Here Come the Warm Jets
|Here Come the Warm Jets|
|Studio album by Eno|
|Studio||Majestic Studios, London|
Here Come the Warm Jets is the debut solo album by Brian Eno, credited only as "Eno". Produced by him, it was released on Island Records in January 1974. The musical style of Here Come the Warm Jets is a hybrid of glam rock and art pop, similar to Eno's previous album work with Roxy Music, although in a stronger experimental fashion. In developing the album's words and music, Eno used unusual methods such as dancing for his band members and having them play accordingly, and singing nonsense words to himself that would form the basis of subsequent lyrics. The album features various guest musicians, including members of Roxy Music, Hawkwind, Matching Mole and Pink Fairies, as well as Chris Spedding, and Robert Fripp of King Crimson, who collaborated with Eno a year before on (No Pussyfooting).
Here Come the Warm Jets peaked at number 26 on the United Kingdom album charts and number 151 on the US Billboard charts, receiving mostly positive reviews. It was re-issued on compact disc in 1990 on Island Records and in 2004 on Virgin Records, and continued to elicit praise. Critic Steve Huey of AllMusic stated that the album "still sounds exciting, forward-looking, and densely detailed, revealing more intricacies with every play".
Here Come the Warm Jets was recorded in twelve days at Majestic Studios in London during September 1973 by recording engineer Derek Chandler. It was mixed at Air and Olympic Studios by Eno and audio engineer Chris Thomas. The album's title was believed to be a slang term for urination. In an interview with Mojo magazine in 1996, Eno said that it came from a description he wrote for the treated guitar on the title track; he called it "warm jet guitar ... because the guitar sounded like a tuned jet."
Eno enlisted sixteen guest musicians to play on the album with him, including John Wetton and Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Simon King from Hawkwind, Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole, Paul Rudolph of Pink Fairies, Chris Spedding and all the members of Roxy Music except vocalist Bryan Ferry. Eno selected them on the basis that he thought they were incompatible with each other musically. He stated that he "got them together merely because I wanted to see what happens when you combine different identities like that and allow them to compete ... [The situation] is organized with the knowledge that there might be accidents, accidents which will be more interesting than what I had intended".
Eno directed the musicians by using body language and dancing, as well as through verbal suggestion, to influence their playing and the sounds they would emit. He felt at the time that this was a good way to communicate with musicians. The album credits Eno with instruments such as "snake guitar", "simplistic piano" and "electric larynx". These terms were used to describe the sound's character or the means of production used to treat the instruments. After recording the individual tracks, Eno condensed and mixed the instrumentation deeply, resulting in some of the tracks bearing little resemblance to what the musicians recorded during the session.
Eno's girlfriend at the time, potter Carol McNicoll, supervised the design of the cover for the album, which features one of her teapots. It also has a picture of a woman urinating outdoors on the back of what appears to be a "naughty" playing card.
Music and lyrics
"Needles in the Camel's Eye" from Here Come the Warm Jets. Eno referred to the song as "an instrumental with singing on it".
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The songs on Here Come the Warm Jets reference various musical styles from the past and present. The overall style of the album has been described as "glammed-up art-pop", showcasing glam rock's simple yet theatrical crunchy guitar rock and art pop's sonic texture and avant-garde influences. In some tracks, Eno's vocals emulate the manner of the lead singer of his former band Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry. On other songs such as "Baby's on Fire", they were described as "more nasal and slightly snotty vocals". Musically, the album borrows from popular styles of the music in the 1950s such as the tinkling pianos and falsetto backing vocals on "Cindy Tells Me", and the drum rhythm of "Blank Frank", taken from Bo Diddley's song "Who Do You Love?".
To create the lyrics, Eno would later play these backing tracks singing nonsense syllables to himself, then take them and form them into actual words, phrases and meaning. This lyric-writing method was used for all his more vocal-based recordings of the 1970s. The lyrics on Here Come the Warm Jets are macabre with an underlying sense of humour. They are mostly free-associative and have no particular meaning. Exceptions include "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch", about the historical A.W. Underwood of Paw Paw, Michigan with the purported ability to set items ablaze with his breath; according to Eno, the song "celebrates the possibility of a love affair with the man." Eno has attempted to dissuade fans from reading too much into his words; he claims that the song "Needles in the Camel's Eye" was "written in less time than it takes to sing ... I regard [the song] as an instrumental with singing on it".
