies under the floorboards in the house of that polite boy next door, the rebel girl in school becomes a nun, and David Sylvian . . . .? When David Sylvian (born David Batt in Kent, 1958) first appeared on the music scene it was as a member of the glam rock band Japan and it...

TOMASZ STANKO INTERVIEWED (2009): A blow for freedom

TOMASZ STANKO INTERVIEWED (2009): A blow for freedom

To hear trumpeter Tomasz Stańko tell it, life in Poland in the 1960s might not have been quite as grim and mono-chromatic as we believe. -Certainly there was the irony of playing free jazz in the politically repressive atmosphere, and he laughs knowingly when offered a quote by composer-pianist Thelonious Monk: “Jazz and freedom...

Tomasz Stanko: Dark Eyes (ECM/Ode)

Tomasz Stanko: Dark Eyes (ECM/Ode)

Polish trumpeter Stanko has been introduced previously at Elsewhere on the ocassion of his excellent Lontano album. Here with yet another line-up he essays some slightly sombre territory (The Dark Eyes of Martha Hirsch, Krzysztof Komeda's Dirge For Europe) with a kind of European stateliness which isn't quite as emotionally gripping as some...

Owen Pallett: Heartland (Domino)

Owen Pallett: Heartland (Domino)

If you didn't already know anything about Canadian Pallett, from just a couple of tracks here you'd pick him for an arranger more than a singer/songwriter. Here he unloads a container of electronics (strings, keyboards, loops) into his lyrically dense songs. This is an album which can be as oppressive as it impressive. Pallett has done...

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

Underworld Vs the Misterons: Athens (K7/Border)

This might not be what some would expect from the techno stars Underworld, but this excellent compilation serves a number of purposes outside of being fascinating in its own right. It is a collection of some of their favouite tracks from the more meditative end of the musical spectrum so has a kind of neo-ambient, avant-jazz flavour, and...

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger (EMI) While there's an easy case to make for Bowie's Low and Heroes albums to be in any Essential Elsewhere collection, Lodger from '79 -- his more difficult third album in "the Berlin trilogy" which he made with Brian Eno -- has always been overlooked or dismissed. Certainly it lacks that sudden...

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Eden Mulholland: Music for Dance (Isaac)

Probably this shouldn't work. Music for dance pieces have to be special to exist without the moving images -- and yet in theory they should be able to do exactly that. These do. Eden Mulholland has written for numerous New Zealand dance productions and is the singer-songwriter in the rock band Motorcade, but here he collects 23 discreet,...

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

In his insightful, provocative and usefully gossipy book The Rest is Noise (2007), the writer and critic Alex Ross took a free-wheeling survey of 20th century classical music and addressed why the damn stuff had become so difficult for "modern" audiences. As with jazz -- which lost its populist mandate when free form arrived and...

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LARAAJI (2012): Relax, you are feeling sleepy

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LARAAJI (2012): Relax, you are feeling sleepy

Rather cruelly, when the English rock writer Andy Gill reviewed the Laraaji album Days of Radiance back in 1980 he opened with "Zzzzz . . ." Fair call in some ways, but in its defense the album was the third in Brian Eno's ambient series and the second side was taken up with two long pieces entitled Meditation #1 and Meditation #2....

Various Artists: 135 Grand Street New York 1979 (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

Various Artists: 135 Grand Street New York 1979 (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

New York's short-lived No Wave movement was sort of punk with pretention: the untutored would collide with instruments, throw up "art statements" or aggressive political and/or social views, and appealed to an alarmingly small audience of like-minded people. Lydia Lunch is credited with the first using the term to describe bands...

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

Choreographer Robert Wilson is one of those rare individuals who can dress a stage to look like a private dream inspired by the stillness of a Rene Magritte paiting or a mad cabaret populated by frogs and floating chairs. Either way, at a glance you can spot a Wilson design. They are idiosyncratic, unique, often visionary, sometimes...

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

And in this further installment, our heroes effect a blend of Barrett-era Floyd (given a techno twist) and Baba O'Reilly-meets-Pseudo Echo (on the soundstage of Bladerunner) then set their control to the heart of dancefloor synthedelic music. Add some pure pop vocals out of the Brian Wilson school with a few nods to Kraftwerk's Motorik beats...

