It’s a funny coincidence that I’d end up on this record just one day after Brian Eno’s birthday. (Not an oblique strategy on my part!) But Sunday does feel like a good day to talk about Another Green World, one of his most groundbreaking yet contemplative and frankly beautiful records—which says a lot given how vast his catalog is and how much of it is incredibly innovative. I’m not sure he’s ever made something that feels so singular as this record, an art rock album that nods in the direction of the ambient records he’d make later on while still somehow connected to his rock albums such as Taking Tiger Mountain. There’s really no other record, outside of Eno’s own, that sounds or feels much like Another Green World does.
I was in college when I first started exploring Eno’s solo records, but even then I was mostly invested in his glam-adjacent records, as well as the few Roxy Music albums he’s on. Still, there was something interesting and exciting about Eno’s take on rock ‘n’ roll, because it fell somewhat outside of what most artists were doing in the early to mid ’70s. Even Bowie, who was making some pretty unparalleled masterpieces at the time, wasn’t doing anything quite so weird—at least not until he’d work with Eno on his Berlin trilogy.
Hearing Another Green World didn’t unlock everything at once for me, but it did kind of begin a long journey for me. I downloaded the album through some file-sharing network like AudioGalaxy or LimeWire, and I liked it, but at first the songs that resonated with me most were the “pop” songs, like “St. Elmo’s Fire” or “Sky Saw,” which, I should note, still sound amazing. But over time the atmospheric, moodier pieces like “The Big Ship,” “In Dark Trees” or “Sombre Reptiles” began to resonate with me, and within those I began to develop a greater appreciation for Eno’s exploration of texture and mood, atmosphere and arrangement. These aren’t the soothing background pieces of Music for Airports, even if they’re spiritual precursors to them. They’re more focused and concise pieces with a strong sense of character, all of which make for a richer “Green World” that they inhabit.
This album is credited to Brian Eno, and it’s his unique vision, but there are a lot of big names on this record, from Robert Fripp to Phil Collins, and there’s nothing about this that feels like a “solo” album per se. But it is a reflection of how Eno saw music, as a “non-musician,” that feels so much more vibrant and beautiful than music that plays by the rules ever does. I bought the 45 RPM 2xLP reissue of this when it was announced, because if any album merits buying the ridiculous, meticulous remastered version, it’s this. And it sounds unbelievably good. Melt into your couch and imagine yourself inside its world. I’ve been listening to this album for 20 years, but I’m never really done discovering it.
Sound Quality: Great