Brian Eno’s recent media presence has revolved around David Bowie memorial—as has most people’s. The two were close friends and after Bowie’s passing Eno said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “I feel a huge gap now.” Today, the ambient musician and producer of Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy returns to the news on his own accord, announcing his first solo album since 2012’s LUX.
The Ship, a reference to the Titanic, is slated for an April 29 release via Warp. The record will feature a cover of the Velvet Underground’s 1969 song, “I’m Set Free,” which Eno described in a press release as “even more relevant now.”
For the original music, Eno applied the signature experimentalism that’s been influencing popular music for decades.
“On a musical level, I wanted to make a record of songs that didn’t rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape. I wanted to place sonic events in a free, open space.”
A series of art installations will accompany the new record, giving listeners an “alternative telling of The Ship in multi-channel 3-dimensional sound installations.” The substance of those installations is anyone’s guess, but there’s a good chance it revolves around the Titanic, the sinking of which, in Eno’s mind, is the analogue to the First World War.
“[The First World War] followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic…the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man’s greatest triumph over nature,” said Eno in a statement. “The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.”
The Ship promises to be an existential merger of man, machine and the spaces we inhabit, the ones that prevail in indifference even as we fall—indifferent even to those losses that create such profound gaps in our lives.
“I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonizingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter.”
IMAGE: Garry Knight