Sleeping Dogs Lie 76: Brian Eno

Music for Civic Recovery Centre is an ambient Installation album from British musician Brian Eno, released in 2000. An Opal release, with no catalogue number, this title is only available from EnoShop.

The music on the album is taken from an Installation – a show featuring music and visuals – that took place at the Sonic Boom exhibition of the Hayward Gallery, London, in April-June 2000. The event, featuring over 30 other artists, was curated by David Toop.

Part of Eno’s Quiet Club series of Installations, it combined 12 audio elements with 10 visual light-sculpture generative elements, which was, itself, part of a series of multi-dimensional generative music pieces using asynchronous CD players, carousel projectors and video monitors used in other Installation pieces.

In a conversation with Toop, Eno’s view is of a quiet “recovery area” situated within a city area, a theory which he has spoken of since the mid eighties; a “critically-functioning public space”, a (preferably) darkened room containing large-format screens, lots of CD players and sculptures.

Eno has said of his Installations “I want to make places that feel like music. I want to make things which are like music for the eyes. I want to extend music out into space, into the three dimensions of space, and into colour”.

The album contains only one track, which is based upon, and essentially an extended remix / melding of the tracks Ikebukuro, from his 1992 album The Shutov Assembly and Kites II & Kites III from his 1999 album Kite Stories. The heavily-treated, slowed-down vocals of the Kite Stories part are based on a Japanese ghost-story, Onmyo-Ji, by Reiko Otano and was read by Kyoko Inatome, a waitress from his favorite sushi restaurant. Eno calls this process “composting”: “so many processings and reprocessings – it’s a bit like making soup from the leftovers of the day before, which in turn was made from leftovers…”, “some earlier pieces I worked on became digested by later ones, which in turn became digested again. The technique is like composting: converting what would otherwise have been waste into nourishment”.

A clue as to the origins of Music For Glitterbug was finally gleaned in June of 1998 when Eno was interviewed in Mojo magazine: “Spinner wasn’t really a collaboration [with Jah Wobble]. I had done the soundtrack to the Derek Jarman film, Glitterbug, but didn’t think it stood up on its own as an album, without the film.”

Jarman’s last completed film while he was still alive was 1993’s Blue. Blue consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour filling the screen, as background to a soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turner featuring original music by Coil and other artists, where Jarman describes his life and vision.

The concept of Glitterbug was to use super 8 mm films Jarman had taken throughout his life and splice them together to tell his story. In the end, he managed to edit about an hour’s worth. This is how All Movie Guide described the hurriedly-made documentary: “It is considered to be the companion piece to Jarman’s film Blue. Without a traditional plot, the film chronicles Jarman’s life before AIDS with a series of free-flowing images gleaned from over 15 hours of Jarman’s home movies taken between the years 1970-1985. London provides the central image, but other places seen include Italy, Spain, and rural England. The glittering parties filled with drag queens, drugs, and interesting people before the onset of AIDS are also chronicled.”

Here is the original stereo mix of that soundtrack that was eventually worked over by Jah Wobble and released as Spinner after much changes – Wobble added rhythms, bass parts, and orchestra.

01 Brian Eno: “The Quiet Club” (20:52) from “Music for The Civic Recovery Centre” (2000)
02 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 01” (01:13) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
03 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 02” (03:15) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
04 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 04” (04:28) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
05 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 06” (04:52) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)