• Our 20 favourite 12″s of 2017

    By | December 5, 2017

    From essential track IDs to crafted EPs.

    Having picked out our favourite 7″s and 10″s, we turn our attention to the 12″ in the second of our retrosepctive rundowns of the last twelve months.

    And just as 7″s no longer represent the year’s biggest chart hits, so has it been some time since 12″s were exclusively the domain of the dance floor.

    From the simple 2-track club banger to EPs that border on mini-albums, we’ve demanded that each 12″ offers something more than just an aggregation of the year’s best tracks.

    Some though, like Objekt, Denis Sulta and Bufiman do represent the year’s most urgent dance music, or in the case of Bicep, Four Tet and Nathan Fake distil new albums in more forms.

    This year, the 12″ has also been the friend of the UK’s burgeoning grassroots jazz movement, capturing the nascent scene as it grows and evolves, whether on Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin’s Idiom, Moses Boyd’s Absolute Zero or the improvised voyages of A.R.E. Project.

    And finally, the 12″ was also home to several beautifully crafted EPs, cementing concepts and musical ideas – from Fatima al Qadiri’s provocative sexual politics to LAPS’ DIY dancehall – that circumvent generic boundaries for something true to the musical diversity of 2017.

    You may have also noticed that we’ve changed the emphasis of our lists this year away from the tired, arbitrary and frankly over-used ‘best’, to the more openly subjective ‘favourite’. We believe this more accurately reflects the fact that these rundowns are essentially recommendations of what we’ve enjoyed most this year, as selected by our weekly contributors Patrick Ryder, James Hammond and Chris Summers, alongside VF’s editorial team, Gabriela Helfet and Anton Spice.

    What were your favourites this year? Let us know in the comments below.

    See the rest of our 2017 review:

    Our 50 favourite albums of 2017
    Our 10 favourite 7″s of 2017
    Our 12 favourite reissue singles of 2017
    Our 30 favourite reissues of 2017
    Our 12 favourite soundtracks of 2017
    Our 12 favourite record sleeves of 2017


    20. Bicep

    Glue EP

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    Bicep may have dropped their long-awaited debut album, taking first place as the most track ID-requested producers of the year by a country mile in the process, but the audio pinnacle from this Belfast duo actually came in the form of their final release of 2017. The Glue EP delivered one of the LP’s finest cuts on the A-Side, plus fresh tracks which included the delightfully acid-tinged ‘DLR’ on the reverse. – GH


    19. Dazion

    Don’t Get Me Wrong

    (Second Circle)

    Listen / Buy

    This curveball dropped right at the start of 2017 and hasn’t left the record bag since. Lead track ‘Be A Man’ sashays across the dance floor with jasmin-infused disco pizzazz, lush synths and a belly-dance bassline underpinned by sharp-as-brass percussive shuffle. Things take a step down to Room 2 on ‘Rigola’, the groove staying in the pocket, with vibraphones to the fore. A triumph for the Music From Memory off-shoot that was heard far and wide this year. – AS


    18. Carla Dal Forno

    The Garden

    (Blackest Ever Black)

    Listen / Buy

    A VF favourite coming off the strength of last year’s debut full length You Know What Its Like and its accompanying singles, this year gave us four new cuts from Carla Dal Forno which made for more essential listening. An artist who sets out an alluring sound world of mysterious and uneasy pop music, The Garden carried on where her debut left off in its sparingly affective structures and ability to craft distinctive vocal hooks that work their way in with repeated listens. – JH


    17. Denis Sulta

    Nein Forteate EP

    (Sulta Selects)

    Listen / Buy

    Glasgow homebro Denis Sulta launched his own label with two choice EPs this year, the highlight of which was its inaugural release, Nein Forteate, featuring ‘Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)’. The kind of synthy club anthem that Sulta is rightly becoming known for, its greatness lies about 3 and a half minutes in, when the track, seemingly at its peak, suddenly cuts out… Is it a mistake, a DJ faux pas, a power problemo? Nah. It’s Sulta bringing in a silky smooth “ohhhh yeah” vocal, before dropping the ole hook in back again to maximum effect. – GH


    16. Beatrice Dillon & Call Super

    ‘Inkjet / Fluo’

