Panic of Looking EP
Brian Eno & Rick Holland
Release Date: Nov 08, 11
There is a world somewhere, layers upon layers of dimensions beneath or above here, a world where Brian Eno’s music formed into matter which created that world. Following up their collaboration of Drums Between the Bells, Eno and Holland release the Panic of Looking EP.
It is said that the tracks from this EP are taken from recordings during Drums Between the Bells sessions. That’s quite peculiar, as while the format and composition of the albums are identical, the sound, tone, and contextual delivery of the poems are very different. The tracks on Panic of Looking have more gravity between the poems and music. It would seem these tracks were done after the duo grasped what it was they were doing.
“in the future” leads off with a tongue and cheek first line of a poem, “in the future, in that far facade.” Musically, much of it harkens back to the early Eno pop albums where he would first begin to get ambient.
“not a story” features some of Holland’s best poetry. He seems to choose, what would on paper be a list poem, words because of their tonality while also remaining consistent with the context. Meanwhile, Eno lifts the track into outer space towards a black hole swirling in slow motion.
Frankly, Panic of Looking is just hipper, more stylish, than its predecessor. The poems on Drums… arguably need a few listens to get over the pretension. Or perhaps it was something so fresh, it needed to be adapted to. Either the case, “panic of looking” is simply brilliant. How Holland and the female vocalist transition forms a most surprising composition. They utilize the space between breath and tone like instruments, electric instruments. Eno never fades into the background, instead, he bleeds through without leaving a single wound. It’s just warm.
“if these footsteps” is the most social song on the EP. Sonically, there seems to be a crowded room, yet we’re within this internal thought. It is also the shortest. In its succinctness, it moves in a very image and emotionally driven pace. “watch a single swallow in a thermal sky, and try to fit its motion, or figure why it flies,” the title alone sets the meditation for this completely instrumental track. Nice way for Holland to budget his creative medium. Seamlessly, the final track “west bay” threads along to the piano keys of the previous track. It is a poignant poem of a scene, not too much, no over thinking. And then it washes away.