Brian Eno – Panic Of Looking EP (2011)

Considering the relative geekiness of some of his music, and you have to admit some of it really is geeky (hello, The Drop), Brian Eno has maintained an aura of cool that is undeniable. It’s the fact that he just lets his music be what it needs to be — wispy ambience, glitchy noise, or just pure geekery — that makes it so cool.

There’s no attempt at feigning anything. What we as listeners get is simply wherever Eno happens to aim himself at any given time. It seems almost pointless to review his music: It’s not the kind of thing average listeners tend to skip lightly to, and his typical audience appreciates even his weirdest output in some fashion. You don’t have to love it.

Like an artist, some of the fun is just checking out what comes next, whether it works or not. It’s the exploration of ideas that is often most exhilarating.

Here, as on 2011′s earlier Drums Between The Bells, we find Eno once again paired with poet Rick Holland, doing the same spoken-word over ambling blips and bloops thing they did. Outtakes, in other words. But, strangely, these kind of work a little better, maybe simply because there is less of a revolving-door feeling to the vocalists. Oh, there’s still as many voices as songs here, but their voices fit together tonally better, not to mention these short, yet slow songs seem a better fit for each other, creating a more cohesive overall flow.

Still, the listener has to be of a particular mind set – this is “listening music” and nothing else, not music to accompany your house work or in your headphones at the office. “Listening music to think to.” Or, for some poor listeners, to slowly lose their minds to.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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