Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All I know and all I have is time and time and tide is on my side

In the movie High Fidelity, if you look closely in the background of a lot of the shots, you will see the picture to the left. This is the album cover for Brian Eno's Before and After Science, a fantastic album that is one of those albums that has several important significances attached to it. High Fidelity would make the list of 25 movies that have inspired my life (hmmmmmm.....) and lord knows the music snobbery of it's characters is something I can relate to. I mean, I love a lot of music, but I hate the kind of people who look for "Isn't She Lovely" for their daughters. Anyways it wasn't seeing the artwork in the background of the movie that led me to the discovery of Brian Eno, it was a friend whose music snobbery led me to the album. He is also a fan of High Fidelity but I doubt that is where he got the record suggestion. Anyway, this has no bearing on why it's great. It's just how random sometimes things can end up on your stereo.

Brian Eno was an obsession I had upon hearing this album. I knew of his work with Talking Heads and U2 as a producer but I never knew he was in Roxy Music and had a strange duel career as glam rocker/ambient musical God. The real memories of fully engulfing Eno was being fully engulfed with Mononucleosis in 2006, the last semester of my college career. Now talk about a sucky time in life. This album is half fun and half very ethereal and dreary. That's the kind of bi-polarism that I was going through while laid up with the latter half of the album being a better representation of that. The overwhelming solitary confinement that was forced upon me was accompanied by some very soothing tunes. It was music to allow my mind to wander and contemplate things that my physical self was unable to. That's what makes it so special.

The fun side of the record has songs that are just sheer silliness, funkiness and brilliance all in one. The opening groove of "No One Receiving" is musically one of the finer tracks on the disc with interesting bass grooves awash in pulsating percussion all surrounded by an interesting but repetitious guitar riff. It was silly tracks like "Backwater" that would give me a smile with it's hilariously meaningless lyrics, yet ultimately catchy ones (sample: "If you study the logistics and heuristics of the mystics you will find that their minds rarely move in a line.") It may very well be the most catchy song ever written that I had never heard in all my life up to that point. It's catchy and poppy but it's almost anti-pop music. Explain that! "Kings Lead Hat" (an anagram for Talking Heads) is also chock full of nonsense. It's not until the last half of the record that the atmospherics really kick in. My theme song for a while would have been "Here He Comes", "Julie With..." is lucid dream enducing beauty, "By This River" is a melodramatic tear jerker, "Through Hollow Lands" is more of a portrait than a song in it's sonic awesomeness and "Spider and I" just caps off the album as it's standout. I see it being used as two figures stare at the cosmos and seeing how tiny and insignificant they might be in this world and your problems just seem to wash away.

It's a strange feeling to get from a record. The feeling of music syncing up with what is going on in your life the time you start to listen to it. And for this reason it will remain one of those frozen moments saved by music. It may have not been the brightest time in my life, but it is something I learned a whole lot from and having a soundtrack to that is important.

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before and After Science

Up Next: Wilco - A Ghost Is Born

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