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Who's Gonna Love You When Your Looks Are Gone?
May 9, 2006 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Brian Eno is the godfather of electronica, the inventor of ambient music, and producer of the best work by bands like the Talking Heads and U2. Tchad Blake has helmed the mixing board for Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Soul Coughing and the Bad Plus, to name just a few. Paul Simon is one of the most recognized names in pop music both for his work with Art Garfunkel and for his fusion of American pop music with African and South American music. Surprise is the the album they collaborated on, the new Paul Simon record featuring Eno's signature sonic landscapes all over it, and the entire lovely thing, complete with liner notes, is available to listen to on Simon's website.
posted by eustacescrubb (69 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Only 4 of the 11 tracks are available to stream in their entirety. The remaining 7 are only samples.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:46 PM on May 9, 2006


Crapola, you're right. That's what I get for listening while I wash the dishes.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:49 PM on May 9, 2006


I think Kraftwerk takes the spot of the godfather of electronica...

Eno would be the godfather of ambient music (with perhaps exception to phillip glass)
posted by bigmusic at 7:50 PM on May 9, 2006


the inventor of ambient music

oh, puh-leeze...
posted by quonsar at 7:51 PM on May 9, 2006


And I guess right before Kraftwerk would could pick Wendy Carlos as the real "god father" of all electronic music.
posted by bigmusic at 7:51 PM on May 9, 2006


Hmm.

Unfortunately this is going to have to go on my list that sound good only in theory.
posted by blacklite at 7:53 PM on May 9, 2006


Er. List of things that sound good only in theory.

There goes my witty snark! Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
posted by blacklite at 7:53 PM on May 9, 2006


And Pepsi Blue is tasty and refreshing!
posted by Zozo at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2006


It sounds really overproduced and cold...so cold...
posted by Bistle at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2006


Zozo, it was much less Pepsi Blueush when I thought the whole album was online. That's still ptretty rare.

And... Kraftwerk? Really? I suppose the matter is up for deabte. I've always seen Eno as more influential than Kraftwerk.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:58 PM on May 9, 2006


oh, puh-leeze...

When you have to invent a term to describe the music you write, you get to be called the inventor of that genre. It's kinda how it works.
posted by Jairus at 8:08 PM on May 9, 2006


And I guess right before Kraftwerk would could pick Wendy Carlos as the real "god father" of all electronic music.

Lest we forget the magnificent Leon Theremin and the virtuoso of his instrument, Clara Rockmore.
posted by Demogorgon at 8:34 PM on May 9, 2006


Doesn't seem to want to load for me right now, I'll give it a listen later. I've always enjoyed some Eno, particularly his work with Bowie and his more "convential" solo work like Taking Tiger Mountain and Here Come the Warm Jets.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by marxchivist at 8:34 PM on May 9, 2006


Dang, the one track I listened to was nice until he started singing...
posted by Eekacat at 8:40 PM on May 9, 2006


It's definitely a change of sound for Simon... I'm not sure I'd say "overproduced", since that's pretty much how every Eno-produced album sounds, and it's just what you get when you put the man behind the mixing desk. I kinda like it, actually, and I've been a fan of Simon's (and Eno's, for that matter) for a long, long time.
posted by 40 Watt at 8:42 PM on May 9, 2006


"Eno"! That explains it. I thought they kept saying "emo"...

I was just bewildered over what an emo-influenced Paul Simon would sound like.
posted by smackfu at 8:48 PM on May 9, 2006


your taste in music sucks. That goes for all of you. Now stop arguing so I can listen to Flock of Seagulls in peace.
posted by pmbuko at 8:48 PM on May 9, 2006


What this album needs is cameos by Axl Rose & the bird from Hatebeak, obviously. (I like it, so far)
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:52 PM on May 9, 2006


Is this one of those things that you have to listen to before you make fun of it?
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 PM on May 9, 2006


Thanks eustacescrubb for the chance to hear an album I would have been interested in. Dang, I love Paul Simon's music but all the songs on Surprise seem somehow wan, except for Outrageous and Father and Daughter, which sound like a global hits. Simon goes Hallmark. The various elements seem to have potential but when patched together things comes out blah and commercial, a disappointment.
posted by nickyskye at 9:16 PM on May 9, 2006


the inventor of ambient music...oh, puh-leeze...

