To support Drums Between the Bells and Panic of Looking, Brian Eno and Rick Holland embarked on an episodic online discussion called Re-view. It was described as follows:

Brian'n'RickIn July 2011 Brian Eno finished the album 'Drums Between the Bells' with the poet Rick Holland. Re-view is an ongoing dialogue between the two about the project, drawing on material from interviews, reviews, features and listener comments.

The project ran for four months, although listeners were not actually able to contribute to the discussion (other than 'Likes'). In time Warp Records' official Brian Eno website mislaid its link to Re-view, and then the Posterous platform on which it was hosted went belly-up.

EnoWeb may be accused of having magpie-like tendencies, and the text of the Eno and Holland Re-view is archived below to prevent it entirely disappearing into the ether. Entries appear here in the order they were posted, and the authors' names appear at the start. On the original Posterous page, the oldest entries were at the base of the page and the authors' names appeared under each one.


Rick HollandJuly 21, 2011
Posted by Rick Holland

Everything Solid Dissolved Into Ones and Zeroes

From Robert Everett-Green's review in The Globe and Mail ...everything solid can be dissolved into ones and zeroes, figures on a screen, words and sounds.

RH: The title of this blog entry is a useful analogy for an album that pours music and words into a cauldron until the two things become of the same basic building matter. It serves as a good starting point for our discussions in the context of this record and others 'like' it, in that the two codes of music and words play off each other throughout 'Drums Between The Bells' and throw up fascinating results as they combine at different intersections on the giant criss-crossings of words and music. The territory the record resides in is one of music and song, with an extra instrument in the words. The ones between the zeroes, or the drums between the bells.

Brian EnoJuly 21, 2011
Posted by Brian Eno

Some examples of speech/song music (list to be added to)

Some examples of speech/song music (list to be added to)
"Pierrot Lunaire" Schoenberg c. 1916
"Red Bird" EP: Christopher Logue/Tony Kinsey Quintet, 1959
"Leader of the Pack": The Shangri-La's 1961 0r 62
"Deck of Cards": Wink Martindale..early 60's
The Fugs - several albums, mid 1960's onwards
"Come out" and "It's gonna Rain" Steve Reich
"The Gift" Velvet Underground 1967/8
Laurie Anderson - several albums 1970's onwards
"My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" Eno/Byrne 1980

and of course most rap and hip hop!

Rick HollandJuly 21, 2011
Posted by Rick Holland

Plotted Points

[Photo lost]

I took this photo as I was driving out of London this weekend, thinking about some of the comments that have cropped up this week around 'lyrics' in music; it seemed relevant. Just in that we have in fairly recent human history accepted hybrids in all areas of life that may have seemed impossible at one time. In the arena of music we are quite good at accepting hybrid forms, though we still have a need to define with labels and genres. The lists of music Brian started jump between labels and often escape classification. From my different route into working with Brian on this record, I've picked up strong reactions to word and music combinations along the way too that chart a varied course between the lyrical, poetic and musical.

Some more examples of speech/song music
"The Return of The Drifter"/"Falling Down" Jehst
"Promised Land Volume 1" LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad 1997
"Wu Tang Forever" Wu Tang Clan 1997
"Little Darlin'" The Diamonds 1957
"All Caps" Madvillain
"Poison Dart" The Bug feat. Warrior Queen
"Black Steel" Tricky 1995
"Night Mail" W.H.Auden 1936
"Let's Get Free" Dead Prez

Brian EnoJuly 21, 2011
Posted by Brian Eno


The biggest problems with becoming successful in any form of art are the following:

You receive a huge amount of encouragement to repeat yourself, whereas what inspired you in the first place was the discovery of something new
(Rule: welcome encouragement, and then try to ignore it)

Everyone wants you to be involved in everything, and you find all your time filled with doing things that aren't exactly what you felt like doing
(Rule: when invited to do something in the future, ask yourself if you would do it right now)

You no longer have time to actually do anything anyway because you're constantly doing interviews about what you did in the past
(Rule: block out days in your diary and FIGHT to keep them free. Leave the phone at home, tell your friends you're on holiday)

Your life is filled with gadgets because you can afford them
(Rule: every object takes up your time. Ask yourself what it gives you in return)

Options multiply: you do a lot of things
(Rule: Do fewer things better)

Rick HollandRick Holland responded:

I haven't read tips this useful since reading the 1996 classic 'A Year with Swollen Appendices' (you should really do another book like that one day). Yes, I was trying to be funny.

The most intriguing thing about this post is that its lessons are valid in pretty much all walks of life. I think it sums up the difficulties in staying in some of the types of salaried employment I have experienced for example, in which 'successes' are far too often met with the bonus of being asked to do much more of exactly the same thing.

I think the whole workforce should try to implement these rules (as literally as possible). Financial models of productivity would implode but for a short time I think the whole world would work better.

