Brian Eno Announces New Album, “The Ship,” for April 29 Release via Warp | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Brian Eno Announces New Album, “The Ship,” for April 29 Release via Warp

Album Partly Inspired by World War I and the Sinking of the Titanic

Feb 24, 2016 Brian Eno Bookmark and Share

Brian Eno has announced a new album, The Ship. It’s due out April 29 via Warp and is Eno’s first solo album since 2012’s LUX. The album opens with a 21-minute long title track, includes a poem read by actor Peter Serafinowicz, and ends with a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free.” The latter was written by Lou Reed in the late ‘60s and Eno says it seems “even more relevant now than it did then.”

A press release says the album was “originally conceived from experiments with three dimensional recording techniques.” The album only has two tracks, although the second track has three parts and the album’s total runtime is 47:31. The press release promises that The Ship “is almost as much musical novel as traditional album.”

Eno comments on the album in-depth in the press release, discussing the inspirations behind The Ship. “On a musical level, I wanted to make a record of songs that didn’t rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape,” he says. “I wanted to place sonic events in a free, open space.”

Eno says that his fascination with World War I (“that extraordinary trans-cultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires”) was one of his starting points. “It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man’s greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, ‘over by Christmas,’ set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.

“I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonizingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter.”

The second part of the album, “Fickle Sun,” features a poem read by British actor/comedian/writer Peter Serafinowicz (Look Around You, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spy). The text was created a Markov Chain Generator, with software written by Peter Chilvers. “Into which we fed accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, some First World War soldiers songs, various bits of cyber-bureaucracy and warnings about hacking, some songs of mine, some descriptions of machinery, and so on,” Eno explains. “The Generator produced thousands of lines of text from which I extracted a few and then put them into this order.”

To sum up the album, the press release ends with this quote from Eno: “This album is a succession of interleaved stories. Some of them I know, some of them I’m discovering now in the making of them.”

The Ship Tracklist:

01. The Ship
02. Fickle Sun (i) Fickle Sun (ii) The Hour Is Thin (iii) I’m Set Free


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