Even visionaries have to look back sometime. This week, it’s apparently Brian Eno’s turn.
The innovative musician and producer revisits and expands a pair of albums celebrating landmark anniversaries this year: 1990’s Wrong Way, his collaboration with former Velvet Undergrounder and kindred spirit John Cale; and 1995’s Spinner, a joint effort with iconoclastic bassist Jah Wobble. The former is a surprisingly commercial affair, featuring plenty of upbeat grooves and pulsing melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a late-period Talking Heads album. The latter is a moodier, mostly instrumental affair that grew out of a soundtrack to a Jim Jarman film — which Eno then handed to Wobble, who transformed the pieces into new works with no outside input. Bonus tracks are minimal — just a pair per disc, some already previously released — but it’s still work keeping an eye out for these if you haven’t already heard them.
THE WRONG WAY UP PRESS RELEASE: “30th anniversary reissue of the historic coming together of two icons of leftfield music. Having both started their careers as creative forces in seminal bands (Eno’s unique synthesizer treatments in Roxy Music and Cale’s viola and bass contributions to The Velvet Underground), they’ve appeared as guest musicians on each other’s records as far back as 1974, the year in which they also made a historic live album with Nico and Kevin Ayers at the Rainbow Theatre in London. They remained friends, and the year prior to Wrong Way Up, Eno produced Cale’s Words For The Dying album. This paved the way for the pair to write and record an album together, notably the first time Eno had delivered a collection of song-based recordings since Before And After Science in 1977. The resulting album is a triumph for both artists, containing the singles Spinning Away and Been There Done That.”
THE SPINNER PRESS RELEASE: “25th anniversary reissue of this unique coming together of Brian Eno and ex-Public Image Limited bass player Jah Wobble, also featuring Jaki Liebezeit from Can on drums. Starting life as the soundtrack to Derek Jarman’s Glitterbug, Eno passed stereo mixes of the film cues to Wobble who embellished and built upon them to construct the Spinner tracks. The resulting fusion combines icy ambience with a kind of psychogeographical funk.”