    (Hessle Audio)

    Listen / Buy

    One of our favourite collaborations of the year also appears on one of our favourite labels in sweet symbiosis, as Beatrice Dillon unites with Call Super for this Hessle Audio affair. As with many of the 12”s gracing this year’s list, the A-Side ‘Inkjet’ is a legit slice of aqua electronics, but it’s the flip – ‘Fluo’ – that we’ve been rinsing since it dropped. A soundtrack for the robot takeover to come, with Blade Runner-esque dial tones making way for exquisite saxxy breakdowns midway through. Proof, if ever you needed it, that no B-side should be left unturned. – GH


    15. Avalon Emerson

    Whities 013

    (Whities)

    Listen / Buy

    Avalon Emerson returns to Whities for the follow-up to her Narcissus in Retrograde EP – one of our favourite 12”s of 2016 – on a different, but no less excellent, tip. With this catchy double-dose, she continues her well deserved ascent as one of the most exciting producers around: ‘One More Fluorescent Rush’ serves glitchy, spaced out feels, before ‘Finally Some Common Ground’ takes off on a Soichi Terada-esque, one-way trip to the intergalactic mothership. – GH


    14. Four Tet

    ‘SW9 9SL / Planet’

    (Text Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Aside from a couple of split 12”s last year, 2017 marked something of a return to the prolific output we’ve come to expect from Kieran Hebden, releasing a handful of 12”s, a load of material via multiple Spotify aliases, some brilliant remixes, the year’s most ID’d edit ‘Question’, and a new full-length infamously made using just a laptop and a view over some unspectacular woodland. Thankfully, the album’s two stand-out tracks were also collected on this limited 12”. Propulsive, melodic dance music for the headphones or the dance floor, ‘Planet’ is Four Tet’s finest since There Is Love In You. – AS


    13. Craven Faults

    Netherfield Works

    (Lowfold Works)

    Listen / Buy

    Elusive, evasive, but delivered with unerring authority, Craven Faults is one of this year’s wildcards. Arriving on a mysterious label with a soaring two-track EP of airborne krautrock, Netherfield Works pays its dues to ’70s Düsseldorf and the San Francisco Tape Music Centre and casts them to the English winds, forging two sprawling tracks from within a nest of patch cables in an old Yorkshire textile mill. A modular synth record that, like recent works by Kaityln Aurelia Smith seems to shed its machined origins to become something altogether more organic, Netherfield Works overflows across two sixteen minute tracks that will appeal to fans of Cluster, Steve Reich and the like. – AS


    12. Fatima Al Quadiri

    Shaneera

    (Hyperdub)

    Listen / Buy

    Few EPs set out to challenge norms and hegemonies like Fatima Al Qadiri’s Shaneera, which riffs on the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word for “outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul.” Reconstructing snippets of Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits, and Iraqi proverbs into a hybrid vernacular built from Kuwaiti and Egyptian Arabic, Shaneera is an intoxicating listen – all menacing dubbed-out electronic arrangements – and a self-confessed “love letter to evil and benevolent queens around the world.” – AS


    11. Bufiman

    ‘Peace Moves’

    (Dekmantel)

    Listen / Buy

    Dekmantel celebrated a decade as a champion of left-field, dance floor meditations by delivering its strongest year yet, hosting an annual sell-out festival in Holland, a smaller soiree in Croatia, and releasing some of the label’s finest music along the way, including Dekmantel 10 Years 04 EP and Juju & Jordash’s Sis-Boom-Bah LP. However, it was Bufiman aka Wolf Muhler’s Peace Moves EP that best represented the weird af and wonderfully off-kilter sonics which have come to define the Dutch imprint. A seemingly bizarre combination of growling vocals and cranky, bent out of shape jack-in-the-box effects that sounds so wrong it’s right. – GH


    10. Moses Boyd

    Absolute Zero

    (The Vinyl Factory / Exodus)

