In the past 24 hours, Warp Records made available for streaming a single track off the forthcoming Brian Eno album. It’s a post-punk rush, opening with tribal drums and some fritzed-out feedback not un-reminiscent of Robert Fripp’s guitar. It builds slowly, in a manner that brings to mind bands like the Feelies and, especially in its last minute, Sonic Youth — though only to the extent that Sonic Youth inherited the wall-of-fuzz guitar of Eno’s mid-’70s rock albums.
The song is titled “2 Forms of Anger,” and it’s due for release at the start of November on the album Small Craft on a Milk Sea, which gives a credit to both electronicist Jon Hopkins and guitarist Leo Abrahams. It’s Eno’s first album on Warp, known as the home to Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, and other adventurous musicians.
The song is hosted at soundcloud.com, where enthusiasm is best gauged by the density of vertical bars superimposed on a given track’s waveform, each bar representing a comment from a listener.
One side note: Typically, the illuminated down arrow in that waveform interface (on the right hand side) signals a track is available for free download. In this case, it links to an opportunity to purchase the track. But since the album isn’t yet for sale, it simply leads to brian-eno.net.
Addendum: I posted this a bit prematurely. I want add the following: This track makes me much more excited about the upcoming album than I had been. Eno’s work in recent years, on a sonic level, has largely been more interesting theoretically than in practice, from his last solo album, through his collaborations with David Byrne and Paul Simon, to his score for Lovely Bones, to his varied interactive projects on the iOS platform (Bloom, etc.). This song, though, is visceral — not that his music needs to be visceral to make an impression (if anyone has, it’s Eno who’s made it clear that one can be the opposite and leave a lasting one), but its visceral-ness is such a refreshing and welcome surprise that it changes the lens through which the album will be viewed. It shows compositional development from beginning to end, and it plumbs the recesses of his catalog, notably his association with the long-ago No Wave culture in New York. My only criticism after several initial listens is that some of the guitar, especially early on, sounds quite apart in the mix, almost like it was layered in as an afterthought. That may be the result of the subpar compression rate — Soundcloud, like many such services, streams at 128kbps — but since Eno’s a producer known to test-run his albums on cassette tape, it’s assumed that he gave this one a listen at 128 himself before unleashing it.