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Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.63 | 160 ratings

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3 stars Take a straight forward rock album, catchy melodies, with a fun feel, and drench it in layers of eerie atmosphere, jagged compositions, and voila! The result would not be greatly different from Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy. Though I describe the album as eerie, it's sort of an accidental thing. It's as if Brian was just trying to make a nice rock album, but accidentally tipped the bucket of ominous moods into his mixture. It's sort of like horror flicks based on carnivals: where the things are so happy that it's frightening. The album isn't actually frightening, it's just a similar experience.

At times this album can be a blast. Really fun and otherworldly at once. Unfortunately, there are minor flaws that hinder this album from being magnificent. The sound quality is not amazing, many drum fills are sloppy, et cetera. Regardless, Third Uncle is really a fantastic song that (almost) makes this album worth buying alone. The other songs are not to be overlook, though, with their catchy and euphoric nature. This album is actually very comedic: sometimes I have to suppress a laugh while listening to some songs (not that the lyrics are drop dead hilarious [but trust me, sometimes they are quite silly], but something in me finds the music funny for some reason). Unfortunately, the musicianship is not so great (which isn't really bad, but can make an album more interesting), and there's virtually no complex songwriting, but despite that, the creativity is so charming.

The great thing about this album - and Brian Eno in general - is his undeniable personality in his music and his great originality. The album is simply dripping with a wide array of sounds (besides those made with conventional instruments) most of which are generated from strange keyboard voices, strange horns, and tampered vocals. The biggest problem I can see people having with this album, however, is the simplicity of the songs. This goes for lyrics (which Brian used to a rhythmic level and saw as simply another instrument - not necessarily a means of expressing profound poetry) and music both. Besides that, the only problems are sub-par musicianship (I find it hard to tell what tracks he played on, but I'm sorry to say Phil Collins played didn't play to his standard!). However, after many many listen, I can proudly say this album has a certain "je ne sais quois".

Overall, a great fun album with lots of creativity, and atmosphere, but lacking musicianship, maybe a bit of emotion, musical (and lyrical) complexity. Give it a try if you want, but I don't promise you to be blown away by any means - especially on the first few listens.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |


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