    Listen / Buy

    Drummer and producer Moses Boyd exploded into the wider musical consciousness with ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’ in 2016, and this EP, co-released between VF and his own Exodus imprint, was his much-anticipated follow up. Ditching the horn stabs for shimmering krauty synths, Absolute Zero was born out of Boyd’s solo live shows but has since been reintegrated into the Exodus band with which he has sold out the likes of Corsica Studios and Jazz Café this year. Underpinned by his live-wire drum sound, this EP swells with a restless ease, referencing influences as broad as grime, ambient and hip-hop, rooting this new jazz mode in an urban context. One of the year’s breakthrough artists, expect to hear much more of Moses in the coming months. As objective as we can possibly be, the soft-touch laminate artwork by Optigram may also make this one of our favourite sleeves of the year. – AS


    9. Agnes Obel

    ‘Stretch Your Eyes (Quiet Village Remix)’

    (Phonica Special Editions)

    Listen / Buy

    You don’t need us to tell you how great it is to share a building with a record shop, let alone one as consistently on point as Phonica. So when manager Simon Rigg called us into his office one afternoon last summer with news of an extra special 12” on one of the shop’s in-house imprints we knew it was going to be good. Here Quiet Village pull apart Danish singer Agnes Obel’s ‘Stretch Your Eyes’ into a dark and dubby chorale, backed by an eerie a cappella imbued with the same haunting longevity of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’. – AS


    8. SW. / SVN

    ‘Sued 18’

    (SUED)

    Listen / Buy

    Who needs things like track names when the music can do the talking? Not SW. that’s who. The producer follows up a close-to-perfect 2016 LP (appropriately called The Album) to team up with SUED co-founder SVN. SUED 18 kicks off with Pepe Bradock-esque house heaviness on the A-Side, plus a knockout, subdued techno ride on the reverse. – GH


    7. Floating Points

    ‘Ratio (Deconstructed Mixes)’

    (Pluto Records)

    Listen / Buy

    Though Floating Points debuted versions of the slow-rolling, emotional synth-filled ‘Ratio’ via live shows and DJ sets last year, it finally saw a long-awaited official release this October. Well worth the wait, ‘Ratio’ is a shimmering number that harkens back to Floating Points’ supreme ‘Myrtle Avenue’ and ‘ARP3’ fare. And though it may seem like a mere sales gimmick to release the track in ‘deconstructed’ parts, as he did on the B-side, it’s not. If you caught his live set this year, this seemingly fractured 12″ actually makes perfect sense because no live version of ‘Ratio’ was identical. An exciting hint that the best of his new material is yet come. – GH


    6. Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin

    Idiom

    (YAM Records)

    Listen / Buy

    A record that captures the jazz routes and roots coursing through London at the moment, tying together the convergent legacies of broken beat, house, 2-step and fusion that having been coalescing south of the river for some time. Aside from being assembled from a quintet of fiercely accomplished musicians (Armon-Jones & Owin are joined here by Nubya Garcia, Oscar Jerome and Jake Long), Idiom is a refreshingly playful record that never takes itself too seriously. With discrete improvisations woven into the fabric of each track, Idiom is greater than the sum of its parts, and a testament to the community that has helped elevate it. – AS


    5. Nathan Fake

    Providence Reworks – Part I

    (Ninja Tune)

    Listen / Buy

    A primer on how a track, in this case Nathan Fake’s ‘DEGREELESSNESSS’ from his Providence LP, can be turned into (two times the) greatness, thanks to formidable edits. A-Side sees Overmono assuming the rework duties to craft one of the anthems of 2017’s festival season, teasing out the most euphoric moments of ‘DEGREELESSNESS’ across seven and half minutes. Meanwhile, a no less worthy of rotation revamp from Huerco S brings a psychedelic, Middle Eastern-hued séance to send you into a zen-filled trance. – GH


    4. LAPS

    Who Me?

    (MIC)

    Listen / Buy

    LAPS are Ladies As Pimps, the Glasgow duo and Golden Teacher affiliates forging an industrial dancehall sound that’s unlike anything else we heard this year. If there’s one big hit here it would be title track ‘Who Me?’, which finds a sweet spot between the sensual, the confrontational and the surreal we had no idea existed. It’s a trick ‘Edges’ manages too, before rounding off the EP with the fragmented “pyjama house” of ‘Lady Bug’. A charismatic record that pulls no punches, and a fine first foray into new music for 2017 label newcomer MIC. – AS


    3. Objekt

    Objekt #4

    (Objekt)