Quonsar, I must agree with Jairus--Eno has described how he was bedridden in hospital and a visitor left a tape or record on then left, but the recording was playing at extremely low volume. He had an epiphany and composed, I think, Music for Airports, with the intention that it be played at that level.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:19 PM on May 9, 2006


Add Edie Brickell to the mix next time and what I want is what I want...take what I get {too laxy to get correct spelling of fleeting pop star's name]
posted by longsleeves at 9:20 PM on May 9, 2006


". . .Wendy Carlos as the real "god father" of all electronic music."

Walter Carlos was the godfather. Later, he became Wendy, the godmother.

btw, Eno's "Music for Airports" is a work of genius and I particularly recommend the version done with live musicians and acoustic instruments by Bang on a Can.
posted by donovan at 9:32 PM on May 9, 2006


Music for Airports is indeedly what started it.

Yum. *noddle*
posted by po at 9:35 PM on May 9, 2006


I've got the real thing, AND I like it.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:35 PM on May 9, 2006


Erik Satie gets no love.
posted by kenko at 9:43 PM on May 9, 2006


And then there's this, from Kant's third Critique:
Or, even at big parties, the table-music—an odd thing, which is supposed to sustain the mood of joyfulness merely as an agreeable noise, and to encourage the free conversation of one neighbor with another without anyone paying the least attention to its composition.
Sounds like ambient music, or Satie's furniture music, to a T.
posted by kenko at 9:47 PM on May 9, 2006


I was ready to dismiss this album out of hand, if only because I love Graceland so much (*sings* 'cause loooooosing love is like a window in your heart...) and I figured this couldn't be much more than AAA schlop, but when I heard Eno was responsible for the 'sonic environment' I thought I'd open one up early and give it a shot. my ears enjoyed much of the album. the feel of it (especially track 2) reminded me a bit of David Gray's White Ladder--which fits in a sort of horse-before-carriage way. Surprise was surprisingly listenable, and very groovy at times. I'm looking forward to absorbing the melodies a bit more and digging into the lyrics.

it should be mentioned that Bill Frisell lends his considerable talent on a few tracks, and Herbie Hancock bangs the keys on one or two. also, Andy Smith helped out on the production and recording. (don't know if that link will work unless you're signed in to amg)
posted by carsonb at 9:48 PM on May 9, 2006


Discreet Music (1975) predated Music for Airports (1978) by three years, and its title track was the first to be directly inspired by the hospital listening experience referenced above.

Simon & Eno seem an odd coupling to me, but the audio on the site shows promise and wasn't what I expected at all. I'm looking forward to hearing the full album.
posted by timing at 10:02 PM on May 9, 2006


The first Fripp & Eno albums were recorded in 1972, though they weren't released for a few years after that.
posted by kenko at 10:06 PM on May 9, 2006


I wasn't terribly impressed on first listen, but I love Simon so I'm sure it'll have time to grow on me.
posted by danb at 10:30 PM on May 9, 2006


anyone know who did the photos on Surprise? some good ones there...
posted by seawallrunner at 10:43 PM on May 9, 2006


Devils Rancher, you did not just drop some hatebeak knowledge on us.

you should check out caninus. it's grind with pitbull vocals.
posted by punch_the_mayor at 12:53 AM on May 10, 2006


As coincidence goes - I was listening to Eno's Discreet Music when I clicked this link.

As ignorance goes I didnt know he was the god father of electronica seen as Discreet Music sounds like an orchestra.

As music to fall asleep to goes - Discreet Music is really nice (left it on loop all night). Other recommendations to fall asleep to include Sigur Ross and Godspeed You Black Emporer.
posted by 13twelve at 1:12 AM on May 10, 2006


Sounds just like I would expect a Simon/Eno thing to sound. I bet my parents will like this. Thanks.
posted by Packy_1962 at 2:17 AM on May 10, 2006


Thanks, eustacescrubb. I love Eno, I love Tchad Blake, and I..... have great respect for some of Simon's music. Don't let those posier-than-thou posters get you down. Philip Glass?? This is the truth about Philip Glass...
posted by TiredStarling at 2:38 AM on May 10, 2006


and his more "convential" solo work like Taking Tiger Mountain and Here Come the Warm Jets.


