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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond essential...,
The masterpiece of Eno's "rock" period, "Before and After Science" brings all the elements of earlier albums together: quirky, catchy rock tunes, picturesque lyrics, ambient atmospherics, unique arrangements and timbres. Eno had mastered it all by this stage and having achieved it, left the genre of rock albums for immersion in ambient territory and production work for others.
But like all great music, "Before and After Science" is somehow more than sum of its parts: an aura of melancholy and longing pervades the album (especially what was side 2 of the LP, tracks 6-10 on the CD), transcending the clever production to create a work of lasting beauty and emotional connection.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Combination Album,
Even though "Another Green World" is so much more groundbreaking in terms of where Eno would go after his first couple of records, "Before and After Science" is my personal favorite of the two. Eno has an interesting way of keeping the songs rooted to their original themes (unlike "Dead Finks" from HCTWJ), and I think this makes them more accesible. Also the fact that the original themes are very simple. Although the tracks range over all sorts of musical styles and ideas, they seem to be unified in some way, I don't know what...
My favorite tracks are "Energy Fools The Magician" and "Spider and I". The first is an example of an Eno "collage", you can see how all sorts of little pieces were shoved together to make the track. The latter is one of Eno's best "minimalist words" pices, where no word in the lyrics can be removed without hurting the whole. Also, some fabulous synthesizer work on this one, almost as good as "Becalmed" from AGW.
I never had the vinyl, but I can imagine how the break in sides would benefit the structural arrangement of the album. The idea of having two contrasting sides on the album was something Eno had wanted David Bowie to do in Berlin (he didn't do it for "Low" but finally did on "Heroes"), and the 4 pictures that come with the album are a realizatin of the "Sound And Vision" idea, also created with Bowie, where the sound is the album, and the vision is the 4 pictures.
In essence, this album combines the "pop" stylings of HCTWJ and TTMBS with the "ambient" ideas first expressed on "AGW". If you want good Eno, this (along with "AGW" and "Thursday Afternoon") should be your first buy.
4.0 out of 5 stars "In these metal days��,
The last album from sonic experimenter, Brian Eno's pop period, 1977's Before and After Science, incorporates elements from each of the previous works from that stage of his career. The album's first side features funky, glam rock oddities, like to those of 1973's Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy and Here Come the Warm Jets, such as the instantly addictive as "Backwater" and the eerie, idiosyncratic "No One Receiving." Side B recalls Eno's 1975 masterpiece, Another Green World, with a ghostly, serene soundscapes of interconnecting songs, the best of which are the mournful "Here He Comes" and the gorgeously icy "By This River." After this album, Eno would expand his experimentation further and further, founding ambient music and appealing only to the a select group of music fans. Before and After Science is a good example of when Eno used his monstrous creativity to put fresh spins on more conventional song structures.
5.0 out of 5 stars Funky Rhythm, New Wave, Ambience/Eno & lots of vocals,
If you come to this disc immediately after listening to Another Green World you will be struck by the vastly different sounds being explored. Before and After Science could be called Before and After Rhythm. Its said that Eno was responsible for turning Talking Heads onto some of the interesting rhythms they used on More Songs about Building and Food, that rhythmic sense is alive here on some of these songs as well. The first track,"No One Receiving", actually almost sounds like Station to Station(though of course with major modifications) era Bowie with its cool white funk groove. And "Kurt's Rejoinder" also has a funk groove and African beat thing flowing through it. Of course Bowie and Eno were right in the middle of their collaborative period in 77 which would culminate with 1979's Lodger which has Eno's rythmic experiments taking more steps ahead and even further down the road was more Heads experiments and the Byrne/Eno's '82 My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Anyway its fun to trace the influences when you own enough 70's discs. "Kings Lead Hat" as others have noted is a talking heads encouragement song, but what a fun song"...it will come it will come it will surely come". Success I suppose. Of course if Eno leant out Fripp and Manzanera who both play on the track it might come even sooner. I used to have this on vinyl and as others have mentioned the altered track order on the disc does take some getting used to, but if you've never owned an old copy that won't be a concern. The most striking difference between this and Another Green World is that on the earlier AGW Eno creates and populates a whole new world with his very organic synthesizers which often sound like they are foraging around much in the same way we do. His organic synthesizer world seems a very pleasing one and every track melds so well into the next. The sound and feel of AGW still feels as different and as new listening to it now as it did when I first heard it. Before and After Science is a little more dated. Enos voice sounds like Alan Parsons on occasion, as in "Julie With..."but only a little bit, and that is an otherwise beautiful song. The words and the quiet guitar part make that perhaps the most memorable track. Little bit of a borrowed melody perhaps, as many of Enos melodys seem to be.Perhaps the post-mod thing makes that "appropriating" perfectly acceptible. "By this River" is equally beautiful. The instrumental tracks are very powerful for being so simple. They don't have the sweep and grandeur of AGW instrumentals but thats not to say one approach is preferable. Just they each produce their own distinct kind of effect. A very different sound than AGW. "Through Hollow Lands" and "Spider and I" are early Ambient numbers that would fit well on those records, though that second one does have words, and may remind some of the closer on Tiger Mountain, called, appropriatley enough, Tiger Mountain. Eno is some kind of master, of what I am not certain, but a master at some arcane art. I almost forgot "Energy Fools the Magician" which is a sort of self contained instrumental sounding nothing like anything else on the disc but a very aptly titled number that.