    Listen / Buy

    If in January someone had told us one of the biggest tracks of the year would be a slowed-down two-step garage beat-meets-techno superjam, we would have been rather confused about what the year held in store. But so it was. TJ Hertz’s first release since 2014, a 12” on the club-focused white label series under his Objekt alias, stormed dance floors far and wide thanks to its unexpected B-Side. ‘Theme From Q’ is the kind of track that works in sets of all shapes, speeds and sizes, because it’s just that great. – GH


    2. Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar & Shabaka Hutchings

    A.R.E. Project EP

    (Technicolour)

    Listen / Buy

    Arguably one of the UK’s most prolific and inspiringly creative musicians, Shabaka Hutchings leant his saxophone touch to a number of contenders for our favourite releases of the year, including the Comet Is Coming’s psychedelic jazz 12” Death To The Planet 12”. That said, A.R.E. Project, a unique and forward-thinking, improvised collaboration between Hutchings, Hieroglyphic Being and Sarathy Korwar was the obvious choice. Captured during a completely live, two hour performance aboard a studio moored inside a ship along the Thames, the EP sees cosmic sax merging with Indonesian folk music and space-age electronics for a truly one-of-a-kind result. – GH


    1. Sudan Archives

    Sudan Archives

    (Stones Throw)

    Listen / Buy

    One of this year’s most enchanting debuts came from violinist, producer and vocalist Sudan Archives, whose self-titled EP on Stones Throw takes the award for our favourite 12” of 2017. Channelling the bedroom RnB production that sustained her early forays into music into an outward-looking hybrid sound, Archives draws as much on North African melodies and instrumentation as Stones Throw’s storied left-field hip-hop tradition.

    A self-taught violinist, she weaves finger picking rhythms into the fabric of her productions, and uses its sawing melancholy to lend a gorgeous nostalgia to each song. And while ‘Come Meh Way’ might be the track you’ll have heard most, ‘Oatmeal’ and ‘Goldencity’ exude the same singular clarity, marking out a route between the percussive, earthy RnB of opening track ‘Paid’ and the syncopated folk musings of final track ‘Wake up’. A modest record, both utterly new yet uncannily familiar, we revisited this EP time and again this year, and can’t wait to hear what comes next. – AS


    Illustration by Patch D Keyes.

  • Brian Eno changed my life: 15 artists pick their favourite Brian Eno records

    By | August 4, 2017

    The extraordinary influence of ambient master Brian Eno.

    While very few contemporary musicians can stake a claim to the creation and communication of a genre, it is an accolade publicly bestowed on Brian Eno. Fela Kuti, one of Eno’s heroes, is another. And yet, while both now retrospectively stand as figureheads of ambient and afro-beat, theirs is a legacy built on subtle rather than seismic shifts in musical form.

    And where Fela Kuti’s explosive take on highlife didn’t materialise in a vacuum, Brian Eno’s form-stretching electronics are as rooted in expansive prog and avant garde pop as they were in highly structured ’50s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s this which shines to the fore in the quartet of new reissues honing in Brian Eno’s early albums, the 1974 debut Here Come The Warm Jets, his follow up on Island Records Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), 1975’s iconic Another Green World and Before and after Science originally released on Polydor in 1977.

    Of course, pluralistic influence extends in the other direction too, so we asked fifteen artists from a swathe of musical backgrounds to articulate just what Eno meant to them, through a single track or album. Whether touching modern psych, club-ready techno, modern classical, or even one or two of Eno’s collaborators, these fifteen artists represent the breadth of application his approach to music has had.


    Kara-Lis Coverdale

    Brian Eno
    Discreet Music
    (Obscure / Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    When I first came across Discreet Music, I was struck immediately by the elegance of its own poetic awareness. Each component of the work elucidates elements of its own ontology in thoughtfully artful but undeniably methodological ways. Most people tend to focus on ultimate end-function for this music; that is, how it should be listened to, but I find more interesting the way in which Eno makes transparent the musical system that encourages that behaviour of listening. In the liner notes, using prose laced with words like “technological,” “apparatus,” “system,” and “programmer,” Eno famously describes the story of a faulty channel of stereo and fixed-volume playback; a series of tech “misfortunes” that gave the idea of a more ambient listening posture. Makers know the hilarious and common narrative well, how creation can come from the cracks of accident. Eno’s sensitivity to technological condition, observing them then listening to them, is laid bare in this work in essential form, in a simplicity that is admiringly musically sympathetic.

