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Various Artists — A Tribute to the Music and Works of Brian Eno
(Cleopatra CLP 0016-2, 1997, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1998-02-01

A Tribute to the Music and Works of Brian Eno Cover art

Now here was an idea whose arrival was not a day too soon. Not only is Brian Eno artistically long overdue to be on the receiving end of homage, but what's more his music opens up possibilities that beg to be examined and reinterpreted. Tributes are the perfect vehicle to do just that. Representing Eno's "Idiot Energy" side are four contributions by bands of whom only one I know — Chrome. Style-wise perfectly in step with the primitive abandon that characterizes Taking Tiger Mountain and Here Come the Warm Jets, the problem with these efforts is that Eno's music has always been less about style, than spirit — a spirit that is almost impossible to duplicate, no doubt even for Eno himself. In a live concert, maybe as an encore, they would live a more propitious life. Astralasia's artless discotheque take on "Third Uncle" was commendable at least in its unexpectedness. Alien Planetscapes turn in a rousing reading of "Energy Fools the Magician" that spares no prisoners, combining Hawkwind with Albert Ayler. Restraint is nowhere in sight but applaud them for enviable gall! Five ambient entries provide contrast, the best of which (though all are sympathetically rendered) by far is by Darxtar. With an edgy immediacy absent in Eno's version, it is the only offering here that I actually prefer to the original. Saving the best for last — the familiar strains of Percy Jones' bass (who played on the original as well) belied the proudly divergent look at "Sky Saw" performed by Brand X. Jazzed up into a bizarre electric funk hybrid, its only drawback is a drummer who can't match Phil Collins' mastery. But in style and spirit, this is the prototype of what tributes should accomplish. As an introduction this CD has a lot to offer; if you own Eno's recordings, however, it may not be unique enough to warrant purchase.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Dean de Benedictis (Surface 10), Brian Eno, Chrome, Farflung, Brand X, Percy Jones, Astralasia, Various Artists, Darxtar, John Goodsall


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