Another Green World
Brian Eno was immobilised for long periods of time leading up to Another Green World, suffering a long illness then being hit by a car, the time off resulting in a calmer approach to record making. There are four vocal tracks on Another Green World; the remainder of the record is devoted to ambient instrumentals. I’m not particularly excited by Eno’s full scale ambient records, but Another Green World is altogether different, based around short fragments with melodic motifs and innovative instrumentation – guest appearances are still very influential on the sound of this album, as are Eno’s treatments. John Cale guests on viola, while Robert Fripp and Phil Collins also make distinctive and important contributions, although Eno plays far more of the instrumental parts than previously, reflecting the less song based nature of the album.
The standout track of this album, and arguably of Eno’s entire career, is the magnificent ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’; Fripp’s fantastic solo is merely the icing on the cake of an extremely impressive mini epic. Aside from Fripp’s contribution, Eno plays the entire track solo, contributing organ, piano, guitar, bass pedals, and percussion. The calmer ‘Everything Merges With the Night’, referring to the Chilean revolution of 1973, is another standout, its gentle strummed guitar a long way from the nasty chaos of ‘Baby’s On Fire’ two years early. The instrumentals have distinctive identities, and they’re extremely palatable in their concise forms; highlights include the gorgeous title track, which spends most of its short running time fading in and fading out, and ‘The Big Ship’
There are strong arguments for each of Eno’s four major seventies vocal records being his best, but Another Green World is my choice for the pick of an excellent bunch.