    The second part of the record is more romantically and canonically considered, with Gavin Bryars string arrangements of Pachelbel’s Canon in D (a drug store/wedding ceremony staple). Whenever I hear this, I’m reminded of the cyclical nature of the work – to me, the circle of fifths (which the Canon is built out of), serves as a metaphor for a sort of frequential circuitry here. The opaque repetitions and generative simplicity of the work is only reflective of the condition Eno articulates. An Ouroboros in a sense, the series eats itself, and the path becomes its own beginning…


    Peder Mannerfelt

    Brian Eno
    Here Come The Warm Jets
    (Island, 1973)

    Listen / Buy

    I would like to argue that Brian Eno not only invented ambient music but also shoegaze with Here Come The Warm Jets. The album as a whole would probably not be considered amongst Brian Eno’s finest work. It’s a rather sketchy and half finished affair, with not enough lyrics to fill out the songs but instead riddled with lukewarm guitar noodlings from Robert Fripp. But, with the final track everything suddenly comes together and the connection is made to what bands like Ride, Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine created in the early nineties.

    It’s all about that single melody repeated over the course of the whole song, played on what sounds like a whole range of different instruments. It’s a melody that I might catch myself humming whilst doing the dishes or fiddling about in the garden and from what I’ve heard, it is stuck with Mr. Eno as well. Apparently he can be heard whistling it so as to not scare his downstairs neighbours if he would happen to come home late at night.


    Alex Paterson, The Orb

    Brian Eno
    Another Green World
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    Another Green World was written and recorded by Brian Eno with his ‘Oblique Strategies’ cards in 1975, with no songs taken into the studio. His album Taking Tiger Mountain was also written using this method. The musical credits are pretty wacky too, Eno made up names for guitar sounds such as ‘Wimshurst’ guitars and ‘Castanet’ guitars. He also made up the Leslie piano. On board are Robert Fripp, John Cale and Phil Collins amongst others. Another Green World is central to the beginnings of ambience and the ending of conventional songs by Brian Eno, crossing into a territory of never before explored ideas.

    My favourite tunes from this album include ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ and ‘Little fishes’, along with ‘I’ll Come Running to Tie Your Shoes’. It is a great album to lose oneself in. The title tune is genius and Eno is on Farfisa organ on this track (it is also the Arena theme tune). This album was definitely ahead of the pack for 1975, it was an album that bent time and space – artificial and yet artful. Eno balanced the album so that song craft and electronic music combined to blow your mind. After all, everything merges with the night…


    Thomas Fehlmann, The Orb

    Brian Eno
    Another Green World
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    This is the ultimate fusion album for me. Fusion is the moment of magic where worlds collide and taboos are broken, refreshing perspectives by destroying cliches such as pop, avant-garde, poetry, art, jazz, glam, minimalism, disco, while also predating electronica and the home recording aesthetic. Fusion seamlessly compresses incompatible genres into something new. Another Green World did it all. No big news these days but such was forbidden in the ’70s.

    Eagerly awaiting its release, I was taught a lesson which gave me the comfort and confidence to follow my then growing belief that bouncing off between opposite poles is the way to go to make my art – charging up on contrast. The more controversial the potential connections may be, the more fun. Just as a little hint… Phil Collins is playing drums on this.


    Jane Weaver

    Brian Eno
    Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks
    (EG, 1983)

    Listen / Buy

    I’ve got a big soft spot for this album. Originally written as a soundscape for a documentary about The Apollo moon missions, it is a really magical record which makes me feel instantly calm. When my kids were really little and I couldn’t get them to settle I would put this album on and within a few tracks they would all of a sudden appear mesmerised by the sounds and then just be soothed… Maybe it has womb like noises, who knows? It has these soothing qualities but it is not a chummy new age thing, it’s quite dark and unusual in places. It also doesn’t offend me that it switches from being predominantly electronic and then introduces country guitar playing towards the latter of the record because it all seems to blend together – it’s a bit odd but in a good way. I love the sleeve art as well, it looks strong and serious.


