Brian Eno: Drums Between The Bells

Oblique strategist chums up with wordsmith Rick Holland.

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Eno’s most recent collaboration for Warp, last year’s Small Craft On A Milk Sea, was a largely ambient set of improvisations with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. This time out he’s joined by poet Rick Holland, with whom he’s tinkered sporadically over the last decade.

Curious beast it is too. Holland offers up a patchwork of zen meditations on modern life and nature’s place in the digital age – often delivered in spoken-word abstraction by a variety of female guests – while Eno provides a series of polyrhythmic backdrops.

Hats off for the breadth of styles and moods here. At times it’s big’n’beaty (the restlessly robotic Glitch) or highly kinetic (the heavy industro-noise of Sounds Alien), with occasional hints of Eno’s syncopated first dalliance with David Byrne, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, or even 1992’s Nerve Net.

Elsewhere though it’s more meditative, ponderous and, well, a tad noodly.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.