I meet Brian Eno, aka the brainiest person in pop, at his studio in a smart West London mews house, a vast yet hospitable space full to bursting with guitars, computers, keyboards and endless expanses of bookshelves. Among the more peculiar decorative touches are a series of old-fashioned ghettoblasters, mounted on the walls with chains, and a cluster of large painted-polystyrene rocks. A long crushed-velvet coat hangs over the back of a chair, a reminder of its owner’s tenure as the flamboyant synthesiser wizard in Roxy Music. At once chaotic and ordered, the studio is the ultimate reflection of the mind of the man popularly known as “Professor Eno”.
We are here to talk about his 13th solo album, Another Day on Earth. It is a remarkable work, not least because it is his first collection of fully formed songs since 1974’s Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy. While the distorted instrumentals and shuffling rhythms echo ambient works such as Another Green World, there are also sweeping choruses and pop melodies. In the opening track “This”, Eno questions his place on the planet amid twitchy techno beats, while the new single “How Many Worlds” finds him reflecting on “our little world turning in the blue”. His voice then gives way to a string-laden instrumental passage of astonishing beauty. “It’s very easy to make music nowadays,” says Eno, smiling broadly and offering an unexpected glimpse of a gold tooth. “Well, songs are very exposing; there’s no technological solution to songwriting. It’s no easier now than it was in Chaucer’s day.” (more…)