Music For Films - Brian Eno

A review by Michael Davis, from Creem, April 1979, kindly typed up and supplied by Steve.

Subtlety. It's not something particularly endemic to rock'n'roll. But if an electronic tongue in the ear starts your nerve endings smokin', you ain't gonna worry about the method, are you?

Now Eno is a master of subtlety and he's also a master (of a sort) of rock'n'roll but it seems that these days, he prefers to let loose the inevitable abrasions with others - Devo, Talking Heads, Bowie, etc. You know there was a time... fade to "Re-make/Re-model" cross cut with "Babys On Fire" and back... but it's as if his most recent stuff is a reaction to the high life excesses exposed so brilliantly during his stay with Roxy Music.

So he's concentrating on subtlety. On Before And After Science, he applied it to songs and came up with another ignored disc that came too close to perfection for comfort. But there was definitely some rock'n'roll on it - "Backwater" and "King's Lead Hat" at a bare minimum - as well as a couple of brief instrumentals that would sound right at home on this album.

Music For Films is not rock'n'roll. Nor is it like the metallic mantras that ooze out of his collaborations with Robert Fripp. Instead, there are eighteen separate snippets of sound, evocative atmospheres, many made with films in mind. Put together on one album, they can help you create your own music.

For instance, begin with a dazzling quartz crystal. Fade up to soft focus on a warm bed being made warmer. Soft sighs heard from beneath the covers are transformed into space meows somehow sensed through the windows of a 747. The plane glides to earth, eventually disappearing into the Bermuda Triangle where you are seductively attacked by the stewardess in Jamaican chainsaw rhythm. She is easily eluded, however, and you swim to the surface just in time to see your purple-haired secretary teaching the switchboard nursery rhymes. The typewriter on her desk retorts with a funky clavinet imitation. You walk out the door and are immediately sizzled by a sunshower. When your eyes can focus again, youre back at home, staring at your smiling turntable as the needle returns to play the side over again, refusing to reject the record.

But it doesn't make sense, you ask? It's not logical? It may even exacerbate neurological irregularities? Snap my synapses? Yeah, well, tough titty, bub. My living room is filling up with swimming women and I ain't got time for you. If you want logic, go carouse with Kraftwerk. Later.