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Monday, 17 October 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Cecily Eno

What a thing a career is. On Brian Eno’s 22nd solo studio album, the English composer-producer has delivered 10 ambient songs focused on the climate catastrophe. It is a slow and thoughtful treatise on the end of the world, that offers meditative sunrays through the doomy clouds, possibly intended for the species, be it flora or fauna, that remain once humans have done themselves in.

It’s powerful stuff. There Were Bells is a wistful paean to pastoral living, with signature freeform synths joining slow lyrics, thunder rolls and…could that be a harmonium? “There were bells above, they sang the whole day through” he murmurs. “And the sky revolves from pink to golden blue [...] Let it all unravel in a sea of birds and swans.” It’s really affecting, mournful music that certainly sounds like the end of something.

The album is accompanied by an essay along similar themes, but where Eno muses on the idea of artists as ‘feeling-merchants’. This feels right. 

'FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE' is, because of the presence of songs (this is the first Eno album with lyrics for nearly 20 years) more discursive than his pure ambient work. But despite its softness, it is a record that quarrels with itself—is humanity’s destruction a good or bad thing? Is Eno resigned to it? Are you?

At 74, Eno is pretty much peerless in his particular field of ambient music—try to name two other ambient composers—so it’s good to see him still creating different kinds of  work and challenging himself. But 'FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE' is not the most interesting album, despite the integrity and the currency of the artist creating it. It’s pretty doomy and bleak, but there are a lot of Baby Boomers out there peddling that worldview.

Interestingly, on the day of this album’s release Roxy Music, the art-rock band he  left nearly 50 years ago, played a reunion show at London’s giant O2 Arena. How his body of work might have panned out differently if he’d stayed in the band. What a thing a career is.

Brian Eno Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun October 23 2022 - LONDON Barbican

Compare & Buy Brian Eno Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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