Various Artists: Brian’s Imaginary Jukebox review – For the Eno obsessives

Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 05:05


Brian’s Imaginary Jukebox: Discreet Ruminations and Oblique 45s

Various Artists



“Imagine,” it blurbs on the inside cover of this perceptive, often illuminating double album, “if Eno had a jukebox. Maybe two jukeboxes. One for strange pop productions, one for ambient mood music. Could they sound like this? Should they sound like this?”

The intriguing theory posited here is whether (or how) Brian Eno’s long-held and rightly acclaimed status as an early creator of contemporary ambient music might have been influenced by the pop music of previous generations.

This not implausible notion is addressed across two CDs (one is titled The sound of original wonky pop, the other A moment of ambient genius), and gamely attempts to join the dots between the two.

Only Eno obsessives and music theoreticians could conceivably connect Little Richard’s Ooh! My Soul, Little Willie John’s Fever, and Jim Reeves’s I’ll Fly Away with Miles Davis’s So What, Marcel Duchamp’s Erratum Musical (for Three Voices), and Gyorgy Ligeti’s Atmospheres, but it’s the thrill of the chase that snags the interest.

The concept also dovetails neatly with Eno’s own MO: not so much “why?” as “why not?” and the result of his “what if” experiments.