Robert Wyatt: His Greatest Misses (Ryko/EMI)

Robert Wyatt: His Greatest Misses (Ryko/EMI)

The story of this lifelong Marxist, musician, essayist and British intellectual is perhaps too complex too go into here, but here is the short-hand. Drummer in the innovative jazz-rock outfit Soft Machine in the late Sixties; formed the short-lived Matching Mole in the early Seventies; fell from a window in '73 and has been in a wheelcahir...

Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

From the accompanying DVD, you sense this should have been a double CD for us to fully appreciate the long arc and nuances of this, Anderson's first album in a decade. Anderson's work is allusive rather than literal or descriptive, but in these often disturbing, melancholy and dislocated meditations on the state of her country,...

Department of Eagles: Archive 2003 - 2006 (Bella Union)

Department of Eagles: Archive 2003 - 2006 (Bella Union)

Department of Eagles became the vehicle for Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus to get their staccato sonic'n'sample experiments and increasingly dreamy pop into the wider world from their university dorm in New York. Initially they were called Whitey on the Moon, then Dept of Eagles . . . and later Rossen became the mainman in the already...

FREE JAZZ WITH A BLEEP: The Norwegian electronic-jazz label Rune Grammofone

FREE JAZZ WITH A BLEEP: The Norwegian electronic-jazz label Rune Grammofone

Thelonious Monk said, "Jazz and freedom go hand in hand”. We can guess he meant freedom in a political sense, because jazz is about individual expression and in that regard was a vehicle for the aspirations of his people. It's about freedom and post-Monk found its voice in free jazz. Free jazz is much maligned, largely...

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean Genie) and singles like Rebel Rebel and Let's Dance. Critics – because they famously don't dance – gravitate towards the sonic...

Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Opal)

Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Opal)

In the early Seventies the ambient albums by Brian Eno -- sometimes soundtracks for quiet, imagined films -- ushered in a kind of intelligent ambient music and the music on his Obscure label brought people like Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman and others to a wider audience than they might have otherwise enjoyed. Eno's own Music for Films series,...

MICHAEL NYMAN INTERVIEWED (1993): Play us a film, piano man

MICHAEL NYMAN INTERVIEWED (1993): Play us a film, piano man

For director Jane Campion to have as noted a composer as Michael Nyman to score the soundtrack for her film The Piano was as simple as a phone call. From his home in Toulouse, Nyman -- whose extensive career is best known for his soundtracks to Peter Greenaway films – acknowledges that he knew Campion’s previous films...

Dudley Benson: Forest, Songs by Hirini Melbourne (Golden Retriever)

Dudley Benson: Forest, Songs by Hirini Melbourne (Golden Retriever)

Those many of us seduced by Dudley Benson's previous album (and EPs which preceded it) might not have anticipated the manner of this new one, an entirely a capella art music project based on the poems (birds, the spider) by the late Hirini Melbourne who, with Richard Nunns, led the revival of taonga puoru (tradional Maori instruments) . . . and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Subtitled “Alternative Takes on Congotronics”, this well-annotated double disc lets loose alternative and post-rock acts on the lo-fi but compelling music from Kinshasa dance clubs where cheap keyboards and beat-machines were slammed alongside traditional thumb piano, found instruments (pots'n'pans), megaphones, electric guitars...

The Fleetwoods: Runaround (1960)

The Fleetwoods: Runaround (1960)

It was disappointing to see a blurb on the top of an article about Dudley Benson repeat the hoary line that he "bridges the gap between the pop music of Kylie Minogue" and  . . . in this case . . . the waiata of Hirini Melbourne. The Kylie reference -- something I suspect Benson made some years ago -- was utterly irrelevant with...

PHIL MANZANERA OF ROXY MUSIC INTERVIEWED (2010): When work is play

PHIL MANZANERA OF ROXY MUSIC INTERVIEWED (2010): When work is play

Guitarist Phil Manzanera remembers very clearly how and when he first met the band that would give him his career, Roxy Music. “Yes, I failed the audition,” he says about that day in '71when he went to a house in Battersea and plugged in his Gibson ES-325 (“unfashionable for Roxy Music”) to play alongside singer...

BRYAN FERRY INTERVIEWED (2004): Something he just threw on?

