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Brian Eno's Another Green World (33 1/3 series) Paperback – November 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The book itself is a masterpiece; it's not just a book about the making of a record, it's a book about how to make art and how to think about how to make art. (Amanda Palmer)

Eno's use of collaboration, chance, and cybernetics to force creativity makes for a fascinating story....Eno himself apparently loved the book, buying copies for friends. This isn't surprising- an interest in process has been a constant of his work for four decades. (Pitchfork)

The prose is elegant, the sheer scope of the work impressive, and the meditation on the source of creativity is both well done and light-handed. (Flavorpill)

As a study of Another Green World it's impressively holistic, hungry to catalogue every possible point of departure for thinking about the record … the best short introduction to Eno's work and ethos going (The Wire)

It's as much a philosophy book as a "Behind the Music" breakdown, and an invitation to think creatively about creativity. (The Millions)

Dayal's unique and fresh take, which also delves into Discreet Music, is a must read for Eno fans and makes a great primer for the uninitiated. (Flagpole)

About the Author

Geeta Dayal's writing on music, visual art, and science has appeared in many major publications, including Bookforum, The Wire, The New York Times, The International Herald-Tribune, and The Village Voice. She is currently at work on a second book on the history of electronic music. She lives in Boston.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826427863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826427861
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.4 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mark Malamud on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the second 33 1/3 book I read (the first was Hugo Wilcken's excellent Low) and I can't overstate my disappointment. Unlike Wicken's book which always kept the album in focus, Dayal's work hardly even keeps the album in sight. Despite asserting in the preface that the book would not be a biography, an excessive amount of time is spent repeating old stories about Eno's history (pre- and post- Another Green World) that have little or no bearing on the album in question. In over 100 pages, less than a dozen actually focus on the album's tracks. In short: this book is not a source for anyone interested in learning something specific about Another Green World.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Steven Yates on November 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Geeta Dayal's contribution to Continuum's 33 1/3 series was delayed several times; finally in print, it was definitely worth the wait. Geeta Dayal has successfully walked the tightrope between giving us an extended review of a record that (incredibly!) will be 35 years old next year and a biography of its creator, Brian Eno. What we get are touches of both--in the context of a nice, accessible guide to the total environment that went into the making of that amazing record, Another Green World. We are reminded that Eno's way of working drew on such devices as the Oblique Strategies cards, what he'd learned from other adventurous composers such as John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, and the gold mine of ideas available in books he'd read ranging from Stafford Beer's ventures into cybernetics and management to Morse Peckham's exploration of the relationship between art and biology. Eno's way of working, which treated musical composition as one species of system creation and used the recording studio as a de facto instrument, lifted Eno out of the boxes that confined, e.g., the majority of "prog rockers." Among the results was removing vocals/lyrics from the center of the picture resulting in "flatter" productions where no single instrument dominates. This mindset would lead to the development of ambient music in the late 1970s/early 1980s and, later, to generative music in the 1990s. It's amazing that any one person could pull all this off--but Eno is undoubtedly a genius, having gone from visually-stunning (and cross-dressing) Roxy Music glam rocker to one of the world's most in-demand producers and most respected visual artists.Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Graham Duff on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Geeta Dayal's lengthy, self-absorbed preface describes, in great detail, how difficult she found the writing of this insubstantial book. And it's impossible to deny that her discomfort and awkwardness shine out of the text. It reads like a bundle of hastily scribbled notes for a book she lacked the genuine desire - or more likely the actual ability - to write.

Dayal says she wanted "to write an exploratory book on the ideas underpinning the music". The result however, is a work in which she sprinkles fleeting mentions of cybernetics, Fluxus and architecture, amongst a batch of over familiar cut and pasted interview quotes.

Her writing is meandering, uneven and unfocussed, whilst her powers of description are severely lacking. Especially when it comes to music itself. For example, the best description she can summon up to define Eno's single `The Seven Deadly Finns' is "goofy". She also describes the single version of Kraftwork's `Autobahn' as "goofy". She finds the liner notes to Lou Reed's `Metal Machine Music' "goofy". The chorus of Eno's `I'll Come Running' is "goofy". Even Marshall McLuhan's I Ching style Distant Early Warning cards are apparently "goofy". Meanwhile, Eno's own Oblique Strategy cards are singled out as being "quirky".

Repeated use of such glib and incongruous short hand to define this wide range of cultural artifacts serves to complete the impression of an author capable of only a very shallow reading of her subject matter. Her description of Can, Cluster and Harmonia as "offbeat German bands" is laughably simplistic. Unfortunately, "offbeat" is another of Dayal's favorite catch-all words. A number of Eno's life experiences were apparently "offbeat". His art tutor Roy Ascott's teaching methods were "offbeat".
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By cloud chamber on March 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I very much looked forward to this book and when it arrived I noticed it was quite a thin volume. Quality over quantity? Alas, it was neither quality nor quantity.

To begin, the entire introduction has the author lamenting the difficulty of writing the book and that difficulty shows in the wandering, ADD approach she brings to the subject. It lacks focus and while some details of Another Green World are described, she brings nothing new to the table.

Every analogy is without merit, especially the cinematic analogies. The David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti analogy is telling in that it tells the reader that Geeta Dayal lacks the necessary skill as a writer to describe the working relationship between Brian Eno and Robert Fripp.

At one point the author writes that Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti wasn't their greatest record. This book is filled with useless bits such as that one. While such bits try to place AGW in context, they succeed only in padding this lifeless volume out to just barely over 100 pages.

In the end, the bibliography was more interesting than the book. A failed effort for a subject which deserves so much more.
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