Film Music 1976 – 2020
UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Brian Eno: dreamer, schemer, enabler, conceptualist, visual artist – he’d be important if he wasn’t in any way connected to music. And though he doth almost protest too much as blatant “Non-Musician” his influence is towering. I always say that his fingerprints are all over any serious music collection whether you know it or not – but I guess if its in any way a ‘serious’ music collection then you do know it. Point is you can approach Eno from one of many angles – collaborator, producer, conceptualist, arty singer/songwriter, ambient pioneer – or you can be there for all of it. One other job-skill for his LinkedIn profile is Soundtrack Composer.
I was so excited about this compilation – feel like I’ve been waiting for it forever, and felt very emotional, nostalgic and connected to the experience of listening to this – even though a lot of it is music I have heard before. The best compilations, whether single artist overview or a group of songs from an era or a thematic approach, make you hear the music all over again and as if brand new.
One of the revelations here is how good some of the music was by Passengers; that Eno and U2 stopgap project. One of the revelations here is that Eno should actually sing more – Under (from the movie Cool World) in particular is an effective piece of pre-Chillout pop, You Don’t Miss Your Water (from Married To The Mob) is that sweet, spectral gospel that Eno has always had as part of his oeuvre. One of the other revelations here is that there are films you will want to go back and watch again because of a snatch of the music, or films you’ve never seen that you want to connect with because of this music. I’m yet to watch the TV show Top Boy, despite many recommendations. But it’s been bumped further up a long list because of the mood made by Eno for its opening credits which also perfectly opens this compilation.
There are more obvious sequences from more obvious films – the gorgeous tranquillity of Deep Blue Day (originally from Apollo Atmospheres) was dementedly places in a dream-sequence for Trainspotting; so hearing it here evokes that scene rather than some of Eno’s more relaxed, post-ambient vibes.
That in fact could be a subtitle in a way, post-ambient vibes. For this isn’t ever as Not-Entirely-Present as his Ambient series of albums but there are shades taken from that. And it’s never quite the singer/songwriter vibe and it’s never quite the producer vibe. But again it’s bits and pieces from all of those worlds, made to swirl anew here.
Brian Eno was my most listened to artist in 2020, Spotify tells me. Mostly that was the ambient albums and of course that lovely new collaboration with his brother Roger. And it was some of his angrier, art-punk too. But it was also this. This wonderful compilation of thoughtful film pieces – Ship In A Bottle from The Lovely Bones, Blood Red from BBC Arena’s doco on Francis Bacon, the glorious Prophecy Theme from Dune – I’m thinking always of both the music and the movies when I listen to these pieces in this order and in this way. I’m thinking always of the enormity of Eno’s contribution. The deceptive simplicity of his conceptualisation.
Film Music 1976 – 2020 was worth waiting for. It’s been building my whole life; that’s the timespan that he’s actually been building these pieces in. It’s exquisite. Subtly moving. It’s up there with Morricone in terms of Happy Place music for me.
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