INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Select JANUARY 1994 - by Stuart Maconie
BRIAN ENO: BOX SET ONE / BOX SET TWO
Given that a member of a rock band who can negotiate anything more complex than a minibar's locking system qualifies as an intellect of Sartrean proportions, it's no surprise that we talk about 'Professor' Eno. Similarly, because this postman's son from Suffolk has had the temerity to be interested in, oh, several things at the same time and not all of them the new Bob Dylan album, he gets called a dilettante by the massed low foreheads of music's cro-magnon critical circle. Pah!
These six CDs, lovingly arranged into two handsome artefacts along vocal/instrumental lines, cost the same as a Benetton jersey, or a standard single fare from Birmingham to Darlington. Put like that it seems rather cheap for a history of the big pop ideas of the last twenty years.
Bowie recently accused Eno of "singing like a litul gurl" but was only joshing as anyone who heard the backing vocal on James' Sometimes will concur. The vocal half of this set is an off-kilter joy - Eno's melancholic strains pulling sometimes with, sometimes against the brittle miniatures of Another Green World, the corrosive art-punk of his early LPs or the beautiful Before And After Science meditatives. The instrumental selections show every facet of his personality from his ambient recordings to his cryptic space jazz adventures. Thrill as dramatic pop experiments are carried out! Gasp as hip hop, ambient music, post-modern rock and punk are invented. You'll believe a small, balding man called Brian can change pop music as we know it.