"We call it speech, but we're singing to each other": Brian Eno on "Drums Between the Bells"

By Harriet Staff

Brian Eno is at it again. This time, he's made an album in collaboration with British poet Rick Holland. According to an article from the Los Angeles Times,

"Drums," on which Eno has created a 16-track work of exquisite musical structures that support, reinforce, play tricks with, encapsulate and interpret Holland's poetry. It's read by a collection of human voices gathered from Eno's everyday life, including the receptionist at his local health club, his Polish bookkeeper and a South African woman he met on the street — in addition to Eno and Holland. The work, part of a career that includes at least 45 solo and collaborative albums, is a fascinating, magnetic experiment in sound.

Perhaps most significantly, though, is that "Drums Between the Bells," eight years gestating, captures most of the Eno sensibilities that have made him such a force in modern music: You can hear melodies suggestive of his gentle late 1970s work on "Music for Airports" and "Discreet Music." Other pieces, like the title track and "Sound Alien," are as furiously propellant as his 1992 drum and bass inspired album, "Nerve Net." The soft, easy melodies on "Cloud 4," which Eno narrates himself, could be updated reworkings from "Another Green World."

Eno has some grand ideas of his own, which he expresses in the album's liner notes:

"I hope this record will signal the beginning of a new way for poets to think about their work, and for audiences to think about poetry.

We are right at the beginning of a digital revolution in what can be done with recorded voices. [T]hey can be stretched, squeezed, harmonized, repositioned, inverted, diverted and perverted. Speech has become a fully-fledged musical material at last."

Here's a Holland poem.

Here's the full Los Angeles Times article.

And one from The New York Times.

And a track from the album, apparently called "glitch."

And, of course, the Pitchfork review.

Originally Published: July 5th, 2011