Before and After Science is really a study of "studio composition" whereby recordings are created by deconstruction and elimination: tracks are recorded and assembled in layers, then selectively subtracted one after another, resulting in a composition and sound quite unlike that at the beginning of the process. Despite the album's pop format, the sound is unique and strays far from the mainstream. Eno also experiments with his lyrics, choosing a sound-over-sense approach.
Before and After Science is the fifth studio album by British musician Brian Eno. Unlike Eno's previous albums which were written and recorded quickly, the album took over two years to complete. Several guest musicians from the United Kingdom and Germany helped with the album, including members of Roxy Music, Free, Fairport Convention, Can and Cluster. Over one-hundred tracks were written with only ten making the album's final cut. The musical styles of the album range from energetic and jagged to the later tracks which are more languid and pastoral.
Both Brian Eno and John Cale have always flirted with conventional pop music throughout their careers, while reserving the right to go off on less accessible experiments, which means they've always held out the promise that they would make something as attractive as this synthesizer-dominated collection, on which Eno comes as close to the mainstream as he has since Another Green World and Cale is as catchy as he's been since Honi Soit. The result is one of the best albums either one has ever made. [A 2005 reissue added two bonus tracks: "Grandfather's House" and "You Don't Miss Your Water."]
The possibility of Someday World arose when Brian Eno invited Underworld vocalist Karl Hyde to listen to a series of intros he'd been unable to finish. The pair share a love for African horns and rhythms as well as dance music of all stripes. Eno enlisted 22-year-old Fred Gibson as a co-producer, and numerous friends including Andy Mackay and Coldplay's Will Champion. As much as this album is a collaborative venture – Hyde's vocal and lyrics are indeed signatures – its music is impossible to separate from Eno's career. References to his first four solo records are ample, as is his work with Talking Heads, David Byrne, and even David Bowie.
Brian Eno will soon issue expanded versions of four of his albums originally released in the 1990s Nerve Net (1992), The Shutov Assembly (1992), Neroli (1993) and The Drop (1997) will each be reissued as a two-CD deluxe editions containing the original album and an additional disc of unreleased and rare Eno work specific to each record. Nerve Net includes the first ever commercial release of lost Eno album My Squelchy Life; The Shutov Assembly features an album’s worth of unreleased recordings from the same period; Neroli includes an entire unreleased hour-long Eno ambient work New Space Music; and The Drop includes nine rarely heard tracks from the Eno archives. Each album comes in deluxe casebound packaging and is accompanied by a 16-page booklet compiling photos, images and writing by Eno that is relevant to each release.
For the record, Nerve Net was not Brian Eno's first attempt at rock & roll. Not counting his time with Roxy Music, he also made several solo albums in the 1970s that were clearly intended as approaches to pop music – they were sideways approaches, of course, shaped by the intellectual distance he has always kept between himself and the music that arises from the forces that he puts into motion, and they were far from unqualified successes. But this is his most rocking solo album in years, and also his funkiest.
Taking a cue from the liner notes, most reviewers of Brian Eno's Neroli (1993) point out the piece's simple melodic line, its derivation from the Phrygian mode, its slowly mutating processes, and perhaps also its practical use as background music for therapy. All of these are salient points, and informative to anyone who wonders what this ambient album is like. Yet it might be helpful to mention Neroli's uncanny similarity to the second Environments album, Tintinnabulation (Synthesized Bell Tones), which was created by Syntonic Research, Inc., and released on Atlantic in 1972. Both Tintinnabulation and Eno's later work function as soft aural experiences, and resemble each other in their blurred textures and low chiming sonorities.
Here's the deal: Brian Eno does soundtrack bits for one of British filmmaker Derek Jarman's final productions, "Glitterbug". Then Eno turns over said tracks to dub/world-meister Jah Wobble for further tinkering. Result: amazing! This is one of those instances where the mysterious and elusive 'third mind' that so many have spoken of in quality collaborative work has come out in force and created something that's perhaps a bit beyond the scope of either of the two participants, taken alone. The 'action' here keeps moving, in a very cinematic manner, throughout the tracks that make up this release, and you get the feeling of being drawn along in a complex musical journey through spaces that seem at once familiar and suddenly very alien.
A listener familiar with the pedigree of the albums of Brian Eno might assume that Virgin/Astralwerks' release More Music for Films is merely a re-packaging of Music for Films II, a bonus album included within the LP boxed set Working Backwards. Such an assumption would be incorrect, as More Music for Films represents a new spin on a variety of soundtrack material made by Eno in the years 1976-1983, including some tracks drawn from Music for Films II, others from Eno Box I: Instrumentals, and at least six selections never made public before. According to Virgin, these are taken from the limited-edition promo LP of Music for Films, a two album set pre-dating the familiar EG release by two years and only circulated to filmmakers and journalists.