INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Music JUNE 25, 2014 - by Guido Farnell
ENO/HYDE: HIGH LIFE
Just a few weeks after the release of previous album Someday World, the particularly fecund collaboration of uber producer Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde has yielded yet another album's worth of tunes. However, High Life stands apart from their previous work in that it isn't merely a collection of tracks that didn't quite make Someday World.
The duo have previously flirted with Afrobeat but had inserted it into a fractured and awkward fusion of pop, polyrhythms and minimalist repetition. This time around Eno and Hyde have opted for less of a sound clash, turning out a more straightforward whiteboy Afrobeat funky sound awash with a distinctly English experimental sensibility. For instance,_the album's opener pits a funky rhythm guitar against dreary depressive lyrics. It's a bittersweet start that blindsides us to the joy of DBF and Moulded Life, which showcase these dudes at their Fela Kuti and James Brown funkiest.
These tunes see the duo shifting away from highly textured synthetic soundscapes for what sounds like a more stripped, almost back band-based approach The six tracks, clocking in at anywhere between four and nine minutes, have a much looser, improvised feel than their first album. Drifting back into more familiar territory, Cells & Bells finds them working with synths to create a glimmering ambience into which vocodered voices drop lyrics about growth, regeneration and new beginnings. A rewarding listen from a couple of old hands who know how to play this game.