A WEEK OF ENO INSTALLATIONS — DAY 5

DAY FIVE / DISC FIVE

Making Space 

Holy beatbox Batman! I hear clicky percussion, bass; structure, barlines, time signatures… 

The opening track of Making Space, “Needle click”, is nothing even remotely like most people’s understanding of ambient music. Ah, but the box isn’t called ‘Ambient’, my precious, it’s called Music for Installations. So this must be an energetic, world-music inspired, kinetic installation.

The next piece is the neatly titled “Light legs”, a sequenced arpeggio of bell-like notes over a questioning bass excursion. It is an odd and oddly pleasing combination: confidence instilled by the treble sequence above, while underneath, what could be a child exploring random notes on an organic drum. Interesting. Nice.

Two pieces, each around four minutes. This disc is certainly different. Maybe I should attach a post-it note to it so I can pull it out when I want something more foreground, more rhythmic, concise, bounded. What label would capture something of my responses to Making Space?

I’m drawn to Eno’s Koyaanisqatsi for the non-verbal, filmic feel of these short pieces. Music For Destinations, perhaps, captures the different character of each track.

Damn it! This is so different I really want to go to the booklet and find out why. “New Moons” has flippin’ electric guitar! If you loaded the whole box onto your computer you’d get a heck of a wake-up call when disc five started. “New Moons” is great, like a stoned Link Wray. I’m loving it more and more as I unhook from the expectation that all five hours would be hypnotic ambience.

Music is so much about expectations and we often don’t have any idea what pre-existing ear-filters are doing to our listening brains. That’s one of the reasons I crave novelty in my listening, it shakes up the receptors. 

Going a few rounds with Albert Ayler makes Coltrane more accessible. 

Some Alban Berg enhances my enjoyment of Univers Zero. 

Being transported by Terry Riley helps in understanding Klaus Schulze. 

Listening to Making Space makes me want to plot the constellation that links Minimal with Ambient with New Age.

Is “Making Space” an ironic title? Nine pieces with durations varying between two minutes and seven-and-a-half. Total time a bit over half and hour. No wasted space. A short disc crammed with musical ideas, busy with rhythms and forward momentum, demanding listener attention and reclaiming it whenever it strays by briskly moving on to the next track. There’s even a trademark Eno amusing/absurd title; the last (slow and elegiac) piece, “Delightful Universe (seen from above)”. This album is a string of small, beautifully polished jewels…

Five down, one to go.

20 comments

  1. Yeah, yeah but is there any swearing or nudity in the artwork? This is what we need to know!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We’re testing your ambient endurance here, aren’t we Joe?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I love ambient music but swearing and LP sleeve nudity never get old.

        I do like the idea of his changing it up a bit on one disc and making a real break from what had happened before. Mind you he has got a brain the size of a planet – Eno could conceivably take on David Toop in a ‘brain off’.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Now I’d pay good money to witness that bout!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think they’d settle their differences via the medium of 5 dimensional chess.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Ever read the excellent Iain M Banks sci-fi ‘The Player of Games’? that sort of thing.

          (if it has somehow passed you by, I recommend it very strongly)

          Liked by 1 person

        4. No, but duly noted.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. His early sci-fi is just brilliant, far better I think than his ‘normal’ stuff. Player of Games and Consider Phleibas (guessed at the spelling there) are both first-rate.

          Would be great to read whilst listening to your Eno, I’d warrant.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. From the booklet, just for you…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Phew! I am part of his target demographic.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Now, you know that New Moons has got my attention, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As much as I love Eno, and certainly this series of postings of yours on the latest release, I must say the main enjoyment today has been in the comment area. 😉 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is there such a think as ‘ambient crazy’?
      Just the one post to go, Marty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As they at concert’s end: “More!!!!!”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said about pre-formed expectations – part of why I’m hesitant to do too much research before listening to a new-to-me 1001 artist.
    The penultimate Eno post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right!
      Paradoxically, music that seems very strange and challenging to our ears (Uneasy Listening?) can become known and cherished via greater knowledge. ‘Bitches Brew’ is a classic example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember you had great advice about reviewing Bitches Brew – I think I heard it in 2016 and you suggested by 2018 or so, I should be about ready to review, just so much to absorb.
        That “please advise” memo about the album title has to be my all time favourite memorandum!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoying this. I had to drop a comment after the “stoned Link Wray” bit. Now you do have my attention. That would have been an interesting collaboration. You are making me very curious Bruce. Beyond curious.

    Like

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