Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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The Telegraph OCTOBER 14, 2022 - by James Hall

BRIAN ENO: FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE

As his former bandmates in Roxy Music hit the road for possibly the last time, Brian Eno releases his twenty-second studio album, a collection of ambient soundscapes featuring him singing on the majority of tracks for the first time since 2005. As you'd expect from one of Britain's most cerebral and celebrated sonic adventurers, this isn't the kind of music you can hum in the bath. It's challenging, other-worldly and thought-provoking.

ForeverAndEverNoMoreForeverAndEverNoMore grew out of Eno's feelings about the planet's "narrowing, precarious" future, he has said. The album is so called because parts of the world are disappearing forever: our one hope of saving the planet, Eno argues, lies in us falling in love with nature again. His lyrics therefore examine the impact of climate change and the conflict between the natural world and humans. They're packed with imagery about burning fields, storms, soil, fireflies and nematodes, and the extent of mankind's reckless ambition. Are we Icarus or pioneering aviator Louis Blériot, he asks? Do we fly too high to the sun and perish, or do we keep low?

The track Inclusion features minimalist swathes of synths, strings and spectral whistling noises, as though Philip Glass has jetted into outer space to hang out with The Clangers. There Were Bells, meanwhile, features chirping birds over Eno's hymn-like delivery. His voice is soft, slow, precise and effects-drenched throughout, adding to the quasi-religious, monk-like atmospherics. He's joined by family members on some tracks. These Small Noises features Jon Hopkins on keyboards and Irish singer Clodagh Simonds on vocals (it's the closest thing here to a traditional song). It's light and mesmerising with cascading piano and multi-layered folky vocals. Until, that is, you listen to the words. "Go to Earth / Our hair on fire / Go to Hell / In Hell to burn" it goes. Suddenly we're in Wicker Man folk-horror territory. It's less chill out, more chilling.


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