"Fickle Sun (iii) I'm Set Free" Out Now
Posted on April 21, 2016 by Lars Gredal
BRIAN ENO NEW ALBUM THE SHIP OUT 29TH APRIL 2016 ON WARP
NEW SINGLE “FICKLE SUN (iii) I’M SET FREE” OUT NOW
LISTEN AT BRIAN-ENO.NET
Photo: Shamil Tanna, 2016
We can now reveal the track “Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free” as the lead single from Eno’s forthcoming album, The Ship.
Since announcing the album, this cover of The Velvet Underground originally penned by Lou Reed has been the subject of considerable speculation. In context as the third part of “Fickle Sun” and album finale it forms an optimistic look to the future. Heard here as a standalone piece, with it’s soaring strings and prescient lyrics, the focus is on the quality of the song. A distant collaboration between two of the most important figures in the last 50 years of pop music.
Eno explains, “The first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show… it was when their first album came out and I thought “This I like! This I want to know about!”. I was having a huge crisis at the time. Am I going to be a painter or am I somehow going to get into music. And I couldn’t play anything so music was the less obvious choice. Then, when I heard The Velvet Underground I thought, “you can do both actually”. It was a big moment for me.
“That particular song always resonated with me but it took about 25 years before I thought about the lyrics. “I’m set free, to find a new illusion”. Wow. That’s saying we don’t go from an illusion to reality (the western idea of “Finding The Truth”) but rather we go from one workable solution to another more workable solution.
Subsequently I think we aren’t able and actually don’t particularly care about the truth, whatever that might be. What we care about is having intellectual tools and inventions that work. [Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens”] discusses that what makes large-scale human societies capable of cohering and co-operating is the stories they share together. Democracy is a story, religion is a story, money is a story. This chimed well with “I’m set free to find a new illusion”. It seems to me what we don’t need now is people that come out waving their hands and claiming they know the Right Way.”
Listen now at brian-eno.net
About The Ship (album)
The first solo Eno album since 2012’s Grammy nominated LUX and originally conceived from experiments with three dimensional recording techniques and formed in two, interconnected parts, The Ship is almost as much musical novel as traditional album. Eno brings together beautiful songs, minimalist ambience, physical electronics omniscient narratives and technical innovation into a single, cinematic suite. The result is the very best of Eno, a record without parallel in his catalogue.
Wave. After. Wave. After. Wave.
01. The Ship (Listen)
02. Fickle Sun
(i) Fickle Sun
(ii) The Hour Is Thin
(iii) I’m Set Free (Listen)
Total runtime: 47:31
Cover Image by Brian Eno
Layout and design by Nick Robertson
Photography by Brian Eno
PREORDER NOW AT BLEEP
Collectors Edition CD
CD, 8 page booklet and 4 art cards in case bound CD wallet with spot gloss UV and cloth bound spine
CD and 8 page booklet in wallet
2LP in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints
Coloured vinyl LP
Ltd Edition 2LP on transparent vinyl in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints
Full Album Biography:
“Humankind seems to teeter between hubris and paranoia: the hubris of our ever-growing power contrasts with the paranoia that we're permanently and increasingly under threat. At the zenith we realise we have to come down again...we know that we have more than we deserve or can defend, so we become nervous. Somebody, something is going to take it all from us: that is the dread of the wealthy. Paranoia leads to defensiveness, and we all end up in the trenches facing each other across the mud.” - Brian Eno
The Ship, the new album by Brian Eno, will be released on Friday 29th April 2016 via Warp Records. The Ship is Eno’s first solo record since 2012’s Grammy-nominated LUX. Originally conceived from experiments with three dimensional recording techniques and formed in two, interconnected parts, The Ship is almost as much musical novel as traditional album. Eno brings together beautiful songs, minimalist ambience, physical electronics omniscient narratives and technical innovation into a single, cinematic suite. The result is the very best of Eno, a record without parallel in his catalogue.
“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.
One of the starting points was my fascination with the First World War, that extraordinary trans-cultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires. It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man's greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, 'over by Christmas', set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. 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.
I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly 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.”
The album opens with the 21-minute eponymously titled “The Ship” on which Eno’s cyclically sung sea-chant builds in ominous drama, snatches of distant voice and creeping electronics. Listen in a dark room and physically feel the power of this endless sea. “Wave. After. Wave.”
“Fickle Sun” follows in three movements. The first continues where “The Ship” left but with Eno’s voice sounding more upfront, determined, even despairing: “and so the dismal work is done” / “the empty eyes, the end begun” / “there’s no-one rowing any more, abandoned far from any shore” and the refrain “when I was a young soldier..”.
“The poem read by Peter Serafinowicz was created by a Markov Chain Generator (software written by Peter Chilvers) into which we fed accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, some First World War soldiers songs, various bits of cyber-bureaucracy and warnings about hacking, some songs of mine, some descriptions of machinery, and so on. The Generator produced thousands of lines of text from which I extracted a few and then put them into this order.”
The album’s finale is a Lou Reed penned cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free”, a band who were famously credited by Eno as the inspiration behind his early music explorations as an art student.
“Written in the late sixties, Lou Reed's song “I'M SET FREE” seems even more relevant now than it did then. Perhaps anybody who's read Yuval Noah Harari's SAPIENS will recognise the quiet irony of 'I'm set free to find a new illusion'...and its implication that when we step out of our story we don't step into 'the truth' - whatever that might be - but into another story.”
Coinciding with The Ship’s release, a series of Eno installations will be happening around the World at which you will be able to hear an alternative telling of The Ship in multi-channel 3-dimensional sound installations.
The impact of The Ship album will surely be felt long after these installations are ended; it signals yet another cycle in Eno's creative career - “This album is a succession of interleaved stories. Some of them I know, some of them I'm discovering now in the making of them.”