Brian Eno's alliance with Warp Records caused something of a flurry in the music press in 2010. To many though, it seemed long overdue, and proper, for one of the fathers of intelligent, electronic music to set up camp with Warp, now well established proponents of multi-disciplinary creativity and the progression of new music. 2010's "Small Craft On A Milk Sea" and 2011's "Drums Between the Bells", the latter made in collaboration with poet, Rick Holland, both compare well to Eno's illustrious body of work. The latest product of the union, "Panic Of Looking", an EP culled from the same sessions as "Drums Between the Bells" is due for release on the 7th of November. Far from an album leftovers package, this EP acts as an appendix to the previous volume, experimenting with songwriting and modern poetry. The opening track "In The "Future" shows more focus on the part sung, part spoken words of Holland's poetry, than was apparent on "Drums Between the Bells". Straddling music and poetry, the track has classic Eno elements, sounding hymnal, but with the choral sounds often associated with Eno, taking a back seat, with the most of the noise coming from a church-like giant piano, and glassy glockenspiel sounds until its culmination.
Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland - panic of looking by Warp Records "Not A Story", creates a tense, nocturnal, echoing space around Holland's list of spoken words and phrases, with a thin organ gradually building up layers, reminiscent of Eno's between-orbits spacescape on the darker tracks of "Apollo". Title track, "Panic Of Looking" is equally tense, a female voice speaking of "Relics of past days", "piped electric and gas", against disintegrating, synthesised chimes. A juxtaposing, more narrative vocal, talks of the panic in question - "A panic of looking at the what that we've got". "If These Footsteps" is a hasty segue to the end of the EP's panicky mid section, clocking in at just over a minute, painting its picture of a busy London full of shuffling feet and "squeals and weasels". The three tracks make up a sort of nonlinear documentation, of a human experience of a cramped urban situation. Track five, "Watch A Single Swallow In A Thermal Sky, And Try To Fit Its Motion, Or Figure Why It Flies", is the album's only instrumental piece, with a complex, yet restful, tonal quality. "West Bay" occupies a similar audial habitat to the previous track, with the voice of actress Bronagh Gallagher (Commitments, Pulp Fiction) delivering the coastal themed verse against the faint sound of waves, drawing the six tracks to a close. The EP is certainly an accomplished exploration of constructing, containing and presenting the lyrical content of songs, if these are songs. The tracks take on an intriguing depth, almost existing like some sort of aural installation. Indeed, the EP begs to be presented in a gallery environment, or unconventional performance space, and who knows, perhaps it will be. “Panic Of Looking” is perfect for those wanting to broaden their auditory horizon, or their appreciation of the written word, and at six tracks it acts as a neat introduction to the work of both Brian Eno and Rick Holland. Find out more at brian-eno.net warp.net/records/brian-eno and @RickHollandPoet Artwork by Brian Eno Images © Rolex/Hugo Glendinning 2011