One More Book on the Shelf
At this point, what can be said about Brian Eno that hasn’t been said before? Through his solo work and collaborations with some of the biggest names in music, he has proven himself time and again to be as brilliant as he is prolific — truly a living treasure of the music world. This time around, he teams up with Karl Hyde of veteran British electronic group Underworld. With Someday World, the two have come up with a record that is surprisingly youthful and deceptively complex.
“The Satellites” kicks off the album with a blaring chorus of cheap. tinny-sounding horns, not at all the kind of palette one would expect from a sonic artist like Eno. Did he gamble away the money he was going to use for the horn section opt for a Casio keyboard instead? Doubtful. Very few things are unintentional for lifers like Hyde and Eno, and this complex layering of cheap sounds is one of the unusual hallmarks of their collaboration. In the beat-poetry inspired “A Man Wakes Up,” the pair bring bright, almost childish guitars into the mix for a whimsical effect that would sound amateur if it wasn’t so tasteful.
The buffet of sounds incorporated on this record gives Someday World a broad sound without losing focus. Eno and Hyde have been in the game long enough to know what is too much and how to skirt that boundary without falling into the pit. The album has a consistent throwback feel, its movements often echoing artists like The Chemical Brothers and its structures bring to mind past Eno collaborations like the fantastic Wrong Way Up, featuring John Cale. The simple beauty of “To Us All” evokes the classic “Taking Tiger Mountain.” The melodies and rhythm of a track like “Who Rings the Bell” are quintessentially Eno, an effect that can’t be described so much as it is simply felt — this is an artist who has really left an imprint on his music.
All in all, Someday World is a must-listen, if only for the fact that it’s another Brian Eno record. His collaboration with Karl Hyde proves fruitful and unique, and while it may not be a spectacular breath-taker, it is a solid, unique album from one of our best. At this point, it seems like Eno decides to make an album whenever he’s bored and wants to get out of the house. Here’s hoping that he gets bored again next year.