Brian Eno
Panic of Looking


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
November 7th, 2011 | 40 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More drums; more bells.

Chasing a successful and critically-acclaimed album with an EP of cuts that were left out from the initial release can be a double-edged sword, particularly if you’re in the business of making ambient, mood-driven music. Unlike in, say, indie rock, where abandoned cuts from the original recording sessions tend to make for interesting and even stimulating codas, in a realm such as Brian Eno’s – where the appearance of being in absolute control of the record’s trajectory needs to be upheld – release a collection of rejects and nine times out of ten, it'll sound like a collection of rejects. That’s never a good way to release a studio effort – yet it is in such waters that Panic of Looking now finds itself.

But trust a wily old fox like Eno to be thoroughly cognizant of such circumstances and – more importantly – the surest method for their circumvention. In fact, it isn’t hard to imagine a scenario in which the composer cannily decided to exclude these six tracks from Drums between the Bells because he was well aware that he would have the opportunity to come back to them later. Much of this latent versatility is due to the unique talents of Eno’s latest accomplice: in the poet Rick Holland, Eno had picked, as only he can, a collaborator whose work would always remain vital and current, even if its accompanying atmospherics were rarely to rise above the extemporaneous.

When artistic appointments are made through lenses tinted with such shrewd calculus, an inevitable failsafe is pitched squarely on the horizon. Take the EP’s opening track “In The Future” for example: Holland’s verses find themselves sitting precariously above sparse – even hollow – programming for over half of the song’s duration, but when the backing choir steps in, urgently pressing listeners to go “Beyond steel and glass…to the solace of grass”, it isn’t so much Eno’s masterful electronic builds that gets pulses racing, but rather his collaborator’s jarringly introspective verses. Similarly, closer “West Bay” rides minimalistic and mournful piano chords and an artificial sea swell, with Holland’s writing driving home the track's message of bleak abandonment and sad solitude.

That’s not to say Eno is being a slouch by any means, though. On the title track, the composer conjures up a psychedelic groove that is at once oddly reminiscent of both A Saucerful of Secrets and Ummagumma-era Floyd before purposefully guiding it through an ambient filter. Here, the song’s heavy-handed lyrical delivery is deliberately nudged to the fore, leaving in its wake a musical piece that is almost eerie in its skittering, thoughtful quality. Elsewhere, "If These Footsteps" marries some of Eno’s trademark trippy swells to a series of guttural, Nine Inch Nails-esque industrial beats, with Holland’s lyrics strangely – but fittingly – muffled on account of some faceless huffing and puffing in the background.

With Eno being the proverbial rolling stone that he is, the Panic of Looking EP will undoubtedly be the final release from this charming collaboration – at least for a while. While all bets are obviously off as to each artist’s next endeavor post-separation, it’s extraordinary to note that by some freak of cosmic justice, the collaboration’s biggest source of newly added value this time around is the very fact that it's over.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream: http://bleep.com/index.php?page=release_details&releaseid=32172

Comments and criticism will be - as always - much appreciated.

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

wabbit
November 7th 2011


7000 Comments


it always surprises me that you like this guy

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 7th 2011


10594 Comments


Ah, and thus yet again Irving leaves me and the rest of us in the dust haha.


Awesome review!

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, fair enough! Tbh dude, I only know this dude from Drums Between The Bells and his work with U2 and - to a lesser extent - Coldplay. But what I've heard I really really like. It made me go out and get a copy of Small Craft on a Milk Sea too (unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet).

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah, and thus yet again Irving leaves me and the rest of us in the dust haha.

Haha, what are you talking about?! I'm not the one with five or six post-promotion reviews! ;)

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


6448 Comments


Where's the Lulu review?

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


23827 Comments


more Eno material, man this guy never sleeps. good review Irving. I mean, it's no Justin Beiber, but I'll pos. I guess.

Tbh dude, I only know this dude from Drums Between The Bells and his work with U2 and - to a lesser extent - Coldplay. But what I've heard I really really like. It made me go out and get a copy of Small Craft on a Milk Sea too (unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet).


holy shit man, you need Another Green World and Music For Airports immediately.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Justin Beiber

Dude are you Canadian or not?! It's Bieber - GET IT RIGHT (ahaha).

On a more serious note, will do on the AGW and MFA front. If I can find a copy in Malaysia that is...I don't really wanna torrent =/

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 7th 2011


10594 Comments


Hey now! It's only 4! And one was written pre-promotion! ; )

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


23827 Comments


shit I misspelled our national hero's name! they'll have me executed!

Another Green World is my summer jam. I listen to it while longboarding and almost nothing on this Earth makes me happier than when 'Sombre Reptiles' comes on when I've just finished dropping a big hill and I'm returning to cruising speeds.

as for Music For Airports, it's one of the most masterful and well-executed ambient albums of all time (probably the most). it's not an album you sit down and focus on listening to though, it honestly works best as background music. I'm not sure if this is true or not but I've heard that certain major airports actually play the album in their terminals to give them a good ambience.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ clercqie: I'm actually working on like, five or six different pieces at the moment...and Lulu is pretty far back in the order of things. I want to do Darren Hayes' Secret Codes first, followed by either Sufjan Stevens' Avalanche (just discovered the site didn't have a review for that yet) or Disturbed's The Lost Children. New releases are also a bit of a priority for me, now that I'm Contrib. That being said, I do hope to put it out eventually.

@ Chino: NEG NEG NEG NEG NEG *sticks tongue out + blows raspberries*

@ Aids: Hahahah yeah they'll bring back the death penalty for that crime, you can be sure of that ;) Dude, you're making AGW and MFA sound exceedingly cool. Gonna get on that shit fast. Also, I want to take this opportunity to note that I've rarely heard other Eno albums mentioned in the same breath as those two...is there a reason for that?

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


23827 Comments


I think those are widely accepted as his best pieces. I haven't heard most of his stuff (well that's not true, I've heard probably all of it cause I have this friend who is obsessed with Eno and plays him all day long, but I only have those two and his 21st century albums) so I can't speak to whether that's true or not. Another Green World is more pop oriented while Music For Airports is a whole other beast. it's four 20+ minute tracks that many credit with inventing ambient as a genre for contemporary music. Idk I'm not a big enough fanboy to really delve into it though, ask Eno (the user) or something.

Long story short, those two albums are masterpieces.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2011


7287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ask Eno (the user) or something.

I lol-ed harder at that than I probably should have.

Nagrarok
November 7th 2011


8247 Comments


Eno is yet another on the list of artists I need to hear more from. Review is once again proof of why you are most deserving of that promotion.

Tyrael
November 7th 2011


20877 Comments


Oh look it's a perfect Irving review, how awesome, how predictable! Where has the internet drama gone oh great gods why is this happening this is so weird dude seriously.... *feints*

Aaaaanyways, stellar review Irving!

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


6448 Comments


Fair enough, I was just joking around ;)

I keep hearing good things about that Sufjan Steven guy, is he worth checking out? What kind of style or genre does he play?

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2011


23827 Comments


is he worth checking out? What kind of style or genre does he play?


his older stuff is indie-folk (or so I'm told, I haven't heard it) but The Age of Adz is seriously unclassifiable. it rules, check it out for sure.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 7th 2011


10594 Comments


Would I like this Irving?

WashboardSuds
November 7th 2011


5014 Comments


ah nice work, Irving :]

I never really got into Eno, except for maybe a few songs

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 7th 2011


10594 Comments


This is actually pretty decent!



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