Brian Eno Announces “The Ship,” An Album and “Musical Novel”

“This album is a succession of interleaved stories. Some of them I know, some of them I'm discovering now in the making of them.”

Living legend Brian Eno has put out so many different records in so many different forms that it appears that any formal count has long since been abandoned. By a conservative count, though, his just-announced new album, The Ship, could be considered his eighteenth studio release. Regardless, it’s his first proper solo one since 2012’s Lux, and his second for Warp Records.

The Ship is technically just two tracks, “The Ship” and “Fickle Sun,” but the latter track consists of three movements, which includes a cover of The Velvet Underground’s masterpiece “I’m Set Free.” The whole thing is being described of as “almost as much musical novel as traditional album.”

Speaking of his inspiration behind the album, Eno is clearly not toying around, and had this to say:

One of the starting points was my fascination with the First World War, that extraordinary trans-cultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires. It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man’s greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, ‘over by Christmas’, set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.  

I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter.”


The Ship tracklisting

Brian_Eno-2016-The Ship_cover1. The Ship
2. Fickle Sun
– (i) Fickle Sun
– (ii) The Hour Is Thin
– (iii) I’m Set Free





The Ship is out April 29 via Warp.


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