Poet Rick Holland collaborates w/ Brian Eno on new album.

To casual music fans, Brian Eno is the go-to producer for rock bands looking to shake things up with a little ambience. He helped define U2’s sweeping, anthemic sound in the 1980s. He added new dimensions to Coldplay’s sonic sweep two decades later. When David Bowie discovered German electronic music in the late 1970s, he called upon Mr. Eno to shape those interests into something concrete, resulting in three of the Thin White Duke’s best albums.
Left to his own devices, though, Mr. Eno is far more “out there” than those collaborations suggest. “Drums Between the Bells” finds him working with poet Rick Holland, who wrote the lyrics for this collection of left-field electronica, New Age soundscapes and oblique pop songs. A handful of vocalists are along for the ride, but they weren’t chosen for their pipes – at least not in the usual way.
“Drums Between the Bells” is a musical vehicle for Mr. Holland’s work, after all, and those picked to deliver his terse, clipped poetry do so by speaking the words, not singing them. These are vocalists who favor recitation over melody, who are just as likely to attend a poetry slam as a traditional concert. If the music weren’t so contemporary, “Drums Between the Bells” would sound like something from the counterculture era, when Beat poetry was just as visceral as rock ‘n’ roll.
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