the sleeve of 'taking tiger mountain' is enough to sell it on it's own but then this review isn't about 'taking tiger mountain' so i will shut up about it. for a while i left my eno based exploration at that one solo album and two of his roxy music records. it wasn't until i was, post college working in a used record shop that somebody played the (at the time) recently released CD box set and i heard 'needle in the camel's eye' that i resumed my search and sweep of all things ENO.
this is less coherent than the other albums from this period. both 'taking tiger mountain' and 'another green world' are a lot more successful at conveying there own more message, they flow more easily and play like concept pieces. this for me is a more blatant attempt at fusing the ENO magic with more pop based sensibilities, this is most obvious on 'king lear's hat'.
quite unfairly that is usually the track that gets singled out when people talk about this album. it's not bad if you like the annoying art-funk of TALKING HEADS, if you don't it's a skipper. for me the real magic's on side two, specifically the last three songs on here: 'by the river', 'through hollow hands (for harold budd)' and 'spider and i'. they sit on their own, airy, lush and perfectly formed making what proceeded them seem almost incidental.
i wonder if the hi-fi shop guy has managed to re-buy all of the records he sold yet? i do hope he didn't pay silly money for the richard pinhas related stuff.
...anyway, 'before and after science' - overall bitty but equally as good as three of the albums he made before this. i'm not including 'discreet music' (1975) here cos it's a bit shit.