At It Again – New Works from Brian Eno and Underworld’s Karl Hyde

Friday saw the debut of Brian Eno’s latest album – The Ship following the release of ts epic 21-minute self-titled single.

DSC06858.JPGThe Ship accompanied by an official postcard from Eno • Hyde

Like so many of Eno’s albums, this record serves more to inspire thoughtful consideration and reflection than it does casual enjoyment. Unlike Discreet Music or Airports, this is not sonic wallpaper or furniture music, though it resonates a similar ethereal sonic quality. The Ship has a somber and harrowing essence, serving as a dire reflection on the Titanic disaster and the horrors of WWI. But the record maintains a meditative and cerebral tone rewarding to any listener who’ll give the album their full attention.

The double LP includes more of Eno’s art prints. The works are semblant of the visualizations from his 77 Million Paintings generative software. Not particularly inspiring, they function better conceptually rather than visually.

Also this week, Eno’s recent collaborator Karl Hyde released a short art film of an installation he produced for Underworld’s latest album, Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future. I found the fervent and tactile quality of Hyde’s work more engaging than the static nature of Eno’s prints.

Hyde’s Tokyo Street Poem features Soundscape by Underworld’s other half, Rick Smith and was exhibited at Parco, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan in March 2016 as part of the Tomato 25th Anniversary Exhibition.

Underworld also recently premiered a choreographed dance film for the album’s track, “If Rah”, but once again, I believe the concept was better executed by other artists in years prior.

Amelia: A Film by Edouard Lock With La La La Human Steps (2002) features David Lang’s cover of “I’m Waiting For My Man” with choreographed dancers Mistaya Hemmingway and Jason Shipley-Holmes. The film is striking and visually captivating.

Sigur Ros produced an equally effective film piece for their valtari film experiment – a collection of 16 short films made for the valtari album. The 2012 film features Ekki múkk, Valtari, Rembihnútur and Varúð. It is a passionate and emotive work.

If you missed my feature on Underworld’s latest album, check it out!  And I’ll be back next Saturday with my latest culturally-inspired creative and research projects.

Stay tuned!

Flaming Lips Collection

After hearing 7 Skies H3 (the 24 hour Song Skull) and a number of other Lips’ releases that I’ve neglected for far too long I decided to track down the colored vinyl editions of all my favorite Flaming Lips albums.

I already had a sealed copy of the limited edition 180g 2LP + bonus CD pressing of The Soft Bulletin for starters.  This album is a sonic masterpiece from start to finish.  Once the new pre-amp and interconnects arrive I just might take off the shrink and give it a spin.

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The next disc I picked up was the red vinyl pressing of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.  The beautiful artwork is a perfect match for the record – it sounds just like it looks.

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So last weekend I went digging through the Discogs database and found limited ed. colored vinyl pressings of At War With the Mystics and Embryonic.  One was a UK issue and the other a US pressing.  I spent a few days tracking down the best-priced copies I could find and then jumped on them.

Here’s Mystics…

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And I learned that the original colored issue of Embryonic had two mistakes: The first song on side D (Scorpio Sword) was accidentally placed at the end of side C and while disc 1 was pressed in blue vinyl the second LP was accidentally pressed on black.

As a result, Warner Bros. sold 100 copies at the album release show and destroyed the rest.

This second run corrected both mistakes.  Here’s Embryonic pressed in translucent colored vinyl.

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I really enjoyed everything from the Soft Bulletin forward, including their experimental works such as Zarieeka (four CDs which are intended to be played simultaneously), Two Blobs Fucking (a dozen youtube videos also written to be played at once), the 1996 Parking Lot Experiment, and the aforementioned 24 Hour Song Skull.

Now I’m curious about their early work.  Their first six LPs were full of outrageous song titles such as “One Million Billionth Of A Millisecond On A Sunday Morning,” “Jesus Shooting Heroin,” “The Spontaneous Combustion Of John” and many others.

I have digital copies of their extended discography so in the coming week I’ll be taking in their releases from 1986-1997.  I may end up with a colorful collection of all their re-issues by the time I’m done.  But with album art like this…

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…how can I resist?