(Before) Before And After

The cover art is a silk screen print I made in 1978.

I vaguely knew Eno as the guy Eddie Jobson replaced in Roxy Music. At the time I was only familiar their third and Eno-less album, “Stranded” (1973).
I picked “Here Come The Warm Jets”, Eno’s first, because it looked slightly glam, and the title Zappa/Beefheart/Alice Cooper loony. The song titles were just as nuts.
Then I saw that Robert Fripp and John Wetton, two of my favorite musicians from my favorite band, King Crimson were involved.
Buying it was a no-brainer.
It’s Proto-punk Glam rock is nothing like the ambient works he’s largely known for today.
“Baby’s On Fire” features a Robert Fripp solo over 3 minutes long, which stands as some of his most fiery work.
From “Here Come The Warm Jets” to “Burning Airlines Give You So Much More”,
“Taking Tiger Mountain(By Strategy)”, from 1974 is much less ramshackle, but fortunately just as quirky.
When “Another Green World” came out in 1975, things were changing. About half of it is instrumental, pointing the way to his groundbreaking ambient work, “Music For Airports”(1978).
Unlike his previous albums, which were recorded in a very short time, “Before and After Science” (1977) was two years in the making. I never got into that one. I thought it was a little slick and bland.
My original plan for this mix was to be career spanning. I began by listening to Disc 3 of the irritatingly packaged and annotated Eno Vocal Box.
It consists of “R.A.F.” b-side of “King’s Lead Hat”, cuts from “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” an impressive yet ultimately dull album, 90′s collaborations with John Cale, “Nerve Net”, and the withdrawn “My Squelchy Life”.
While it wasn’t entirely without charm, it bored me to death. So much so that I nearly gave up.
Fortunately I decided instead to start from the beginning.
There is something in his first 3 albums, that has been missing for decades.
It was before he knew what he was doing. Before success, acclaim, and high profile productions for other artists.
I’m a fan, and he’s been a huge influence on my work as a musician, and a painter. While I like and respect his recent work, these early attempts at rock stardom continue to scratch my itch for art damaged excellence.

Two songs are technically by Phil Manzanera. “Miss Shapiro” is from “Diamond Head” (1975). Eno co-writes and sings. “Third Uncle” is from “801 Live” (1976). He is the vocalist and writer. Backing musicians are the usual suspects.

Enjoy!
-BBJ

(Before) Before And After

Or

Before Too

A fun fact I ran across:

Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy (Chinese: 智取威虎山; pinyin: zhì qǔ wēihǔ shān) is a Chinese film from 1970, during the height of the Cultural Revolution. The film was directed by Xie Tieli and was based on a contemporary Beijing opera, one of the eight model plays allowed during the Cultural Revolution. The story is based on the novel Lin hai xue yuan (林海雪原) and tells the story of an incident in 1946, during the Chinese Civil War.
Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy has been identified as one of the most watched films of all time. Official Chinese government statistics claimed a total audience of 7.3 billion through the end of 1974. The large audience can be attributed to the fact that few films were produced during the Cultural Revolution, and almost all earlier films were banned; nevertheless, the average village held ten film showings per year, and failure to attend could have been seen as a sign of political deviation. Hence, Chinese citizens would have been expected to see the film multiple times during the Cultural Revolution era.

Music To Traverse The Ceiling By

 
 

Different than the original, yet the same, too

Different than the original, yet the same, too

I had to post something to get that bad taste out of my mouth, and rehabilitate Brian Eno’s legacy instead of dwelling on an unfortunate, if lucrative, association.

I love this version of “1/1″ by Bang On A Can.
I think Eno’s original has benefited by being played by live musicians.
The fact that they were able to score Music For Airports is remarkable.
I usually play this version these days because I like the way the instruments and the room sound.

