Are people who need people really the luckiest people in the world? Brian Eno's latest winning lottery ticket, “Drums Between the Bells,” out July 4 on Warp, continues his lifelong theme of communion on fifteen tracks with Rick Holland, an artist Eno met as part of the British interscholastic Map-Making Project in the late '90s.
Judging from the tracks already released on the Eno SoundCloud, it's a wistful and contemplative enterprise, shot through with aspects of jazz that are only coincidentally like
jazz, in much the same way that the alphabet happens to contain the letters “j,” “a,” and “z.”
The closest thing it resembles lyrically is a package of Oblique Strategies – Eno's axiom-annihilating, inspirational deck of cards co-created with artist Peter Schmidt in the '70s – set to music. Eno has always created his more interesting works in direct collaboration with other artists of varying levels of ability – key words here: “varying ability” – and this latest work from the prime mover of everything from glam to ambient music is the next logical step in his creative process. Although in Eno's case, logical steps aren't so much backwards and forwards and they are points on a chaos star.
The urge towards visual art also appears in the packaging on Drums Between the Bells, a fairly deluxe presentation of either double 12″ vinyl, a CD (zzz), or a hardback double CD edition, firmly resurrecting the idea of the record as an album.
Eno: “Recently I was in São Paulo, the most city-ish city in the Western world. I took lots of pictures of the forest, and then, back in London, started playing with the images in Photoshop. As I was playing I was listening to this album (in shuffle mode, highly recommended ) and I realised I was crafting the images and the colours to match up with what I was hearing.” It's always been vaguely mystifying why Eno hasn't done more soundtrack music – apart from music for airports – because his music is so inextricably linked with an impetus towards images spawned, incidentally or intentionally, by the mind's eye.
Perhaps the most compelling mental movie remains that of Brian Eno's life itself – transitioning from glam to ambient to No Wave to U2 — a process by which we see that good luck can change into even greater fortunes.