Clash JUNE 28, 2011 - by Robin Murray


Brian Eno has spoken about his new collaborative project Drums Between The Bells.

Teaming up with Rick Holland, the initial conversations which prompted Drums Between The Bells took place almost a decade ago. Becoming a fully fledged project last year, the album began to take shape as Brian Eno completed work on his contributions.

Working extensively with one another, Drums Between The Bells is another side step from one of the most confounding yet inspiring figures in music today. Out next week, Brian Eno has decided to release a statement to explain some of the concepts behind the new album.

A fascinating insight into the new project, ClashMusic have decided to offer up the statement entirely without commentary...

"...I suppose it must have liberated my ideas about what a 'song' could consist of: it didn't have to involve singing! There were other examples of music with speech rather than song - the long spoken sections in The Shangri-La's Leader Of The Pack, Mike Berry's Tribute To Buddy Holly, and then a whole slew of spoken country songs such as Wink Martindale's Deck Of Cards. Around the same time I had become fascinated by the sheer strangeness of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, in which he pioneered the idea of 'sprechstimme' - speech-song. More recently, of course, there's the whole vast treasury of hip hop - poetry and music in a more visceral form.

In the late '90's Professor Dan Fern, Head of The Communication Department at The Royal College of Art where I occasionally taught, helped start the Map-Making project, an ongoing series of collaborative works between students of the Royal College, the Guildhall School of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the National Youth Orchestra and the English National Ballet among others. It was at one of these events that I first heard the poems of Rick Holland.

Often we wanted a voice to read, and I had been paying attention over the years to voices I liked. Those on this record include a lady who works at my local health club, a sales assistant in a local store, the Italian research officer at an NGO I'm involved with, a young South African woman I met on the street near my studio, my Polish book-keeper, and a Ukrainian graphic designer... all people with distinctive vocal personalities. The non-native voices interested me because the different-ness of their melodies and timings drew a new kind of attention to the words themselves. Foreigners speaking English often make it much more obviously musical than we natives do. Glitch for example, benefits from the Grazyna's clipped Eastern European consonants, while Laura's softly melodic 'vowel-y' pours it out on Pour It Out.

I hope this record will signal the beginning of a new way for poets to think about their work, and a for audiences to think about poetry. I feel this is an idea whose time has come." - Brian Eno

Drums Between The Bells will be released on July 4.