INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Under The Radar DECEMBER 8, 2011 - by Joseph Ragusa
BRIAN ENO: PANIC OF LOOKING
Adding to a long career already peppered with collaborations with other artists, Brian Eno offers a gentle, meditative presentation of the poetic words of Rick Holland in his new EP Panic Of Looking. Strongly reminiscent of the quieter, vocal-laced pieces of his earlier classic album Another Green World, the unusual equilibrium established in Panic Of Looking between music and words defies the typical presentation of poetic or spoken word albums, making this work a boundary-pushing examination of the relationship between the two, while delicately subverting our expectations of how the music should serve those accompanying words and vice versa.
Eno is in fine form here, carefully constructing musical soundscapes that draw the listener into a reflective mode that's ideal for soaking in the spoken poems. And Eno is the ideal narrator for the material; his voice creates a soothing and hypnotic mood and draws the listener into the words like a trusted friend relating an intimate secret.
As an EP running at about sixteen-and-a-half minutes, Panic Of Looking's brevity acts as a drawback; just as you're beginning to really soak it in, the EP suddenly reaches its conclusion. To help remedy that, hear Eno's Drums Between The Bells from earlier this year, a full-length effort also devoted to Holland's work.
Rick Holland's oblique poetry is perfectly suited to Eno's aesthetic. When married to his music, the poems make the leap to becoming true lyrical content, flowing naturally with the melodies to create a singular unit that can work as a vehicle of contemplation and, hopefully, can even lead to a transcendental moment for the listener.