I admit the first time I heard Music For Airports I was underwhelmed. It was new, and sounded like Fripp And Eno without the electric guitar, which I needed as an anchor. I think because of the piano I gravitated to “1/1″ soonest. In the three decades since it has found a comfortable spot in my psyche. Airport ambience would benefit greatly by it’s presence.

A few years ago I picked up the version by The Bang On A Can All-Stars.

Here’s a brief excerpt from their 1998 liner notes:

“What Eno didn’t imagine was that his piece would be realized with live musicians. In his analog studio, methodically stringing out bits of tape and looping them over themselves, he hadn’t anticipated that a new generation of musicians would take his music out of the studio and perform it on live instruments in a public forum. Over at Bang On A Can we have always searched for the redefinition of music, exploring the boundaries outside what is expected……..All of the music on this disc has been created by living people in real time. Each of the four movements was recorded in a whole take on analog tape.”

Bang On A Can All-Stars: Maya Beiser, Robert Black, Lisa Moore, Steven Schick, Mark Stewart, and Evan Ziporyn

Back of original album

Back of original album

These are the liner notes from the initial American release of Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports / Ambient 1″, PVC 7908 (AMB 001)

AMBIENT MUSIC

The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces – familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.

Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.

An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.

Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten’ the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.

Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.
BRIAN ENO

September 1978

I spent a great deal of time staring at the diagrams on the back cover. This was a tremendous influence on my understanding of music. At the time I had no idea composers like John Cage routinely drew pictures instead of scoring music.

For fun I include Fripp and Eno’s “Evening Star”, their most concise and fiery collaboration, from their 1975 album Evening Star.

1/1
Evening Star

Alice Coltrane “Hare Krishna”

 
I hope to hear the whole thing someday

I hope to hear the whole thing someday

I can’t live without “Hare Krishna” from 1972′s Universal Consciousness, a record I don’t know and don’t have. I can’t say if the rest of it sounds like this or is any good. In fact I don’t know any of her other music. I have a fair amount of her husband’s, but I don’t listen to it much. I’m more into Monk.

I always say I’m not a big Jazz fan, in fact I usually say I hate it, when actually, I’ll admit to loving a lot of it.  For a non fan I sure have and cherish a lot of records.  “Hare Krishna” is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.  It is a work of staggering beauty.  It’s intensely spiritual. It sounds like meditating while coming onto acid.  It’s some of the only ambient Jazz I know. It would sound great in an airport.

Alice Coltrane (née McLeod) (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) was an American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer, and the wife of John Coltrane.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Coltrane studied classical music, and studied with Bud Powell. She began playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. From 1962 to 1963 she played with Terry Gibbs’s quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. She replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane’s group in 1965. She married Coltrane in 1966, and continued playing with the band until his death in 1967. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice’s daughter Michelle, and the couple had three children: drummer John Jr., and saxophonists Oran and Ravi. John Jr. died in a car crash in 1982.

After John Coltrane (Sr.)’s death she continued to play with her own groups, moving into more and more meditative music, and later playing with her children. She was one of the few harpists in the history of jazz. Her essential recordings were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! Records.

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. In 1972, Coltrane moved to California, where she established the Vedantic Center (see Vedanta) in 1975. By the late 1970s she had changed her name to Turiyasangitananda. Coltrane was the spiritual director, or swamini, of Shanti Anantam Ashram (later renamed Sai Anantam Ashram in Chumash Pradesh) which The Vedantic Center established in 1983 near Malibu, California. On rare occasions, she continued to perform publicly under the name Alice Coltrane.

The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback album Translinear Light. Following a twenty-five-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating on November 4 with a concert in San Francisco with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles. She is buried alongside her late husband John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.

Paul Weller dedicated his song “Song For Alice (Dedicated to the Beautiful Legacy of Mrs. Coltrane),” from his album 22 Dreams, to Coltrane; the track entitled “Alice” on Sunn O)))’s 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions was similarly inspired. Electronic musician Flying Lotus is the nephew of Alice Coltrane.

Hare Krishna