Here Come the Warm Jets was released in January 1974. The album was one of Brian Eno's best-selling releases, charting for two weeks and peaking at number 26 on the UK Albums Chart on 9 March 1974, and number 151 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart. Eno planned a tour with the band The Winkies to accompany him following the release of Here Come the Warm Jets. Eno had to depart the tour after being diagnosed with a collapsed lung. After recovering, Eno played at an Island Records 1 June 1974 concert with fellow musicians Nico, Kevin Ayers and John Cale.
Here Come the Warm Jets was later re-issued on Polydor in March 1977, and again on compact disc in January 1987. In 2004, Virgin Records began reissuing Eno's albums in batches of four to five. The remastered digipak release of Here Come the Warm Jets was released on 31 May 2004 in the UK and on 1 June 2004 in North America.
|Christgau's Record Guide||A|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|Spin Alternative Record Guide||9/10|
Initial critical reception for the album was mostly positive, praising its experimental tendencies. Critic Lester Bangs of Creem declared it "Incredible", while Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave it an "A" rating, stating that "The idea of this record—top of the pops from quasi-dadaist British synth wizard—may put you off, but the actuality is quite engaging in a vaguely Velvet Underground kind of way." Billboard wrote a positive review, stating that "... while it all may be a bit unpredictable, and may be a longshot to do much in the U.S. market, it is an excellent LP." The album was also placed in Circus magazine's section for "Picks of the Month". Cynthia Dagnal of Rolling Stone wrote an article on Eno, calling the album "a very compelling experiment in controlled chaos and by his own self-dictated standards a near success." The next month, Gordon Fletcher wrote a negative review for the album in the "Records" section of Rolling Stone, stating "[Eno's] record is annoying because it doesn't do anything ... the listener must kick himself for blowing five bucks on baloney." In 1974, Here Come the Warm Jets was voted one of the best albums of the year in the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll for that year.
Later assessments of the album have been positive; AllMusic gave the album five stars, their highest rating. In 1991, Select gave the album a five out of five rating, describing it as an album of "mind-blowing diversity" and as a "classic album". In the November 2003 issue of Rolling Stone, the album charted at number 436 in the magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums ever. In a retrospective review, Rolling Stone's J. D. Considine gave the album four out of five stars and commented that "It may be easy to hear both an anticipation of punk and an echo of Roxy Music in the arch clangor of Here Come the Warm Jets, but what shines brightest is the offhand accessibility of the songs", adding that "the melodies linger on ... the album seems almost a blueprint for the pop experiments Bowie (with Eno collaborating) would conduct with Low". In 2004, Pitchfork ranked the album at number 24 on its "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s" list, as well as giving the re-issue of the album 9.5 out of 10. In 2003, Blender placed the album on their list "500 CDs You Must Own: Alternative Rock", stating that Here Come the Warm Jets "remains his best pop effort. His experimental touch turns basic glam-rock into something sick and sinister. The free-associating, posh-voiced vocals are an acquired taste, but there's method in this madness". The Canadian music magazine Exclaim! referred to Here Come the Warm Jets as "Arguably one of the greatest solo debuts of the 1970s ... Songs such as "Baby's on Fire", "Driving Me Backwards" and "Needles in the Camel's Eye" capture the lush and sleazy underpinning narratives of the British Invasion in arrangements that sound quintessentially timeless".
All tracks written by Brian Eno, except where noted.
|1.||"Needles in the Camel's Eye"||Eno, Phil Manzanera||3:11|
|2.||"The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch"||3:04|
|3.||"Baby's on Fire"||5:19|
|4.||"Cindy Tells Me"||Eno, Manzanera||3:25|
|5.||"Driving Me Backwards"||5:12|
|1.||"On Some Faraway Beach"||4:36|
|2.||"Blank Frank"||Eno, Robert Fripp||3:37|
|3.||"Dead Finks Don't Talk"||Eno; arranged by Paul Thompson, Busta Jones, Nick Judd, Eno||4:19|
|4.||"Some of Them Are Old"||5:11|
|5.||"Here Come the Warm Jets"||4:04|
|1974||UK Albums Chart||26|||
|1974||Billboard Pop Albums||151|||
- 1974 in music
- Brian Eno discography
- Music of the United Kingdom (1970s)
- Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
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