INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Forte SEPTEMBER 18, 2003 - by Kim Porter
Brian Eno / Before And After Science
Brian Peter George St Baptiste de la Salle Eno was born in England, in 1948. Twenty-three years later he was wearing outrageous clothes, Bowie-style transgender make-up, and playing keyboards in Roxy Music. However, there was only room for one showman named Brian, and when (the story goes) Eno began finding his equipment moving from centre-stage, closer and closer to the wings - eventually finding himself set up completely offstage - he left the band to Bryan Ferry and embarked on a solo career.
After virtually single-handedly inventing 'ambient music' (ironically due to a car crash that had laid him up for months on end, unable to play music), 1977's Before And After Science was Eno's first guitar-drums-keyboards-vocals album since the debut ambient release, Another Green World, in 1975. Cunningly, much of this album is the application of Eno's ambient discoveries to rework - almost re-invent - the pop-song formula. The songs of side two (CD tracks six to ten) particularly evoke ambient moods - even while they're busy being pop songs! The final number, Spider And I (echoed on the Eno/Bowie "Heroes" collaboration, out the same year), is music so tangibly new, it's spooky.
But listen anywhere on Before And After Science and you'll find amazing things: impossible rhythms, intense sonic layering; cleverly treated sounds. While Bryan Ferry may rank a footnote in the future history of music, with this album, and many others, Brian Eno's name will be counted among the greats - and he's still going strong.