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Brian Eno - Eno & Hyde: High Life CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.09 | 18 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars One of the more enjoyable and accessible of Brian Eno's recent efforts has its roots in the fertile soil he was cultivating with David Byrne in the early '80s, updated to a modern digital vernacular. A few of the songs ("DBF" being the obvious example) could have been outtakes from the "Remain in Light" album sessions, and the artwork itself is a visual echo of Peter Saville's video image on the cover of the Eno/Byrne classic "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts".

But this was 2014, not 1981, and much of the new album sounds like it was composed and performed on laptop computers, with minimal human input on traditional instruments. On the other hand, when the end results are so playful and creative does it really matter how they were generated? For an artist once known as a self-confessed funkophobe (in his immediate post-Roxy Music adolescence), Eno certainly has his groove on here.

Not for the first time, of course. He embraced Funk and Afrobeat rhythms long ago, with the Talking Heads and other kindred spirits, but rarely to such a plugged-in degree. I defy even the clumsiest left-footed Proghead to hear the bouncy "Time to Waste It" or the more upbeat "Lilac" and resist the temptation to oscillate his hips, just a little.

In the end it's a fascinating detour for the otherwise ambient artisan, and definitely a collaboration. Eno's finger (and voice) prints are all over the album, and yet he's often the second banana next to guitarist and Grooveboxer Karl Hyde (yes, the Groovebox is a real thing: part drum machine, part sequencer, part computer hard drive). Not to worry, though: he may have only been along for the ride, but Eno was still the primary navigator, as always demonstrating his unerring sense of musical direction.

[ Consumer endorsement: the vinyl edition of the album is by far the best bargain, and not just for old-time's sake. It includes two songs omitted from the CD, for no apparent reason except, of course, the demands of petty commerce. The first ("On a Grey Day") is a dreamy ballad and soundscape collage, crooned with melodic resignation; the second ("Slow Down, Sit Down & Breathe") presents a more urgent and aggressive electro-pop thing, with deadpan spoken vocals atop a busy rhythm guitar. Both would have fit on the compact disc, with room to spare ]

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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