INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
New Zealand Herald AUGUST 4, 2011 - by Scott Kara
BRIAN ENO: DRUMS BETWEEN THE BELLS
This makes two albums in two years for super-producer and ambient master Brian Eno. Though it doesn't match the majesty, intense tranquillity, and occasionally fun mood of last year's Small Craft On A Milk Sea, the two albums are hard to compare because they are very different. And this latest offering of music-meets-poetry is not for everyone.
The origins of this collaborative work between Eno and poet Rick Holland go back to 2003, when they first started making music together - they have continued to work on material infrequently ever since. Though none of the music from that initial meeting is on Drums Between The Bells, when Eno had finished Small Craft On A Milk Sea, they both vowed to finish the project properly.
With Eno almost entirely in charge of the music, many different voices recite, and occassionally sing, Holland's words. So there is everything from meditative spoken-word nonsense on Dreambirds, through to lovely, dour final track Breath Of Crows, with a voice like a cross between Michael Gira from Swans and Mark Hollis of Talk Talk.
The album is at its best when the masterful beats and washes of sound are at the forefront and beating a path towards ambient nirvana. Standouts include The Airman, where the vocals are kept to a minimum while eerie bass beats rumble to the surface as if they are being drawn up from an abyss; and agitating beauty Sounds Alien, a noisy, primal anomaly on the album.