Oct 25, 2022
By Ben Jardine
Brian Eno’s latest album, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE, explores the deep mind meditation side to ambient music. The tracks are musically peaceful and unthreatening: synths, gleaming prolonged notes, and the sound of birds and ASMR breathing. Lyrically, the 10 songs attempt to pack a punch, a warning of climate change: about species dying out, capitalism, and the lack of global leadership in the face of an environmental and ecological crisis.
Eno calls the songs “landscapes but with humans in them.” And those humans are angry, questioning. The only issue is that the listener doesn’t always feel that insistence come through, amidst the calm instrumentation.
Yes, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE shows Eno singing on a studio album for the first time since 2005’s Another Day on Earth. But his vocal delivery sounds tired, lacking action.
Album opener, “Who Gives a Thought,” is a glistening and beautiful synth vista, with dooming lyrics about what we choose to focus on and applaud. “Who gives a thought about the nematodes/There isn’t time these days for microscopic worms/Or for unstudied germs of no commercial worth,” sings Eno, his voice low and drawn out.
“We Let It In” is soothing, “Icarus or Blériot” a droning meditation that feels like it came straight out of a sound bath session. Only “Garden of Stars” delivers any real sense of urgency.
But perhaps that’s the point. While FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE sounds more like spa music, which, after three or four tracks, makes the listener want to get horizontal, it is a welcome break from the structure and form of contemporary music. Eno is attempting to make you pause, and think, and feel.
The album’s redeeming note is “There Were Bells”: a swelling, emotive existential piece about the end of the world. Eno first performed the song live in August 2021, with his brother Roger, at UNESCO World Heritage site, the Acropolis in Athens. During the concert, wildfires were raging just outside the city and the temperature had hit record heights. “I thought, here we are at the birthplace of Western civilization,” said Eno. “Probably witnessing the end of it.” (www.brian-eno.net)
Author rating: 5.5/10
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