Brian Eno seems to be exploring even broader realms of ubituity than he has previously enjoyed, which is saying something. With the release of the new Coldplay album, which teamed him again with the band, and a new EP, Panic of Looking, a follow-up to his recent full-length recording with poet Rick Holland, Drums Between the Bells, Eno is participating in a full on media assault, with numerous interviews, including a particularly detailed conversation as part of the excellent Sound Opinions podcast. (There’s another appearance at wnyc.org, focused on his work with Ben Frost, and he’s due to appear tomorrow night, Thursday, November 10, on the TV series The Colbert Report.)
Sound Opinions is hosted by veteran music journalists Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. The banter can be a little Car Talk at times (the Magliozzi brothers, Tom and Ray, arguably have as much influence on the rhetoric of radio as Radiolab does on its sound design), and the descriptive mode of record reviews (of which I am myself fully guilty) frequently comes across as especially stilted when read aloud, but the guys really know their music, and Eno clearly appreciates their insights. What’s especially recommended about this interview is the attention it pays to speech. As Eno puts it at one point, “Speech is a form of song.” He speaks at length, once the interview gets underway, about the human voice, something he has long had a conflicted relationship with. As he puts it at one point, “I’m anti-semantic” (MP3).