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Brian Eno - Eno, Moebius & Roedelius: After The Heat CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.78 | 74 ratings

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4 stars I find the second Cluster/Eno (which for whatever reason is credited to each of the individuals instead of just to "Cluster/Eno") collaboration so much more enjoyable than the first one that it's nearly mind-boggling. Part of it's because the synth tones don't sound so unearthly and inhumane, part of it's probably because some of the songs have vocals this time around, but mostly it's because it actually sounds to me like Brian was the primary creative force of the album (with the German dudes merely providing some neat complementary ideas). It's not so much of an ambient album as it is just a "regular" electronica album, but that's fine by me; these songs might be repetitive, but there's an awful lot going on underneath the seemingly "monotonous" surface.

Plus, it helps that there's a MAJOR classic on this one, "The Belldog," which features one of the most incredibly hypnotic main synth lines that I've ever heard in my life, and builds layers upon layers of synths and piano around it and tops it off with a terrific vocal melody about receiving snippets of encoded transmissions. It's hard to describe in text why it is that I find this track so awesome, but if you haven't heard this, you have to just take my word for it when I say this is six minutes of pure sonic bliss and total friggin' catharsis, and believe me, that's not something I say about electronic proto-trance (I guess) compositions on a regular basis. Every fan of Eno (and yes, of Cluster too) needs to hear this at some point.

The rest of the album isn't as flabbergasting as that track, but except for "Oil" (which I just can't help but think of as four minutes of largely wasted space; it just reminds me too much of the weaker moments on Cluster and Eno), all of the tracks feature something that I enjoy quite a bit. A couple of them (the lovely piano-based "Luftschloss," the brief, vaguely playful "Light Arms") might seem a bit too "lightweight" in comparison to the relatively stern atmosphere of the rest of the album (which is the most obvious contribution of the Germans to this album; Eno never got this kind of overall mood on his own), but I can't really think of that as a tremendous negative here. These tracks are just less elaborate than the other songs, is all; they're quite enjoyable while on. As for the others, the most impressive ones (to my ears) are the opening "Foreign Affairs" (which features a solid rhythmic pulse in the synths and uses low-pitched, pounding pianos in a much better way than the requiem-like pieces on Cluster and Eno), the bizarre-as-hell "Tzima N'arki" (which features yet another hypnotic sequence of rhythmic synths, overlaid with Eno singing the chorus to "King's Lead Hat" backwards (!!)), and "Broken Head," which has (in addition to the standard cool rhythm) one of the best synth-bass sounds I've heard in some time and such delightful lines as, "I was just a broken head, I stole the world that others punctured. Now I stumble through the garbage; slide and tumble, slide and stumble."

The "lesser" tracks are cool too, though; "Base and Apex," for instance, matches its title well by having two synth-lines moving independent of another, one of which is low and moderately tweaked and distorted (and bounces around funnily) and the other of which is heavenly and lovely and all that rot. "The Shade" is a nice pleasant instrumental that's largely in the vein of the best stuff on Cluster and Eno, and the closing "Old Land" is a fabulous cross between the angelic statics of Becalmed and the atmosphere of "Fur Luise," and that's a pretty solid complement right there. It's a perfect close to the album, too, and comes as close to matching the album cover as anything I could think of.

If there's any overall gripe, I guess it would be that the album doesn't really transcend the electronic music genre in the way that Another Green World does, and as such I don't really enjoy the album more than I do an average **** album. But man, for me, a **** is an extremely high grade for an album of this kind, and I would highly recommend it for any and all fans of Eno's better-known work.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |


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