Rewind, album: 'Another Green World' by Eno
Another Green World
If, for the sake of argument, green can be used as a synonym for beautiful (like Mother Nature herself), then it's as good a word to describe Brian Eno's music as any. And then, with Another Green World, if you substitute "world" for "album" then you're pretty close to summing up not only this LP but also the three that came before it and the many that followed.
While many readers may not recognise Eno's name you'll have almost certainly heard a record he's played on, written, or produced. He's akin to the great American producer Nile Rodgers (of Chic fame), whose unique musical touch changed first disco then pop music from the 1970s to the present.
Eno started out as an art student in Britain, but before long began to experiment with sound and sonic rhythms. When he was 24 he joined Roxy Music as their synthesiser player, and his initial reluctance to join the band on stage reflects the type of personality he embodies: humble, quiet and preferring to work behind the scenes.
But Eno soon grew tired of the band and the direction it was headed, and decided in 1974 to strike out on his own. His first few albums were less experimental than the one in question, sitting neatly within the rock genre, and it wasn't until Another Green World that he really began to push the boundaries.
Of the 14 tracks on the album only five contain lyrics, a bold move for a musician who had emerged from a typical band with a singer at the front and centre. The rest of the songs are more akin to the ambient style he would soon become famous for - most notably on 1978's Ambient 1: Music for Airports - with Eno playing most of the instruments himself, from programmed and live drums to guitars and keyboards. He also brought in a number of guest musicians (collaboration has always been key to Eno's work), such as Phil Collins, John Cale, and Percy Jones.
Another Green World contains a mixture of computer funk and soundscapes alongside the more ordered rock numbers that many loyal fans could understand. But listen carefully and there is enough to suggest a producer who was mainly interested in experimenting with the structure of sound and rhythm, as well as tying together many sub-genres from electronica and punk to ambient and Afro-beat.
From this album forward, Eno would become known as the great improviser, as well as the man who produced a number of acclaimed albums for U2, Talking Heads and David Bowie throughout the 1980s and '90s. And the man with the Midas Touch is still going strong.