Thursday, November 20, 2014

40 Year Itch : We are the Central Shaft

   There are more ideas on this Brian Eno album than were needed to get a man on the moon. Released in November of 1974, Taking Tiger Mountain ( By Strategy) is Brian Eno's follow-up to the debut Here Come the Warm Jets. Both are absolutely essential.

  For this album, Eno put together a small band made up of Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera on guitar, two Winkies ( bassist Brian Turrington and drummer Freddie Smith), and with contributions from Phil Collins, Roxy Music's Andy Mackey and Robert Wyatt. He also teamed up with artist friend Peter Schmidt on Oblique Strategies. When facing decisions in the studio, Eno could flip a card and do what it said : "Abandon Normal Instruments" ( like the typewriter solo in "China My China"), "Listen to the Quiet Voice" ( like the title track perhaps), and most famously, "Honour thy Mistake as a Hidden Intention".

    Among the standout tracks are "Third Uncle", which begins with a Turrington bass riff and then launches into a tune with Manzanera and Eno both playing guitars at manic speed. Some have cited this as the birthplace of punk.  "The True Wheel" inspired the name of two bands, Eno's supergroup 801, and A Certain Ratio, while name checking Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers. Finally there's the lead off track, "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More", which reveals Eno's whimsical sense of humor despite the relatively recent memory of a Turkish Airlines disaster in Mrch of 1974.

   Also released this month was the album that would change Eno's life and music: Miles Davis's Get Up With It. Listen to the Duke Ellington tribute "He Loved Him Madly ( Pt 1)" and you will hear one of the main inspirations behind Eno's new age-y Another Green World.


  1. Pity you didn't post China My China, that's a cracking tune.

  2. Everything on this LP is great. An all time fave!