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Before and After Science - Brian Eno

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    Before and After Science is the fifth studio album by British musician Brian Eno. Produced by Eno and Rhett Davies, it was originally released by Polydor Records in December 1977. Guest musicians from the United Kingdom and Germany helped with the album, including members of Roxy Music, Free, Fairport Convention, Can and Cluster. Over one hundred tracks were written with only ten making the album's final cut. The musical styles of the album range from energetic and jagged to more languid and pastoral.

    The album marks Eno's last foray into rock music for the 1970s as a solo artist, with all his remaining albums of the decade showcasing more of Eno's avant-garde and ambient music, which was hinted at on the second half of Before and After Science. The album was Eno's second to chart in the United States. The song "King's Lead Hat", the title of which is an anagram for Talking Heads, was remixed and released as a single, although it didn't chart in the United Kingdom. Critical response to the album has remained positive, with several critics calling it one of Eno's best works.

    Unlike Eno's previous albums, which were recorded in a very short time, Before and After Science was two years in the making.[6] During this two-year period, Eno was busy working on his solo ambient music albums Music for Films and Discreet Music.[6] Due to the very positive critical reception accorded his previous rock music-oriented album Another Green World, Eno was afraid of repeating himself but still wanted to release a high-quality product.

    As on previous rock-based recordings, for Before and After Science Eno worked with a plethora of guest musicians. Several artists from German and British groups of the era contributed to the album, collaborating with Eno for the first time. Guitarist Fred Frith caught the attention of Brian Eno who was "excited by the timbral possibilities that [Frith had] been discovering" on his album Guitar Solos. Eno asked Frith to record with him, and this resulted in Frith playing guitar on the album. Jaki Liebezeit of the German krautrock group Can played drums for Eno on "Backwater", while German ambient music group Cluster contributed to the songwriting and instrumentation of the track "By This River". Eno had previously worked with Cluster on their album Cluster & Eno released in 1977.Additional session musicians included Dave Mattacks of British folk band Fairport Convention, who contributed drums to "Kurt's Rejoinder" and "Here He Comes", and Andy Fraser of British blues rock band Free, who played drums on "King's Lead Hat".

    Eno also had several musicians who he had worked with on previous solo albums return. Percy Jones of Brand X and Phil Collins of Brand X and Genesis, who had been on Eno's two previous rock albums, played bass and drums respectively. Other contributors included Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Paul Rudolph of Hawkwind and Bill MacCormick and Phil Manzanera of Quiet Sun. Robert Wyatt went under the pseudonym of Shirley Williams and is credited on the album for "time" and "brush timbales" on "Through Hollow Lands" and "Kurt's Rejoinder" respectively. Working extensively with the musicians and his instructional cards—the Oblique Strategies—during the two years working on the album, Eno wrote over one hundred songs. 

    Track Listings:
    Side A
    1. "No One Receiving" 3:52
    2. "Backwater" 3:43
    3. "Kurt's Rejoinder" 2:55
    4. "Energy Fools the Magician" (arranged by Percy Jones, Eno) 2:04
    5. "King's Lead Hat" 3:56

    Side B
    1. "Here He Comes" 5:38
    2. "Julie With ..." 6:19
    3. "By This River" (Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius) 3:03
    4. "Through Hollow Lands" (for Harold Budd) (arranged by Fred Frith, Eno) 3:56
    5. "Spider and I"
    Total Time: 39:30
    Artist Name(s):
    Brian Eno – voices, synthesizers (Minimoog, EMS Synthi AKS, Yamaha CS-80), guitar, synthesised percussion, piano, brass, vibes, metallics, bell
    Paul Rudolph – bass, rhythm guitar, harmonic bass
    Phil Collins – drums
    Percy Jones – fretless bass, analogue delay bass
    Rhett Davies – agong-gong, stick
    Jaki Liebezeit – drums
    Dave Mattacks – drums
    Shirley Williams (Robert Wyatt) – brush timbales, time
    Kurt Schwitters – voice
    Fred Frith – modified guitar, cascade guitars
    Andy Fraser – drums
    Phil Manzanera – rhythm guitar
    Robert Fripp – guitar
    Achim Roedelius – grand piano, electric piano
    Möbi Moebius – bass Fender piano
    Bill MacCormick – bass
    Brian Turrington – bass
    Brian Eno, Rhett Davies
    Release Year: 1977
    Ambient, Experimental, Space Rock, Synth-Pop
    Album Type:
    Compact Disc, LP 33 1/3
    Cover & Packge Design:
    Cream, Peter Schmidt, Brian Eno
    Studio Name:
    Basing Street Studios, London; Conny's Studio, Cologne
    Mastering: Sterling Sound
    Engineer(s): Conny Plank, Rhett Davies, Dave Hutchins
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Catalog Number(s):
    2344 087
    London, UK
    E.G. Music
    Island Records Inc.
    Editions / Reissues
    1. 1977 - LP - Polydor 2302 071 - UK
    2. 1977 - LP - Island Records ILPS 9478 - USA
    3. 1987 - CD - EG, Jem Records EGCD 32 - USA
    4. 1991 - CD - Virgin EGCD 32 - UK
    Synthesizers Used
    Album Locator
    [+] Amazon
    [+] Amoeba
    [+] Discogs
    [+] Google
    [+] YouTube
    [+] Reverb.com

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Jon Johnson

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By far my favorite Eno album and I know that's a tough thing to say for some fans myself included. It has all the ingredients that makes Eno what he is. His different take on Rock-Pop-Prog music and elements of his Ambient style as well. Before And After Science was the first Eno solo album I bought after getting into Fripp & Eno's albums earlier the same year. Right off the first track "No One Receiving" It hit me as something special. A bonus having Percy Jones on bass for 3 of the tracks as well as Phil Collins after having recently gone through a Brand X phase.

Most of the songs on side 1 (with respect for the vinyl pressing) have a rock or lively feel to them but quarky as in Eno style. While by Side 2 the music winds down to more mellow, pastoral, or dare I say ambient tone. Some of titles suggest things that were happening in Eno's life such as the song King's Lead Hat, an anagam for the Talking Heads who Eno worked with more or less in the same era. Also the song Julie With...was said to be about his breakup with girlfriend actress Julie Christie around the same time.

The overall sound of the album has a variety of atmospheric tones.Even the more uptempo, lively tunes have a subtle aura or certain reverberation. The song Kurt's Rejoinder showcases Eno's voice processed through a flanger towards the end. At the time I had been using MXR flanger pedals for a few years and I couldn't help but think thats what he was using but I'm sure it was more from the board or a more pro rack version. Nev er the less the effect worked real well for this at one time aspiring musician fan.

My vinyl version that I originally bought but later parted with regrettably was the EG editions reissued in 1982 which had the record itself  inside a plastic sleeve with various EG albums stamped on both sides of the bag. I will say if you are a listener listening in an altered state and place the bag in front of the record jacket at a distance, interesting things happen to the front of the album. ;)

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