MORE DARK THAN SHARK - FEATURE
ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
Geeta Dayal explores Brian Eno's first ambient excursion.
The serene, delicate songs on Another Green World sound practically meditative, but the album itself was an experiment fuelled by adrenaline, panic, and pure faith. It was the first Brian Eno album to be composed almost completely in the confines of a recording studio, over a scant few months in the summer of 1975. The album was a proof of concept for Eno's budding ideas of "the studio as musical instrument," and a signpost for a bold new way of thinking about music.
In this book, Geeta Dayal unravels Another Green World's abundant mysteries, venturing into its dense thickets of sound. How was an album this cohesive and refined formed in such a seemingly ad hoc way? How were electronics and layers of synthetic instruments used to create an album so redolent of the natural world? How did a deck of cards figure into all of this? Here, through interviews and archival research, she unearths the strange story of how Another Green World formed the link to Eno's future - foreshadowing his metamorphosis from unlikely glam rocker to sonic painter and producer.
From the author's preface:
One of the most instructive things I did was to listen to Another Green World at a number of different speeds. Each time I heard something new that I had not heard before - a new sound that was buried in the mix, for example, or an effect, a heavily layered backing vocal, an abstruse lyric. Speeding up and slowing down Discreet Music taught me a lot, too; the title track of Discreet Music, or "Side One" if you happen to own a vinyl copy, is recorded at half-speed. So I listened to it at double-speed, to gain some insight into what the original material might have sounded like before Eno slowed it down. I also listened to it at quarter-speed, which I liked even more than Eno's half-speed version.
I still haven't gotten tired of these albums, though it's possible that I may have listened to Another Green World more times than Eno has. I become more drawn to these records the more I listen. Recently, I put the album on after not listening to it for a while. I was really moved by it, playing it over and over and hearing something new in its flow each time. It was like I could see the pathways of all the electronic music that came before it and after it, travelling through that record like so many streams.
I often think that Another Green World's longevity comes from its innate ambiguity. The more you listen, the more beguiling and open-ended the album becomes. In contrast to many other albums from the mid-1970s, the record doesn't sound dated at all. Another Green World isn't stuck in the past or fixated on the future - it continues to live its own life in the fabric of the present.
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