Brian Eno's Another Green World (33 1/3 series)
Geeta Dayal's "Another Green World" contribution to the 33 1/3 collection is invaluable. It's a knock out, really. The book is like a tiny manifesto for struggling creative individuals who find themselves perplexed and frustrated in any number of fields as diverse as music, business management, visual arts and on and on. Business management may seem a stretch, but when you consider "cybernetics" which has had a major impact on Brian Eno's organizational skills, the connection doesn't seem so tenuous.
Dayal's book reads like a philosophical treatise in the way "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" informs its readers of philosophy without coming off as the least bit didactic. You know, the college professor lectures, and you pretend to dutifully listen and take notes as you doodle. The reader is kind of thrown into Dayal's elaborations, expansions, and amplifications on "Another Green World," and you learn a few things about Dayal in the process.
For example, Dayal is every bit the experimentalist as Eno. The author suggests playing selections of "Another Green World" and "Discrete Music" at half and quarter speeds on either turn tables or on tape machines. Dayal also suggests playing Eno's music in combos: tracks from Discrete Music played at the same time as "Music For Airports." I thoroughly enjoyed this inventiveness bordering on the playful that Eno and by extension, Dayal, engage in. I suppose, if you can't have fun in your work, then you're missing out on something. Eno and Dayal have made me more familiar with this idea of loving what you do, and doing what you love, although, it's not the first time I've encountered what, at surface seems like a New Age cliche' for folks struggling with a loss of meaning in their work. Interesting that Brian Eno mentions suffering a midlife crisis starting at age 19, and continuing unabated, for the last forty years of his life! He often asks himself, "Is any of this art that I'm doing really worth the time and effort?" If anything, Eno is honest with himself. He possesses that deep philosophical strain found in most civilizations.
There isn't an exact chronological order to this book. It kind of ping pongs from interviews with Eno in the 1980's and 1990's to extended interviews with session players and colleagues of Eno who give the book a flavor of current happenings. By this I mean, there is an immediacy to some of the interviews, that makes one feel as though the recording sessions were taking place earlier in the day. There's a real vibrancy on offer in Dayal's critique.
As mentioned in several reviews for the 33 1/3 series, these books are intended for people who are passionate about their albums/cds. The general sense I get is that as people mature and sharpen their intellectual skills in their 30's/40's/50's, they desire a more sophisticated approach or at least a defense as to why these albums matter to them. They need a structural approach to the material that inspired so much passion,and infused their existence with meaning. Gayeet Dayal lends the vocabulary necessary to articulate what it is that this music does for the listener. It's a very commendable book on that score.