Rockol DECEMBER 7, 2004 - by Franco Zanetti


I'm using the title and cover of Brian Eno's debut solo album to present an account of the rerelease, in the past few weeks, of the first eight works by the most celebrated non-musician on the international scene.

It deals with a graphically accurate (the digipacks, protected by transparent plastic slipcases, reproduce the artwork of the original vinyl LPs) and philologically respectful effort - almost too much so: a few bonus tracks wouldn't have hurt, especially considering that a few tasty pieces of 45rpm (Seven Deadly Finns, The Lion Sleeps Tonight...) are now available only on expensive box-sets, and added to a couple of these albums would have found their ideal historical collocation.

I won't labour the archival point of view that Eno's productions have been numerous and extremely diverse; however, the albums to which I'm referring here are his first seven solo albums - Here Come The Warm Jets, 1973; Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), 1974; Another Green World, 1975; Discreet Music, 1975; Before And After Science, 1977; Ambient 1: Music For Airports, 1978; Ambient 4: On Land, 1982 - and Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (1980) credited to Harold Budd and Brian Eno. Chronologically missing from the roll-call is Music For Films - like Music For Airports, from 1978 - which perhaps will be more at home as part of a third lot of reissues, hypothetically also consisting of Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (1983), Music For Films Volume 2 and Rarities, these last two included in the 1983 box-set Working Backwards 1983-1973. I'm leaving out Empty Landscapes from 1981, the two collaborations with Cluster and the two with Robert Fripp, the unforgettable and prophetic My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts... well, in other words, like I was saying Eno's discography is like a river, and the job of reconstructing it in detail is one which I gladly leave to collectors and to maniacs.

What I'm compelled to underline is that the decision to rerelease these albums - allowing one to retrace the serpentine and oblique journey of a musical researcher who has been able to impartially venture (and always with results that have at least been significant when not excellent) between electronica and proto-punk, between an almost-satirical grimace and a quasi-intellectual seriousness - should be met with applause. Personally, it gives me the greater pleasure to re-listen to the (apparently) easier early discs, like the debut Here Come The Warm Jets and the successive Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) - but there's also Another Green World with that I'll Come running that still gets to me emotionally. I respect and admire the production of the "furniture music" of the Ambient series - but it be would great if the entire series of ten discs from the Obscure Records that I don't even have them on vinyl were released on CD! - and I anticipate the possibility of some future Sunday afternoons with On Land on repeat in the CD-player. But for Saturday mornings I'll keep the "song albums", sure that I'll be able to derive the same energy and fun they transmitted to me thirty years ago.


Here Come The Warm Jets - Needle In The Camel's Eye / The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch / Baby's On Fire / Cindy Tells Me / Driving Me Backwards / On Some Faraway Beach / Blank Frank / Dead Finks Don't Talk / Some Of Them Are Old / Here Come The Warm Jets

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) - Burning Airlines Give You So Much More / Back In Judy's Jungle / The Fat Lady Of Limbourg / Mother Whale Eyeless / The Great Pretender / Third Uncle / Put A Straw Under Baby / The True Wheel / China My China / Taking Tiger Mountain

Another Green World - Sky Saw / Over Fire Island / St. Elmo's Fire / In Dark Trees / The Big Ship / I'll Come Running / Another Green World / Sombre Reptiles / Little Fishes / Golden Hours / Becalmed / Zawinul/Lava / Everything Merges With The Night / Spirits Drifting

Before And After Science - No One Receiving / Backwater / Kurt's Rejoinder / Energy Fools The Magician / King's Lead Hat / Here He Comes / Julie With... / By This River / Through Hollow Lands / Spider And I

Discreet Music - Discreet Music / Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel (i) "Fullness of Wind" (ii) "French Catalogues" (iii) "Brutal Ardour"

Ambient 1: Music For Airports - 1/1 / 2/1 / 1/2 / 2/2

Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror - First Light / Steal Away / The Plateaux Of Mirror / Above Chiangmai / An Arc Of Doves / Not Yet Remembered / The Chill Air / Among Fields Of Crystal / Wind In Lonely Fences / Failing Light

Ambient 4: On Land - Lizard Point / The Lost Day / Tal Coat / Shadow / Lantern Marsh / Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hill) / A Clearing