INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Beat JULY 23, 2014 - by Bronius Zumeris
ENO & HYDE: HIGH LIFE
Brian Eno and collaborations seem to fit like hand in glove: whether the eclectic Robert Fripp or the obtuse Cluster or Jon Hassell or the borderline-popular David Byrne and John Cale. Take the latter two. It took decades for the Byrne and Eno artistic subplot to reappear, and whilst it is unlikely the Cale and Eno collaboration will return, the majesty of Wrong Way Up cannot be surpassed.
This Eno and Hyde project is different. Half of Underworld are on board on the second record they have released at hurricane speed. Other parties on the trip are guitarist Leo Abrahams, a strong recording artist in his own right, and vocalist Marianne Champion (see Time To Waste It and the probably unintended rhythmic similarity to the Beasts Of Bourbon's Get On. Now there's an unlikely combination). Keyboardist Fred Gibson fills out the sound.
Return begins this journey with the well-established laid-back and introspective Eno in invective mode. He is never one to over-emote but here he sounds almost sedated. Yet he is at one with the music and there is no dislocation with the eerie beat. Then BAM!! DBF is all Tom Tom Club funk with a splash of Talking Heads and a sprinkle of James Chance and Miles Davis.
Lilac is arguably the best and most arresting song. What could mistakenly be interpreted as random sounds combine into intricate melodies and jagged vocals which develop into exultation. Moulded Life reminds of Eno's earlier collaborations with clinical German types who thrived on cold electronics searching for some warmth. Dazed but resolute, this composition pricks your attention like a poke in the eye, just in case you were getting too comfortable.
Cells & Bells on the other hand requires some concerted thought and assessment to decide whether its inclusion on this record is vindicated. It sounds too much like an unfinished idea or simply filler. Nevertheless, hitting a rich source makes this an enjoyable collaboration and allows the listener to absorb some leading boffin-rock.