Brian Eno Announces New Album 'The Ship'
Eno brings together beautiful songs, minimalist ambience, physical electronics omniscient narratives and technical innovation into a single, cinematic suite. The result is the very best of Eno, a record without parallel in his catalogue.
One of the starting points was my fascination with the First World War, that extraordinary trans-cultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires. It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man's greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, 'over by Christmas', set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.
I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter."
The album opens with the 21-minute eponymously titled "The Ship" on which Eno's cyclically sung sea-chant builds in ominous drama, snatches of distant voice and creeping electronics. Listen in a dark room and physically feel the power of this endless sea. "Wave. After. Wave."
"Fickle Sun" follows in three movements. The first continues where "The Ship" left but with Eno's voice sounding more upfront, determined, even despairing: "and so the dismal work is done" / "the empty eyes, the end begun" / "there's no-one rowing any more, abandoned far from any shore" and the refrain "when I was a young soldier..".
"The poem read by Peter Serafinowicz was created by a Markov Chain Generator (software written by Peter Chilvers) into which we fed accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, some First World War soldiers songs, various bits of cyber-bureaucracy and warnings about hacking, some songs of mine, some descriptions of machinery, and so on. The Generator produced thousands of lines of text from which I extracted a few and then put them into this order."
"This album is a succession of interleaved stories. Some of them I know, some of them I'm discovering now in the making of them."
Warp submitted this story.