    Laraaji

    Brian Eno
    ‘Backwater’ from Before & After Science
    (Polydor, 1977)

    Listen / Buy

    It was fun listening to the 1977 album Before and After Science by Brian Eno. I particularly like the second track ‘Backwater’, which invites you to dance with its uplifting spirit and lyrical content.

    The musical arrangement is upbeat and playful which reminds me of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

    Sun Gong and Bring On The Sun by Laraaji are out this Summer.


    Nathan Fake

    Fripp & Eno
    Evening Star
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    I think this was pretty much the first Eno production I knowingly heard. A friend played it to me around 2002 or 2003, along with Ambient 1. The opening track ‘Wind On Water’ really blew my mind – thick, powerful major-chord guitar drones and tumbling glissandi of guitar and synthesisers were indistinguishable from one another.

    It was the first time I’d experienced ambient music being intense and exhilarating, whilst also hypnotic and transcendental. Also the 28 minute ‘An Index of Metals’ in all its tense, dark, metallic glory really stuck with me too. It was the perfect introduction to that dense but incredibly spacious and airy production style of Eno’s that I would go on to explore and be inspired by.


    Forest Swords

    Brian Eno & Harmonia ’76
    ‘Atmosphere’ from Tracks & Traces (reissue)
    (Groenland, 2009)

    Listen / Buy

    I first heard this on an internet radio station a few years ago but never caught what it was – it was only recently that I rediscovered it during a few lost hours on YouTube. It is taken from Eno’s collaborative record with the krautrock band Harmonia but this track only saw the light of day on a recent reissue.

    It is essentially a loop that moves and undulates over the course of three minutes. In the first half, Eno smears a kind of flange/phase effect over it before taking it away during the final section, letting the music come to the surface and breathe.


    Matt Black (Coldcut)

    Brian Eno
    ‘An Ending’ from Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks
    (EG, 1983)

    Listen / Buy

    A favourite of Mixmaster Morris’ much loved and epic ambience sets. ‘An Ending’ offers a delicious and much needed sanctuary from the everyday horror of theodolite monoculture.

    This for me conjures a feeling of unbearable beauty, yearning and bucolic horizons. It is contemplative music that gives the soul some space. I have jammed with Eno who is a bit of a role model to me.

    I have also jammed with Roger Eno at Youth’s Puretone Space Mountain which happened last year near Granada. Roger is an incredible pianist.


    John Foxx

    Brian Eno
    Another Green World
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    I first heard Another Green World in late 1975 when it was released. A friend, Bobby Forrester, had it on order and carried it around town under his arm. It looked intriguing.

    I must confess, I didn’t like the songs much but those instrumental pieces were an entirely new form of life! Mysterious, organic sounds, often underpinned by superbly minimal drums, a rich twisty bass and a drum machine! I loved that. It was cocktail music for a bar coexisting in 1950s LA and a drive-in movie on a lost star.

    Brian identified a new form in Ambient Music but I feel these instrumentals created another new form, one originating outside rock or popular music and which was actually more useful to the furthering of a future stream of new avant-rock. It all seemed to be some crossroads of John Cage, Stockhausen and the more imaginative periods of New York jazz. At the time, I thought the closest thing to it were some hints in the work of Weather Report and surely enough Brian name checks Zawinul on one of the tracks.

    So, a new form had been created resembling jazz but absolutely without any of the clichés. Instead, it was a freeform investigation of what you could now achieve with a recording studio, an unfettered imagination, a few fine friends and some new machines. Each track was a wee masterpiece of sonic jewellery. It promoted a feeling of departure, fun and freedom, of casting off the crap. That cheered me up no end after all the heavy metal, white blues and prog clogging up the horizon. After the closing track, you could only sigh and realise that this new thing was quietly significant. It would take time but it would surely change minds. It also made you want to get in there and devise a few things of your own.

    Because of all this, I wanted Brian to work on Ultravox!’s first album which he kindly agreed to do. Towards the end of our recording sessions, in September 1976, he got a call from Bowie asking him to work on his new album. Bowie had been listening to Another Green World too and that is how this record unassumingly entered the DNA of modern music.