Those works are simply terrific

and

I was just bewildered over what an emo-influenced Paul Simon would sound like.


Does he have a MySpace?
posted by RubberHen at 3:30 AM on May 10, 2006


I learned of Brian Eno by learning about Erik Satie, and much prefer the latter (especially as interpreted by Teodoro Anzellotti on accordian).
posted by unmake at 3:42 AM on May 10, 2006


Happiness is a warm jet.
posted by furtive at 4:01 AM on May 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heard the whole album last night. Thought it had a great sound, but the songwriting didn't impress me. None of the songs really stuck out (althought they certainly did have lots of words!)
posted by barjo at 4:14 AM on May 10, 2006


I thought I was going to read he died. I expect he will at one point, just glad it wasn't yesterday.

Waiting for the Pepsi Fucking Blue snarks to die, though, with as much as anticipation as I have for, say, the passing of Bil Keane.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 6:00 AM on May 10, 2006


Happiness is a warm jet.

You, sir, are a true musical nerd. I applaud you!
posted by 40 Watt at 6:16 AM on May 10, 2006


C'mon, No Pussyfooting, we should be Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:26 AM on May 10, 2006


Thanks for the link but did anyone else have the experience of liking the music but finding Paul Simon's voice absolutely grating to listen to? Maybe it is the 'bridge over troubled waters' that rattled around in my head while I was listening...
posted by bluesky43 at 6:28 AM on May 10, 2006


I was never really a fan of Paul Simon, but graceland is my all-time favorite album & the one that changed my musical taste. It got me interested in African music.
posted by mike3k at 6:49 AM on May 10, 2006


Since the last Brian Eno thread has closed, I will remind you here that the multitracks of two songs from the recently re-released My Life in the Bush of Ghosts are now available to download under a Creative Commons license.
posted by clockwork at 6:58 AM on May 10, 2006


Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) - the original Maoist opera.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:02 AM on May 10, 2006


Devils Rancher, you did not just drop some hatebeak knowledge on us.

you should check out caninus. it's grind with pitbull vocals.
- punch_the_mayor a


seconded. check out Human Rawhide.

hmm. i'm actually really intrigued by the eno/simon collaboration. i'll have to listen at greater length when i'm not at work...
posted by dubold at 7:14 AM on May 10, 2006


and cold...so cold...

What do you want from Eno? Bubbly?

("...bubbly, bubbly, bubbly Eno!")
posted by pracowity at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2006


karlheinz stockhausen
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:14 AM on May 10, 2006


Maybe it is the 'bridge over troubled waters' that rattled around in my head while I was listening...

Garfunkel sang that.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:16 AM on May 10, 2006


just had to give my 2p - Pierre Henry is the godfather of electronica. Kraftwerk are the godfathers of Techno and Eno is just a twat who likes elevator music (I kid, I kid... Eno is amazing!)

There, everyone happy now? your favourite band is simply misinterpreted.
posted by twistedonion at 8:47 AM on May 10, 2006


Yeah, Eno didn't "invent" ambient music, because Satie had already indelibly stamped it back towards the beginning of the century (and Cage had worked out the indeterminite aspect completely). But in naming it as such and codifying it, he easily gets to be its "godfather."

Less relevant to this thread but still notable is that Eno and Byrne are very obviously the midwives, or whatever term you might prefer, to sample-based pop music, which accounts for a huge raft of artists and trends over the past couple decades.
posted by soyjoy at 9:06 AM on May 10, 2006


I picked up the album yesterday. I don't know what to think of it yet. It's not bad, but (without having much knowledge of Simon's work outside of Simon & Garfunkle, which I love) I feel like the lyrics are kind of lacking for a Paul Simon album. Musically, it's pleasant, nothing more and nothing less. I was kind of hoping that with Eno floating around the recording studio the album would be a little bit weirder than it is.
posted by kryptondog at 9:28 AM on May 10, 2006


I've always seen Eno as more influential than Kraftwerk.

Jeez, I wish. Most people who claim Eno as an influence seem to know nothing about conventional song structure. When Eno broke the rules, he knew exactly which ones he was breaking. People who don't master cliches usually fall prey to them.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:56 AM on May 10, 2006


Most people who claim Eno as an influence seem to know nothing about conventional song structure.

