Electronic music pioneer Brian Eno has announced his first new solo album in almost four years. Titled The Ship, the upcoming record has been given an April 29 release date and features a cover of the Velvet Underground’s song “I’m Set Free.” According to Eno, he drew inspiration for his latest work from both the First World War and the Titanic:
On a musical level, I wanted to make a record of songs that didn’t rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape. I wanted to place sonic events in a free, open space.
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.
To roll out the new record, Eno is planning on staging a series of installations, where, according to a press release, listeners will get an “alternative telling of The Ship in multi-channel 3-dimensional sound.” No further details about when or where those installations are going up are available at this time.