INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Sound Colour Vibration JULY 5, 2011 - by Erik Otis
BRIAN ENO AND THE WORDS OF RICK HOLLAND: DRUMS BETWEEN THE BELLS
Brian Eno always comes to mind when thinking about ambient music and the foundations of electronic music. Sonic landscapes from modulated gadgetry, Brian Eno has created a massive body of work that represents some of the best experiments with electronic music. With scores of solo and collaborative albums released during his lifetime, Brian Eno is now releasing records with Warp Records which saw the first release, Small Craft On A Milk Sea in late of 2010. Paired with Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins, Small Craft On A Milk Sea is very cinematic in feeling and approach. Now Brian Eno releases an entirely different type of album with the collaboration of Rick Holland. Rick contributes all of the written material that is brought to life by Brian Eno, Rick Holland and a cast of others all in their respective circles. The first piece Bless This Space starts off with a thick bass line and steady, minimal drum work that as highlighted in full by a really fat sounding synthesizer. Brian Eno does vocal contribution on the first piece and starts with the line, "Bless this space in sound and rhyme". His tone is deep and fitting for the swirling synth that dances around the rhythm section that never changes. The synth at the end takes over and becomes just as heavy as the lyrics before it was let loose. The element of synthesizers gives it a feeling of coming from another planet.
This album is very rhythmic in approach, something that is a bit of a different in the world Brian Eno. Considering all of the installation and ambient non-rhythmic music he has created over the years, this album comes as a fresh breath and unique window into the different sides Brian Eno can express. Really tight rhythm sections that rely on minimal changes and scales are always given the highest attention to tone and emotion. Nothing is sparred and every moment counts for the whole. The different vocalists present create a different ride for each song. Just as the dark, new age psychedelic tapestry of the first track comes to an end, you stumble into a sci-fi derived electro track with robot sounding vocals. Beautiful synthesizer runs with shape shifting layers coming in and out, there is always a color in every piece that is different from any other piece. By the time you get through the third track and its sparse yet dark piano and vocal duo sound, you realize how different each song is going to be. Brian Eno has been composing music for well over thirty years and these compositions give so much attention to detail, emotion and are a reflection of the lyrics presented.
The lyrics that Rick Holland wrote for this album are surreal and imaginative on many levels. Anyone who loves the expansion of themes used in a lyrical setting will love how each vocalist represents the lyrics they were designated to recite. The manipulation of these lyrics gives rise to even more curiosity as to why they were written in the way they were. The fourth piece, Pour It Out shows how the elegant and tasteful nature of the past can fit so well with this cross genre ride from Brian Eno. Violins, bass and a beautiful-sounding piano are the perfect balance to the synthetic nature of what a lot of the album represents. The album was released with a second disc containing instrumental versions of the music for anyone out there who wanted to experience what that has to offer. Drums Between The Bells is a complete voyage of poetry, sonic landscapes, electronic manifestations and surreal composition all summed up in one creation. The vocals are in a few different languages and are heavily treated to further expand on the imagery they are creating. I really love the moments Brian Eno stretches out with his synth and shows his emotion through the medium of a solo. A perfect example of that is on the track, A Title. Stunning on many levels, this is a ride you can't miss.
TRACK-LIST - Disc 1: Bless This Space / Glitch / Dreambirds / Pour It Out / Seedpods / The Real / The Airman / Fierce Aisles Of Light / As If Your Eyes Were Partly Closed... As If You Honed The Swirl Within Them... And Offered Me The World / A Title / Sounds Alien / Dow / Multimedia / Cloud 4 / Silence / Breath Of Crows - Disc 2: Seeded / Pour / Bird Dreaming / Itch / Fiercer Aisles / Real / Spaced / Dense Air / Another Title / Nikkei / Cloud 5 / Alienated / As If Your Eyes / Monomedia / Crows
VOCALS: Brian Eno (1, 8, 12, 14, 16) / Anastasia Afonina (8) / Aylie Cooke (7, 11, 13) / Caroline Wildi (3, 5, 10) / Elisha Mudly (6) / Grazyna Goworek (2) / Laura Spagnuolo (4) / Nick Robertson (8) / Rick Holland (8)