INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Rolling Stone APRIL 21, 2016 - by Christopher R. Weingarten
BOTH SIDES OF ENO IN ONE ALBUM
The Ship combines singalong tunes with ambient drift
Brian Eno discovered a new tool while making his first album in nearly four years: "As you get older, your voice drops. I realised I could now hit a low C." That lower register helped Eno, sixty-seven, write The Ship, which mixes the art-rock vocals of LPs like 1975's Another Green World with the free-flowing drifts of his pioneering ambient work. For the twenty-one-minute title track, Eno fed paragraphs into an algorithmic text generator - including a lifeboat passenger's description of the Titanic sinking, filthy soldiers' songs from World War I, and his own scrapped lyrics - and pored through the tangled results.
The album includes a gorgeous cover of The Velvet Underground's I'm Set Free, a tribute to Eno's friend Lou Reed. "I struggled for a long time about whether I become a pop musician or a fine artist," he says. "The Velvet Underground made me realise they could be the same thing."
Upcoming live shows will feature alternative versions of the LP as well as a "three-dimensional" audio installation that includes some thirty loudspeakers atop "monolithic structures." It will be the fullest realisation of the idea that inspired The Ship: "What about making a song that you could walk around inside?"