Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Songs #98 and 99 of 9999 - It's TWOsday!

Song #98 of 9999                                                    Song #99 of 9999
Title: Spinning Away                                                Title: I Feel Love 
Artist: Brian Eno and John Cale                              Artist: Donna Summer
Year: 1990                                                               Year: 1977
Album: Wrong Way Up                                            Album: I Remember Yesterday

I have to admit I had never heard Wrong Way Up before this past Sunday. One of the nice things about writing this blog is you get taken to places you didn't even know existed. I knew Brian Eno and John Cale had collaborated on an album but it never made its way to me and I didn't go looking. 

"Spinning Away" was inspired by Van Gogh's "Night Sky at Arles," its lyrics describing the act of drawing in florid detail. It's one of those songs that gets richer every time you listen to it. As you would expect from Eno, the musical landscape is as complex as a painting layered with thick paint. Off-kilter drums and an active bass bubble beneath a slow and repetitive four-chord progression while a fluid vocal is poured over the top, avoiding syncopated violin stabs. Eno described the song in terms of "contrasts of speed" and lists Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," produced and orchestrated by Georgio Moroder, as an inspiration for the arrangement. It's easy to hear the similarities with Moroder's pulsating synth rhythms contrasted by Summer's silky vocal. Both songs have a trance-like quality despite being quite different in style, instrumentation and texture. A surprising and unlikely pair for this TWOsday!

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