Please give examples!
posted by dydecker at 10:23 AM on May 10, 2006


Dear Mr. Eno,

Just because you have a 64-track mixing board in front of you doesn't mean you have to fill all 64 tracks with 64 different sounds. How about letting a four-piece band sound like a four-piece band?

-A music fan
posted by rocket88 at 11:19 AM on May 10, 2006


I think animal lead vocalists, a la Hatebeak and Caninus, are gonna be the Next Big Thing.

It's good to see all the old school guys like Neil Young and Paul Simon going strong and doing relevant stuff...
posted by First Post at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2006


Fans of Graceland should also check out the next album Simon did, The Rhythm of the Saints. Some African influence there too, as well as Brazilian. I think it's even better than Graceland.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2006


I've been listening to Music for Airports when I visit airports lately, it's a poignant and touching experience.....if somewhat nerdy.
posted by PHINC at 12:16 PM on May 10, 2006


"If the answer is infinite light, why do we sleep in the dark?"
Because we want to be awake to see the answer, duh.

"It's outrageous a man like me stand here and complain."
Truer words have seldom been sung.

"Who's gonna love you when your looks are gone?"
On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog.

"Trust your intuition. It's just like goin' fishin'."
Yep, that's Awkwardly Rhymin' Simon. Fishin' accomplished.

"We brought a brand new baby back from Bangladesh... Beautiful."
What no infant from Iran, child from Chad, adoptee from Argentina or rugrat from Russia?

Actually, I enjoy Paul Simon's lyric-writing even when I'm making snarky responses to them. Musically, the arragements sound rather bland, like Simon is doing "Graceland" without the ethnicity. And the album desperately needs an upbeat, rockin', sing-a-long song like "Kodachrome" or "Mother and Child Reunion", but maybe Paul really is getting old...
posted by wendell at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2006


Thank you for this Satie interpretation, which I must hear as soon as I can.
"Teodoro Anzellotti on accordian"
posted by hank at 1:06 PM on May 10, 2006


Let's not forget Fluxus when we speak about ambient music. In fact, tons of Eno's ideas come straight from them...
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2006


I'll see your Kraftwerk and Eno and raise you a Soothing Sounds for Baby by Raymond Scott ( aka Harry Warnow)
posted by vronsky at 1:58 PM on May 10, 2006


Edgard 'Godfather of electronica' Varèse
posted by Sparx at 3:04 PM on May 10, 2006


Brian Eno is boring
posted by cellphone at 8:05 PM on May 10, 2006


cellphone +fave
posted by dydecker at 8:26 AM on May 11, 2006


Well both Simon and Eno are immensely talented musicians.
But both can be boring, but they are great. Oh Im confused.
So but *this* is a cool happy story .. the story of Doug Beatty and Carolyn Hilsinger's little Taking Tiger By Mountain Tribute project..... listen to this cover.
Like, what happens,when mortals, not space aliens (Eno himself) do Eno music ....highly endorsed by the Big E himself...
posted by celerystick at 9:44 PM on May 11, 2006


I've listened to this after finding it on new nova (organization). Found it very affected, uninspired with the smack of deeply accomplished but oddly incomplete production.

It seems almost like a masterpiece that wasn't taken to the final level and fails spectacularly. Almost like the producers thought, "well they will never be able to tell the difference and it will be called a masterpiece anyway." The syncopation (a Paul Simon trademark since Graceland) is incoherent but not in an intentionally beautiful way like Tricky pulls off...in a either a "we gave up and called it good enough way" or a "fuck it we need to get it to market this week kind of way." Oddly dissatisfying experience. Only one track that gets playlisted by me. ~Once upon a time there was a mountain.~

The whole time I was listening to the album I was wondering where I could find a program to strip the vocals that seem almost an afterthought. Like he flew in and laid them in a weekend on his way to play golf somewhere else he would really rather be. Lyrics reek of affectation, a too comfortable lifestyle for the subject matter and rings empty and eerily conniving and soulless. Some incredible sounds in the instrumental tracks though but even they sound as though there was a disagreement before they reached full focus and the artist (not Simon) deliberately pulled back from completing the masterwork that was so close.
posted by Muirwylde at 11:07 PM on May 11, 2006


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