sat 28/01/2023

Album: Brian Eno - Foreverandevernomore | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Brian Eno - Foreverandevernomore

Album: Brian Eno - Foreverandevernomore

Eno's ambient approach to the climate emergency

'His baritone voice intones and settles over a murmuration of bleeps and wooshes'

“Our only hope of saving our planet is if we begin to have different feelings about it,” Brian Eno writes in introduction to his new album in five years, Foreverandevernomore (the first featuring his own vocals since 2005’s Another Day on Earth).

“Perhaps if we became re-enchanted by the amazing improbability of life; perhaps if we suffered regret and even shame at what we’ve already lost; perhaps if we felt exhilarated by the challenges we face and what might yet become possible.”

Not, he adds, that this is a preachy album of propaganda songs. And it isn’t. Its mood music. It intimates, not instructs. Album opener “Who Gives a Thought” is stacked with the sonic tectonics of whichever algorithms and electronic synth pads Eno is experimenting with at the moment, while his baritone voice intones and settles over a murmuration of bleeps and wooshes.

“We Let it In” features an undertow of the kind of sublingual, guttural breathing you may get on slasher-movie soundtracks right before a killing, set against vocal images of “the sun running gay with open arms though fields”, giving you the feeling something bad’s going to happen, and soon. “Icarus or Bleriot” features more of the album’s out-of-this-world electronics – Eno still finds sounds in the ether that none of us have heard before now – and its conflagration of the falling boy of Greek myth and the first person to fly the English Channel points to the civilisational fall from grace into global warming and its hot, fevered breath in our faces.

His brother Roger features on the album – their 2020 collaboration, Mixing Colours, was excellent – as well as guitarist Leo Abrahams, electronica artist Jon Hopkins, software designer and computer musician Peter Chilvers, Irish singer Clodagh Simonds, and family members Cecily and Darla Eno.

The album’s many layers of electronics and synthesised sounds, caught in their languid, ever-shifting state of suspended animation, are the album’s signature, and while Eno’s treated vocals have a warm and attractive, if sometimes formal, texture, there are contrasting female vocal contributions, too, on the likes of the glacial, wreath-like “I’m Hardly Me”, set against bird-like electronic chirps and shifting sonic backdrops.

If you feel like lying back and drifting off to the land of “forever and ever no more”, do so to the eight-minute album closer, “Making Gardens out of Silence” which begins with textures of sound that feel so delicious you just want to drape them about your skin like a pelt.

@CummingTim

Eno still finds sounds in the ether that none of us have heard before now

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