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Drawn from Life Import

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Audio CD, Import, June 12, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Picking up where such seminal Eno recordings as Music for Airports and Another Green World left off, the inveterate innovator-producer's first recording in four years is a surreal tableau of loping beats and eerie sounds enveloped in dark yet serene atmospherics. With German percussionist Schwalm contributing softly swinging drumming, Eno is free to dabble in sounds ranging from Middle Eastern string quartets to crying machines and Vocoders to happy, babbling babies. One of Life's many highlights is Laurie Anderson's cameo on "Like Pictures Part #2," as she enunciates her words above the song's spooky, soothing ambiance. "Bloom" contrasts happy baby chatter against distorted heartbeats and sinister samples; "Night Traffic" paints an empty urban center at dusk with shifting shapes and '70s jazz percussion and piano. Throughout Drawn from Life, Eno and Schwalm cast a spell of spectral dislocation and foreboding. It's like what dying prostrate in the snow must be like--slow, sleepy, beautiful, and chilling. --Ken Micallef

1. From This Moment
2. Persis
3. Like Pictures Part #1
4. Like Pictures Part #2
5. Night Traffic
6. Rising Dust
7. Intenser
8. More dust
9. Bloom
10. Two Voices
11. Bloom

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B00005AKNC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,376 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Steven Yates on June 23, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First things first: this is not an "ambient" CD. As Brian Eno himself might say, it's "too busy." At the same time, *Drawn From Life* is as different from all other Eno projects as 1997's *The Drop* was from its predecessors. Eno keeps moving forward, trying new things, and working with the previously almost unknown J. Peter Schwalm is undoubtedly part of that. The result is a something more fluid and organic sounding than *The Drop*. While the mood on certain tracks may recall that of the Jah Wobble collaboration *Spinner*, this CD is warmer and more accessible than that was. I found myself thinking more of Patrick O'Hearn's vision-inducing sound paintings for Peter Baumann's Private Music label, especially *Ancient Dreams* and *Indigo*. There is, however, more musical diversity here than on those, as evidenced by the guest cast: Laurie Anderson (vocals on "Like Pictures II"), Holger Czukay (ex-Can), Nell Catchpole (strings throughout, and some vocals), Leo Abrahams (guitar), etc.
Of course, there are plenty of indications that we are listening to an Eno project: the non-unison handclaps on "Like Pictures II" (probably the clappers were only given instructions but couldn't see or hear one another), the medley of guitar and voice on "Rising Dust," the found voices (of Eno's two daughters Iriel and Darla) and sounds of kitchen activity on "Bloom," and those two mysterious stretches of silence after this track and the follow-up "Two Voices." I suspect that while you are listening intently to find out if something is going on at very low volume and you pay attention to what you are doing, you will discover that you are hearing everything in your surroundings more intensely (intenser?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Most of the Ambient King's music in recent years has been for art installations, and only released in limited quantities. I'm pleased to have a regular "album" to listen to by Eno, and even more pleased it turned out so well. He has collaborated before with Peter Schwalm (on the Japanese "Music For On Myo Ji" release), and Drawn From Life follows along similar lines of the pair's previous work together. On the new songs, the atmospheres they created are magnificently resonant and evocative (sorry for the critic word), moving from rather abstract themes to more direct and personal melodies. With the exception of spoken word participation (Laurie Anderson on "Like Pictures 2," Nell Catchpole on "Intenser") and a vocorder on "Rising Dust," voices play a background role. These are mostly instrumentals, using the familiar synth/keyboard settings Mr. Eno is known for, but also mixing in very tasteful strings and percussion. The overall feeling is like the soundtrack for some Far Eastern documentary about architecture or industry, with a hint of mystery and intrigue thrown in. Perfect for late night contemplative listening.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By spiral_mind on June 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I say 'cold' because that's the impression I get from Eno's work throughout this masterful recording; it starts with the chilly haze of "From This Moment" and though numerous sounds and tones are used, the overall impression doesn't fade. I have to say that an equal collaboration was the best idea for this album. Brian's work alone here would have ended up as Ambient 5: Frozen in Ice. Schwalm's light fleeting percussion, however, lends a wealth of shapes and textures to the music, giving it an organic edge and a pulse.
While this album is still quiet enough to serve as background wallpaper for reading or working, it's just busy enough to keep your attention if you sit down with a good pair of headphones. It's like a dream of floating in an endless white cloud while various images and sounds come into focus, clear for a moment, then vanish. City streets, Laurie Anderson talking about pictures, kitchen dishes clinking, swirling snow, and the occasional lapse of silence. Eno and Schwalm use no real melodies and only random fragmented words, but nevertheless draw the listener into their own web as convincingly as any fine lyricist I could name.
I just looked over those previous comments and realized they sound a little ridiculous - fanciful, maybe. That's the effect this album has. It's calming, subtle and tends to stimulate the imagination. It doesn't merely blend with the room or the background as most of Eno's other work does, but blends with your own thoughts as well. This is some of the best chill-out music I've ever heard.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MG Nagy on June 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The thing I have not liked about a lot of Eno's recent output was the lack of an essential ingredient that makes his top drawer records so great: The organic. The records that you can hear (feel) the people on, that are not simply the well crafted output of machinery running in the background. "Nerve Net" and "Spinner" are wonderful examples of the organic coming through.

"Drawn From Life" sounds, figurative and literally like The onE went back and listened to some of his older records. On "Drawn From Life," he is working with a living, breathing drummer. I hope there is further collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm, because the results are excellent.

About the tracks...

"From This Moment" is a very "Discreet"-like introduction that segues beautifully into "Persis," which sounds like a track that should have been on "Spinner."

"Like Pictures Part #1" sounds like we came in toward the end of... something. Barely distinguishable voices in the background segue into "Like Pictures Part #2." Starting with mildly treated drums, backwards tape loops, handclaps, and a violin surface, stretching the time to somewhere between Middle-Eastern and a One-Drop.

And Laurie Anderson, telling us, "Some things are just pictures. They're scenes before your eyes. Don't look now. I'm right behind you." As an aside, I wish Brian and Laurie would stop, er, Pussyfooting around and make an entire record together.

"Night Traffic" and "Rising Dust" are mid-tempo and dark, and would fit nicely with Bill Frisell's "Blues Dream." "Rising Dust" has some way cool background drum loops, beautiful piano, and heavily processed vocals (the phrasing makes me think it's Laurie again). Whoever it is, you can't understand a single word (well, I can't).
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