    Translucence/Drift Music/Nighthawks by John Foxx, Harold Budd and Ruben Garcia is out 8th September.


    Adam Wiltzie

    Brian Eno
    Here Come The Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World, Before and after Science
    (Various)

    I have often said, Eno is reverential for me. I have met many of my heroes, most of them in the sporting world métier, forever regretting trying to talk to them but with “The Great Bald One” it was quite different. I had the pleasure of spending half an hour with the guy backstage at an UnSound Festival in Krakow some years ago. He was dressed in lady stereo surround looking completely serene, engaging in conversation as if he would rather be no where else in the world than hanging out with a clown like me. That is truly an art form in itself.

    We celebrate artists for being prolific and Eno for me is the modern world’s true Renaissance Man. His existence and output in the field of creativity has always been a constant source of inspiration for me. It would be a tragic waste of words to put one of these recordings on a higher level than the other because in many ways they are all perfect time capsules for me, adding to the fact that he essentially never went back to this style for his own releases. It seems to keep the joy of returning to Warm Jets, Tiger Mountain, Green World and After Science all the more special. Like a wise man once said, “When I was young, I believed in three things: Marxism, the redemptive power of cinema and dynamite. Now I just believe in Eno.”


    Illum Sphere

    Eno, Moebius, Roedelius
    ‘Tzima N’Arki’ from After The Heat
    (Sky, 1978)

    Listen / Buy

    ‘Tzima N’Arki’ is taken from After The Heat, the second record Eno made with Moebius and Roedelius from Cluster. Engineered by Conny Plank and featuring Can’s Holger Czukay on bass, it’s a total dream team. Compared to the first side of the record, this tune feels quite standalone.

    It pulls elements from various musical worlds: the reversed Eno vocal, the piano is minimalist, Plank’s dubbed out work on the boards, the sparse kicks, there’s a lot going without feeling busy. It might sound a bit of a leap, but it actually reminds me of a lot of Rhythm & Sound music, just 20 or so years before.


    LTO

    Laraaji
    Ambient 3: Day of Radiance’ (produced by Brian Eno)
    (Editions EG, 1980)

    Listen / Buy

    The bright overtone-rich sounds of the zither family of instruments are a perfect sonic representation of the feeling of intense light or radiance, especially in the spiritual sense of the word.

    As with the rest of Eno’s Ambient series, the repetitive and constant nature of Laraaji’s pieces produces a feeling of timelessness, making them conducive to meditation. Unlike the rest of the series, the fast energetic beginning of this record has an invigorating effect on the mind, yet at the same time manages to create a feeling of serenity and reflection.

    The record has a fairly natural acoustic sound at the onset and Eno’s input is not obviously apparent, but as the pace of the tracks progressively winds down, they also become more engulfed in Eno’s sonic dream world.

    The hammered dulcimer features throughout the record, especially on the first three tracks. I actually picked up a second-hand one recently, which you can see me using on my ‘Against the Clock’ for FACT.

    Storybook by LTO is out now.


    Boris Blank (Yello)

    Brian Eno
    Another Green World
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    For me, this was a turning point in Brian Eno’s career. A move away from the earlier outings with Roxy Music which felt a bit kitschy and pop. Maybe it’s a pastiche and I missed the point.

    Another Green World is a definite step in a different direction and the second side of the album is where the fun begins. Conventional structure seems to disappear. ‘Spirits Drifting’ has a touch of atonality and dissonance.

    ‘Little Fishes’ and my favourite, ‘Big Ship’, are like an endless spiral. It’s a warm feeling that strangely reminds me of the early Velvets. Finally ‘Be Calmed’ feels like the first ambient track, melancholy with a soul, almost like being homesick. Whatever the colour, it remains another world.


    Harold Budd

    Brian Eno
    Another Green World
    (Island, 1975)

    Listen / Buy

    Another Green World is to step, or amble, into a world that works. The track ‘Becalmed’ has haunted me for 40 years.

    Translucence/Drift Music/Nighthawks by John Foxx, Harold Budd and Ruben Garcia is out 8th September.


    Here Come The Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World and Before and after Science have been remastered at half-speed and are available to buy now. Order your copies here.

    Main image: Ian Disckon

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