Review Summary: An extraordinary exercise in crafting and creativity; Another Green World shows us the artistic side of pop and rock at it's finest.
In the early to mid 70’s, before his celebrated collaboration with David Bowie, before he co-produced a handful of U2 albums and countless others, and before he created the Windows 95 startup sound, Brian Eno was simply an artist with two albums to his name. With "Another Green World", Eno wanted to incorporate more of an artistic and experimental style, and where most of this sudden onset of esoteric influence came from was his infamous Oblique Strategies instruction cards technique. A mind-blowing amount of instruments were used to create this record, which gives it a very organic and diverse feel. The album has what almost everyone would call the definition of an all-star lineup, what with the likes of titan musicians Robert Fripp, Phil Collins, Percy Jones and John Cale, who add a staggering amount of quality musicianship while at the same time manipulate the sound of the music to a greater degree.
The opening song “Sky Saw” immediately showcases the lineup’s abilities. A groovy fretless bass effortlessly accompanies a tight non-linear drum beat. On top of all that is an instantly gratifying synth line that eventually gives way to an obtuse vocal melody, complete with two part harmony. Near the end of the song, the interaction between the vocals and the instruments morph into a brilliant yet beautiful bout of call and response. A mind-blowing amount of instruments were used to create this record, which gives it a very organic and diverse feel. “The Big Ship”, an instrumental, somewhat droning, yet positively uplifting song, ebb and flow miraculously without ever feeling repetitive or forced, while songs like “I’ll Come Running”, the most proper pop tune this has to offer, give us a break from the sometimes overbearing artistic nature of the album to sing along and get lost in the wonderfully simplistic side of things.
What differs the most between side one and side two of the record has a lot to do with the overall energy. While side one has the more upbeat, straightforward songs, side two deals mostly with a heavy concentration on a lounge type affair. It wouldn’t be outrageous to compare the two sides of the record to day and night, and with the second to last track “Everything Merges with the Night”, a slow strummed acoustic guitar, a restless keyboard, synth line, and Eno’s tired vocals make it easy to feel a strong late evening vibe before the peacefully ambient closer “Spirits Drifting” send us off to sleep. Though the album may be forty minutes, an average length for an album, it most certainly uses it’s time wisely, and that’s why this record excels above many others in its field, it’s simply never a chore to sit through any of the fourteen tracks. From Robert Fripp’s magnificent classically inspired guitar leads on “Golden Hours” to the timeless chorus on “St. Elmo’s Fire”, the moments that inspire awe our far too many to name. The ambient tracks that are littered throughout never feel forced or out of place, and they work to compliment the other songs beautifully. Each song adds that much more in its own way to make up Eno’s vision of this other green world he has so rightfully created.
Repeated listens are absolutely necessary, while at least one is essential. This is one of those so sought after pieces of art that only gets better and grander as time goes on, with each listen revealing a vocal melody or guitar line buried deeper into the mix that has been waiting to grab your attention. The production is bombastic, spacey, and most of all completely natural sounding. Each instrument has its own voice that is just waiting to be heard, so grab a pair of headphones or turn up your speakers, kick back and relax, and enjoy your stay on "Another Green World".