I am only just now beginning to recover from a weeklong Eno bacchanal brought on by the viewing of this 2-1/2 hour film. During this last week, I:
- Listened to Here Come The Warm Jets straight through at least ten times
- Purchased the 33-1/3 on Another Green World and read it over two successive nights
- Purchased the Harmonia '76 reissue, and listened to it in full at least four times
- Downloaded Cluster & Eno, ripped it to disc, and listened to it all the way through at least three times
- Downloaded After the Heat, ripped it, and listened to it in its entirety at least six times
- Used that YouTube to mp3 tool to make files of both sides of that "Once Away My Son" 12-inch with Kevin Shields from Record Store Day last year, then listened to 'em
- Did the same thing with the files you can find on YouTube of the 1974 John Peel Sessions with The Winkies, listened to them, "Baby's on Fire," "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch," "Totalled," and "Fever."
- Broke out the copy of More Dark Than Shark and especially pondered the lyrics to "Needles in the Camel's Eye" and "Tzima N'arki"
My conclusions other than Brian Peter George St John etc etc is a fricking genius?
- "Needles in the Camel's Eye" is the first shoegazer song, a realization which certainly reinforced my listening of that joint with Shields
- None of it was truly ambient as I define the term, although Cluster & Eno sure is by God soft
- After the Heat is damn well underappreciated.
The funny thing about it all, the funny thing about my characteristically over-the-top reaction to seeing the film, is that the documentary itself is not itself perfect. Eno was not interviewed for the film, and even archived footage is used only two or three times. I'm not really surprised Eno didn't cooperate with the making of the film, but he has led a fairly public life, even if you limit yourself to the time since he for the most part quit making vocal based rock and roll.
It's surprising to me that more footage could not be dredged up. The film instead relies on still photos, and really, the ones you've already seen, that bounced around the screen while critics of more or less considerable credentials talked over them.
They interviewed the gal who wrote the 33-1/3 book, name of Geeta Dayal, and they interviewed David Shepherd, who wrote The Life and Times of Brian Eno, and they interviewed Eric Tamm, who wrote Brian Eno and the Vertical Color of Sound. And they interviewed Johnny Rogan, who wrote a bio of Roxy. These four plus this other annoying bloke whose name I didn't bother to notice were the meat of the movie, although I loved it the couple times they showed Christgau and Simon Reynolds, rock critics ftw!
Brian Turrington of The Winkies--and three of the four vocal albums--told the best stories (and the ones I didn't already know) while Jon Hassell was gone so fast you weren't sure he was there.
So lots of observations, lots of theorizing, and lots of headshaking at the oblique methods from observers and theorists and method actors. But not that much from the man himself, and that's what would have really capped off this properly-directed tribute most effectively.