BRYAN FERRY INTERVIEWED (2004): Something he just threw on?

Let's be honest, this is how we think Bryan Ferry spends his days: he rises just before noon after having tea, toast, marmalade and the daily papers delivered to his bedroom. His manservant lays out his crisply pressed white suit in his dressing room. He'll flick the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair to see what his famous friends have been...

Darkstar: North (Hyperdub/Southbound)

Darkstar: North (Hyperdub/Southbound)

By happy coincidence I mistook this band's name for that of a prog outfit I was once curious about -- maybe if I had heard the words "dubstep electronia" (which is how they are sometimes described) I might not have so enthusiastically pulled it out of the pile. Not that prog is my thing, but the Darkstar I was thinking about had a...

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2: Mysterious Ways (The Perfecto Remix, 1991)

U2 may have reverted to musical type with stadium anthems and those long chiming chords which roll towards singalong or bellicose choruses, but around the time of Achtung Baby and Zooropa they were a genuinely innovative band. And much of the music of that period lent itself to remixing and mashing.  Their fan magazine Propaganda issued...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

Brian Eno once said that there would come a time when the Velvet Underground were discussed in the same breath as the Beatles with regard to their influence and importance. He said that when very few people in rock culture had really given serious consideration to this band out of New York which recalibrated the coordinates of rock music....

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Curiously, it has only been in recent years that the British music press "discovered" Arthur Russell. But maybe not so curious: Russell died of Aids-related illnesses in '92 and although he left behind literally many hundreds of reels of recordings (everything from disco through experimental pop to Russell singing with just his cello...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

In the late Seventies Wire delivered a trifecta of classic post-punk, minimalist and arty albums -- Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 – then called it a day. In subsequent decades they reformed dropping drummer Robert Gotobed to appear as an alt.electro-rock outfit (not much cop), in the past decade their sound became more aggressive...

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

In many ways Rory Johnston looked exactly what he was, the vice-president of A&R (artists and repertoire) of a contemporary classical music label. It was there in the high, broad forehead and clear eyes, in the modulated speech and the vocabulary which didn't shy from a polysyllable or two. When I met him in the mid Nineties in...

Brian Eno and David Byrne: The Jezebel Spirit (1981)

Brian Eno and David Byrne: The Jezebel Spirit (1981)

When the Brian Eno and David Byrne album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts appeared in 1981, the musical, social and cultural climate was very different. Hip-hop had yet to establish the widespread use of sampling (although of course there had been artists who had used the technique), and the idea of a beat-driven album by two intellectual boffins...

JOHN CALE INTERVIEWED (2005): Flipping the Velvet

JOHN CALE INTERVIEWED (2005): Flipping the Velvet

At the end of a digressive conversation with John Cale, I thank him for his time then add, "and I didn't even mention The Other Band". Cale -- Welsh, classically trained and fiercely intellectual -- lets go a baritone chuckle and says, "and thank you" -- then makes his escape, as if fearing inevitable questions about it may...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Rhian Sheehan

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Rhian Sheehan

New Zealand electronica artists Rhian Sheehan has steered an astute path between experimental and ambient, orchestrated and elemental music, and as a result has been picking up acclaim from the main thread of electronica artists and also for his soundtrack work. One of his works, We Are Astronomers, is used by Britain's National Space Centre...

TOMASZ STANKO, LONTANO: Emotion from a distance

TOMASZ STANKO, LONTANO: Emotion from a distance

Rock audiences have a forgivable problem with jazz groups: the membership of jazz outfits can just keep changing. If you like the Arctic Monkeys chances are you can expect the line-up not to change much over the years. Rock bands -- for the most part -- have an enviable stability which they guard jealously. Consider how long it took for...

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: Forbidden Planets Vol 2 (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Subtitled "More Music from the Pioneers of Electronic Sound", this double disc with a booklet will not be for everyone. But if the original theme to Dr Who, the Bebe and Louis Barron soundtrack on the film Forbidden Planet and even the more demanding music in 2001: A Space Odyssey (nope, not the Strauss) held any appeal then you should...

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

Despite the title here being appropriated from David Bowie, this does seem a fair description of Brian Eno, the self-described "non-musician" who made his name in Roxy Music as the flamboyant synth-twiddler who brought an avant-garde sensibility to a band which might have otherwise simply sounded retro and poopy. Eno's sonic...

Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells ((Warp)

Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells ((Warp)

Brian Eno first encountered the work of poet/spoken word artist Rick Holland more than a decade ago and despite some small attempts to collaborate things didn't come to much. Until now. Here Eno creates the textural soundbeds for these readings of Holland's work by various people (himself included) and sometimes they have a drilling, intense...

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

Early in this insightful 100 minute portrait of the American composer John Adams by Tony Palmer, Adams cites Milton Babbitt's article Who Cares If You Listen? and being struck by the cavalier attitude of many composers who knew they had no audience and had created a mindset which "basically said 'Screw you'." "I remember...

Jakszyk, Fripp, Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles (MPL)

Jakszyk, Fripp, Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles (MPL)

With the (almost) complete Pink Floyd catalogue being re-presented shortly, the Moody Blues arriving on our shores and bands like The Mars Volta, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree pushing the boundaries, there seems to be quite a lot of progressive rock, if not exactly old school prog-rock, out there. Of course it never really went away and...

Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM (ECM)

Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM (ECM)

The usually restrained ECM isn't a risk-averse label -- how well some remember the textural noise of Lask and the guitar abuse of David Torn -- so when they open the vaults for manipulation you know the result will be nothing like the Verve and Blue Note remix albums. Here this Berlin-based electronica duo improvise with pre-existing...

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

In Dublin, at the end of the final U2 concert on the Lovetown tour in 1989 -- broadcast to 200 million in a live radio link up -- Bono said they would now “go away and dream it all up again”. From a scrappy post-punk band at the start of the decade they had delivered half a dozen albums which connected them with a global...

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

CAN'S CLASSIC TAGO MAGO; 40 YEARS ON (2011): Pre-post-rock with a sonic sweep

If you applied cold logic, on paper most band line-ups wouldn't make much sense. With hindsight you can see the internal faultlines which would pull apart so many of them. None of that matters of course, as long as at some point they make great music. And Can out of Germany certainly did that, although on paper the line-up for their...

ROXY MUSIC: REMAKE REMODEL RERELEASE (2012)

ROXY MUSIC: REMAKE REMODEL RERELEASE (2012)

Before one of their earliest live shows – at the rain-soaked Great Western Festival in May 1972, on the bill with hard-rockers Nazareth – Roxy Music saxophonist Andy Mackay was grabbed for a quick interview about this group which was starting to gain attention. They'd just signed to Island Records and their self-titled...

BRIAN ENO (2014): The brain that wouldn't die

BRIAN ENO (2014): The brain that wouldn't die

I was so far behind on phone technology it wasn't until late December that I bought an iPhone. And I didn't muck about. I went straight for an iPhone 5 . . . which took me three weeks to figure out the basics. That's what happens when you leap from a secondhand pushbike into a new BMW. The first playful app I got was one my son...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Roxy Music; Original Classic Albums

THE BARGAIN BUY: Roxy Music; Original Classic Albums

While it is only right and proper to acclaim the first two Eno-period Roxy Music albums as their finest for the innovation and sheer gall of their arthouse conceit, it is also unfair to dismiss their gleam-sheen later period covered by these two albums. Siren from '75 (and that's singer Bryan Ferry's then gal-pal Jerry Hall on the cover)...

Brian Eno, Before And After Science (1977)

Brian Eno, Before And After Science (1977)

Of the many dozens of diverse albums by Brian Eno -- who flared onto the music scene for the first two glam-louche Roxy Music albums -- this is the best window into his remarkable career. As a producer he was pivotal in the work of David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads, U2 among many others. But he also created seminal albums of ambient music...

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Only a rare band could count among its admirers and proselytisers the young Johnny Rotten, David Bowie and Brian Eno, eccentric UK rocker Julian Cope, and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Oh, and various contemporary classical composers, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and post-hippie rock fans. But then, Can from Germany were a...

Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene (1977)

Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene (1977)

Sometimes in history there comes that rare conjunction of the artist, the time and the art. In the case of Jean Michel Jarre it seemed they were all out of alignment. He could not have chosen a more inhospitable climate into which release his work. Jarre's album Oxygene came out in France in 1976 but wasn't given release in...

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