Brian Eno – Drawn From Life   Leave a comment

The thing that makes a lot of Eno’s best records so great is the organic. The records that you can hear (feel) the people on, that are not simply the well crafted output of machinery running in the background. On “Drawn From Life” it seems like he went back and listened to some of his older, more organic records. This time Eno is working with J. Peter Schwalm. Hopefully, this is the first of more collaborations because the results are excellent.

About the tracks…

“From This Moment” is a very “Discreet”-like introduction that segues beautifully into “Persis,” which sounds like a track that should have been on “Spinner.”

“Like Pictures Part #1” sounds like we came in toward the end of… something. Barely distinguishable voices in the background segue into “Like Pictures Part #2.” Starting with mildly treated drums, backwards tape loops, hand claps, and a violin surface, stretching the time to somewhere between Middle-Eastern and a One-Drop.

And Laurie Anderson, telling us, “Some things are just pictures. They’re scenes before your eyes. Don’t look now. I’m right behind you.” As an aside, I wish Brian and Laurie would stop, er, pussyfooting around and make an entire record together.

“Night Traffic” and “Rising Dust” are mid-tempo and dark, and would fit nicely with Bill Frisell’s “Blues Dream.” “Rising Dust” has some way cool background drum loops, beautiful piano, and heavily processed vocals (the phrasing makes me think it’s Laurie again). “Rising Dust” almost fades out completely before segueing into “Intenser.” This track includes another processed vocal, this time, it sounds like Eno.

“More Dust” fades up, and in a way to suggest that we’ve arrived in the middle of something again. There is an odd sense of closure on this track, having “Night Traffic” through “More Dust” sounding like the soundtrack to a short film that may or may not exist.

“Bloom” takes a page from the Jethro Tull / Pink Floyd School of Culinary Arts, with a slightly buried in the mix “field” recording of The onE and a Younger onE in the kitchen getting something to eat. All of the instrumentation sounds *very* analog, with headphones on you can hear the electronics misbehaving, etc. “Bloom” closes with a request for pineapple, and about two and a half minutes of silence.

Using low volume and headphones, the two processed vocals on “Two Voices” are surprisingly understandable. There is almost four minutes of silence bewteen “Two Voices,” and the instrumental version of “Bloom.”

While there are 11 tracks on this disc, arguably, you are listening to four multi-part works. In the case of “Bloom” through “Bloom (Instrumental)” it’s a good thing Eno didn’t give the two sections of silence their own track numbers, making it easy to discarding an important part of the work: Space (Silence).

Drawn From Life sounds great in a variety of listening contexts: Big speakers at moderate volume, and 4 Ohm A/C Delcos at low volume. Under headphones, it qualifies as one of the best sounding record I’ve heard, from anyone, since “Spinner.” With Drawn From Life, you can work to it, and you can nod off to it. It is truly environmental music.

Fans and long time listeners should be very happy with Drawn From Life. If you are new to Eno’s work, this is a very good place to start.

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Posted 2017/07/26 by MG Nagy in Uncategorized

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