‘Another Day on Earth’ sees the godfather of ambient making a return to songs, a territory Eno has visited only occasionally since the mid-70’s. To me, this album seems to be about the current forlorn state of the world post 9-11. The title perhaps asks us to look at the world from a planetary perspective, with a species, homo sapiens, going about its business, trying to get on. ‘This’, the opening and most accessible track has a loping bass-heavy groove reminiscent of ‘Ali click’ from the Nerve Net album. It projects Eno looking at the objects around him and questioning his assumptions, his sanity even. Of late, Eno has become increasingly politically engaged, campaigning door-to-door against Tony Blair for an anti-war candidate, and involved with the Long Now Foundation which is concerned with the long term future of humanity.
Many of the tracks on the album benefit from the sonic atmospheres Eno has built up on his ambient productions, drifting off into serene reminiscence. ‘A long way down’ sounds like the Apollo album, Eno as Kubrick’s star child. Some have female spoken word vocals, such as ‘going unconscious’ and ‘bonebomb’, a very dark piece about the last thoughts of a suicide bomber that abruptly ends the album. Even though this album is going into ‘song’ territory, this is a relative term with Eno, and certainly not conventional lyrically or structurally. ‘Caught between’ is in a surreal, dreamy place and ends with a gorgeous Robert Fripp-esque guitar solo. ‘Bottomliners’, a standout track, has a tocking clock, a little Buddhist bell, Thursday Afternoon atmospheres and Eno’s richly processed voice contributing to a song possibly about bloggers, memes or an uprising in the Third World, it’s hard to tell.
For those willing to listen carefully, put their preconceptions aside, and take this album at face value, they will find it a beautiful and rewarding experience.