5.0 out of 5 stars No One Receiving,
Why hip hop has not discovered and sampled the hell out of Brian Eno's music is a mystery to me. If Puffy or Dr. Dre ever get a hold of "No One Receiving", you'll see DJ's all over digging in their record crates for Eno albums.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eno essential,
I have been listening to Eno for about 15 years. This is one album that never fails to relax and/or completely inspire me. It has always impressed new Eno explorers that I've recommended it to as well.
I know that out of his 70's solo albums, the most written about is Another Green World, which is also fantastic. But there is something about Before and After Science that has more of a timeless feel. You can hear the inspiration this album gave many artists throughout the last 2 decades. The first half is sonically twisted rock while the second half relies heavily on ambient soundscapes. Both to excellent results.
I really have no words to express the beauty that is wrapped in this album- "Spider & I" and "By This River" are two of the best songs Eno has ever done, musically and lyrically. I strongly suggest to anyone having an interest in Eno's early work to check this album out. It comes from his glam rock past and points toward his ambient future.
An incredible introduction to Eno's solo work and the work he does with so many different artists.
5.0 out of 5 stars My First And Favorite Eno Album,
By A Customer
I first heard "Before and After Science" when I was in high school in 1982, and I was utterly blown away. What a great album! What extraordinary songs! I quickly obtained other albums but this one remains my favorite. I love "Another Green World," "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy," "Here Come the Warm Jets," and several of his ambient albums as well. I also like "Nerve Net," released in '92. I recommend all of these to anyone who likes a well-written song with interesting lyrics, magnificent guitar work (by Robert Fripp), and a great beat. Brian Eno is a genius.
5.0 out of 5 stars soft, heartfelt and beautiful music,
From the avant-garde rock of "No One Receiving" to the soft, hymn-like "Spider and I", this is one fine album that I listen to often (start to finish without skipping). There are only two instrumentals on here ("Energy Fools the Magician" and "Through Hollow Lands"..."Energy Fools the Magician" being the better one) and the vocal tracks make you realize the power and structure of Brian Eno's songwriting. "Backwater" is a fun song that features the piano...similar to "St. Elmo's Fire" and "I'll Come Running" from Another Green World. Songs 1-5 are mostly energetic, and 6-10 are softer. The softer songs are the most enjoyable ones. "Julie With", "By This River" and "No One Receiving" are my favorites on here. The keyboard parts in "Julie With" and "By This River are really touching and beautiful. Before and After Science is very essential if you enjoyed Another Green World. Although it's not as good, it will make you appreciate Eno's music even more.
5.0 out of 5 stars More rewarding than punk.,
This is about as abstract as rock music ever got. Brian Eno had released another white-knuckle progressive rock album - this probably being his best work - at the same time the sycophantic journalists at NME were beating the drum for punk. (So The Clash exemplified British poverty better than the Pistols and could play circles around their contemporaries? Isn't that kind of like being the tallest midget in the circus?) Well, Brian Eno had just invented a new genre of music (ambient); he had just finished working with David Bowie on 'Heroes' and 'Low', and more recently, moved into remarkably sophisticated krautrock terrain on 'Before and After Science'. Yet boring charlatans like Sid Vicious managed to steal the spotlight.
This is it: the most exiting album ever released. Buy it and watch your false teeth fly across the room in joy.
5.0 out of 5 stars The notes that remain are transcendent,
One thing you won't find on Before and after Science is a lot of notes. But you will find a few notes that will have you filling in the blanks with your imagination. Eno saves the best for last--the Vangelis-like "Spider and I" with its single verse and repeated chorus, and the beautiful and lyrically evocative "Julie With...". The subtractive compositional process that removed all the redundant notes (sometimes including even percussion) leaves music not only free of cliches and boundaries but that forces you to imagine some much grander. Listen by yourself in a darkened room and let your mind wander.
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