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Brian Eno - Curiosities, Vol. 1 CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.09 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm not sure how much input, if any, Eno himself had in this collection, beyond the artwork and layout (and obviously the music). The set was "researched and compiled" by his technical assistant Marlon Weyeneth, as the first in a promised series of "unreleased, unrealistic, and unfinished" scraps left on the floor of the Eno lab. But the album certainly meets his ideals of chance, hazard, and spontaneous design, the latter not an oxymoron in Brian Eno's musical universe.

And humor, too. You only have to look at the track names ("Slow Lump With Strings"; "Select a Bonk") to appreciate the very human, very quirky mind behind the recording equipment. Some of these samples must have prompted a lot of uncontrolled giggling in the engineer's booth, even a wistful tune like "My Lonely Organ", a sad title from an artist who once described himself as "an onanist" (it's actually an unaccompanied keyboard solo).

These aren't really compositions in the traditional sense, but more like stray thoughts and casual doodles: sounds or rhythms stumbled across in passing, quickly explored, and easily discarded. All of them are fairly short (only two break the five-minute mark), and most are instrumental, although a few contain weirdly processed vocals, almost like parodies of the ironic pop tunes from Eno's precocious, post-ROXY MUSIC adolescence. In songs like "War Fetish" and (in particular) "Draw One Animal", it sounds like Eno got his machines drunk on absinthe and recorded the dipsomaniacal results (after taking a few swigs himself).

Some of the pieces are purely atmospheric; others are more beat-driven; all of them offer fascinating glimpses into a unique creative intelligence. They may have been thrown away in the studio, but these aren't throwaway efforts: the pin-trumpet sustain of ROBERT FRIPP's guitar even appears, in the album finale "Manila Folder".

Expect a generous plate of ambient noodles, electro-funk appetizers, primordial soup, and assorted alien cocktails...but no main course, this being strictly a doggy bag of leftovers. The title of the series was chosen well. But if you think about it, Eno's entire career has been a curiosity.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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