“Before the greatest achievement.
Before the greatest detachment.
At the limit of the frontier space of the unconscious – tuned waves – “consonant things vibrate together”.
Where does the change happen? In the inner field of perception or the exterior reality of moving things in the course of becoming.
And time is no longer an obstacle, but the means by which the possible is achieved.”
This is John Peel playing Fripp and Eno’s album backwards on BBC Radio One on 18th December 1973, without anyone in the studio knowing any difference. The story goes that Brian Eno was driving in his car, listening to Peel’s show, and he had the shock of his life when he heard Peel was playing his album backwards. He tried to phone the BBC to let Peel know that, but the BBC engineers thought it was an imposter playing a prank, therefore putting the phone down on him. Peel told his listeners at the end that it was an album worth buying, without realising he was playing it backwards!
P.S. Try playing this and the adjacent Japanese court music post simultaneously!
“I thought: I want to make a kind of music that had the long Now and the big Here in it, and for me that meant this idea of expanding the music out to the horizons. In terms of space, you were not aware of the edges of the music. I wanted to make a music where you just wouldn’t know what was music and what wasn’t… a music that included rather than excluded; a music that didn’t have a beginning and an end… This is the sense of making the Now longer.”
A 1989 documentary on Brian Eno’s work in ambient sound.
Off the John Leckie-produced masterpiece of ’90s psychedelia, A Storm in Heaven (Hut/Vernon Yard, 1993). Visual material from Andrei Tarkovsky’s incredible film, Solaris (1972).
I was so in love with this album for so many years, yet I have hardly listened to it in the past decade… It’s hard to figure out why. I don’t think it’s because I tired of it. Listening again now to the full album, I get the very same goosebumps as always. Most likely the reason I haven’t listened to it is because I have it on CD, and I haven’t really listened to CDs in a long time (though I am pretty sure I have it ripped to mp3 somewhere?). Heck, I don’t even own a CD player anymore, except for my old Walkman and the DVD drive in my Windows laptop. More broadly, it’s interesting to think about how different the mix of listening formats is now compared to when this came out, and how the format of a recording affects its consumption… But I think that may be an essay for another day when I’m feeling less spacey!
Hello it’s me, it’s me
I want to touch you
It’s me throwing stones from the stars
On your mixed up world
Been circling round for twenty years
And in that time I’ve seen all the fires and all the liars
I’ve been calling home for twenty years
And in that time I heard the screams rebound to me
While you were making history
From one of the most arresting albums of the twentieth century, Maxinquaye (Island Records, 1995). I bought this CD in my final year of high school, and spent hours and hours in its company over the next few years, lying prone, alone, on the floor, curtains drawn, drowning. The album’s fractured claustrophobia felt so exactly right for the time, particularly in South Africa… its heart of darkness festering quietly while the rainbow nationalist rhetoric raged outside.
“It was the most bizarre record I’ve ever worked on,” says Mark Saunders about Maxinquaye, the 1995 Tricky album that, with the exception of the previously released singles ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Ponderosa’, he co-produced with the artist, in addition to taking care of the engineering, programming and mixing. “It was a complete un-learning experience and it was also a total re-learning experience. Think of how to make a record, then forget everything you’ve learned and start completely backwards and upside down. I could write a book about Tricky. He’s such a great character.”
Read more about the highly unorthodox way in which Maxinquaye was made, HERE.