Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno

Beat JANUARY 19, 2011 - by Bronius Zumeris

BRIAN ENO: SMALL CRAFT ON A MILK SEA

After acquiring legendary status and receiving adoration from pretty much any young band with a synthesizer (case in point: MGMT's fawning Brian Eno), surely there must be some urge for Brian Eno to kick back and coast off the influx of U2/Bowie/Coldplay/Windows 95 production royalties? Instead, the past few years have found the ambient pioneer as prolific as ever - recent activities include an album-length collaboration with long-time cohort David Byrne, transforming the Sydney Opera House for his 77 Million Paintings installation, re-teaming for a Roxy Music pseudo-reunion on Bryan Ferry's solo release Olympia, just to name a select few.

Signing with Warp, the iconic UK electronica imprint, Eno builds upon the outtakes from 2009's The Lovely Bones scoring sessions to form his latest solo release, all with the added help of contemporary artists Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams.

This bridging of the generation gap encompasses the history of electronic music, dotting its timeline with points of reference, instilling the record with an overlying sense of timelessness. Small Craft On A Milk Sea works best when upping the bpm with shades of '90s techno, generating rushes of anxiety akin to modern electronica darlings Fuck Buttons. 2 Forms Of Anger provides an exhilarating tease which builds to the eventual payoff with thrashing guitars and a minimalist punk beat, whereas the following Bone Jump plods along at a pace which sounds goofy in comparison.

By again adopting his Music For Films approach, Eno carves a series of musical landscapes rather than the bearing the template for popular song. The eclectic range of ideas on offer means that a listener would be hard-pressed to not discover something palatable in the album's fifteen tracks. While there are some dull moments, the recordings which command repeat listening far outweigh the more easily skippable. Although far from scaling the heights of the seminal Another Green World, or the instrumental selections from Bowie's storied Berlin trilogy, Small Craft On A Milk Sea finds Eno once again proving his relevance with a worthy collection of electronic musings.


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