As an aside, I've just thought of a particular internet video clip in which a man in an office destroys a printer with a computer monitor, I think he had carefully considered what those objects gave him in return.

[EnoWeb note: Rick Holland may have been referring to this clip, or this.]

Rick HollandJuly 24, 2011
Posted by Rick Holland

Mythological Images

"These two rooms gather together iconographic motifs that appear heterogenerous, but which constitute important thematic nuclei in the organisation of Renaissance collections of antiquities."

"The sculptures found here evoke a variety of thematic elements, but lack a precise definition because their specific subjects have not been identified."

Two extracts from explanatory wall-notes at the Archaelogical Museum in Naples. I wondered how deeply entrenched these ideas of organisation and classification were when considering art of any kind, and whether it was important to precisely identify thematic elements at all. What will people make of our contemporary music in 2,000 years, what will be the elements that are identifiable? And what aspects of our artistic expressions now might be grouped together as a 'collection of antiquities'?

Brian EnoBrian Eno responded:

I find it increasingly annoying that museums feel impelled to tell you what you're looking at while you're looking at it. I think displays should be arranged differently: so that you can just look and draw your own conclusions and then, if you choose to, see what the Museum has to say about it. I imagine beside each exhibit a little cupboard door which you can open and which contains supplementary material.

I went to the Royal Academy yesterday to see the extraordinary show of early 20th century Hungarian photography. I found myself deliberately not reading the titles of the pictures before I looked at them - taking a good long look and deciding what I thought I was seeing before reading the card below. That was hard to do - I had to sort of shield my eyes - but it was worth it. Contrast it with The Summer Show in the same building: nearly a thousand paintings, each with only a number beside it (and a booklet if you really want to know who did what). It's a MUCH better way of looking at things, free of text and interpretation.

Rick HollandAugust 1, 2011
Posted by Rick Holland

Harvesting Our Own Cultures

I am of the internet generation.

The triggers can come from anywhere.

Our behaviour is not the same as it was with art, but it is also not less valid because it is different.

We are all increasingly sophisticated and fast consumers, bordering on frantic.

What if art is happening in a new way? Within a brain that seems to be becoming used to only half absorbing information (or selecting and reselecting its stimuli at a fast rate?) We are very quick to rubbish these ADHD kinds of consumption. Why? The obvious response is that the flitting brain doesn’t settle on anything important as it changes channel three times a minute. But may it be because ADHD consumption tells us that certain ways of 'arting' and platforms are perhaps no longer deemed worthy of such sanctity (or maybe even that they don’t relate in any immediate way to an economic model and thus a value?)

Occasionally I have felt riled by reviews of ‘Drums Between the Bells’ that haven’t seemed to give the music time to work, written by reviewers who have thrown it on and listened to two or three tracks and skimmed the rest. There is no doubt that ‘reviewing’ has very often become a process of slapping a label and a judgement very quickly on a passing product, in a deluge of similar looking products. But beyond the vain annoyance and more genuine upset that sometimes Joe Music of Ping Magazine hasn’t had the chance to sit down in an uninterrupted place to feel what I have felt listening to the album is a real and interesting question about how we are consuming our music and art in general.

What if the new brain is now getting so used to allowing mixed media moments to find it rather than setting itself up to listen by putting a CD on and listening only to that? When it visits an exhibition or listens to an album, what if it does so without a traditional sense that the 'exhibition' space and the brain space (and the iPod space and phone space) are separate and one must visit the other to listen. Instead it unthinkingly experiences that all of those spaces feed into and out of the same network instantaneously, all of the time.

In any instant of immersion in 'art' this brain may be instantaneously taking a distilled feeling from Barber’s Adagio for strings (via youtube or a film) or the memory of Robert Johnson and keeping its half life while recalling a community song in Malawi (experienced first hand on a break in 2008). Superimposed on this mix perhaps, having grown used to MTV and home made video mix and seen Rothko, Mondrian and Pollock in the same walk through the Tate Modern, might be an imagined coloured square that moves and pulses with the art, exactly then, in that moment. The merge in the sophisticated consumer. In an instant, the 'art moment' may pull together all of this mixture of half lives, triggered by anything; maybe by looking at an anonymous piece of street painting while listening to an excerpt of freestyled rhyming over beats, or just by looking out of the window on the bus with headphones on.

The problem with this suggested new consuming and re-editing brain with its complex network constantly firing and dying is that the consumer is now the artist more explicitly than ever before. This can have no ownership, it doesn't fit the model.

In a remarkable number of reviews of dbtb I was characterised as a 'twittering poet' (it could have been ‘online dating’ or ‘blogging’ or ‘myspacing' or ‘flytipping’ depending on when the album had come out). I just think I am looking at the world as it is now. The scrolling headline is very much of this world of mass reference as it is now, an immediate manifestation of the massive potential for sharpness or brainlessness contained in one very simple set of conditions.

In among the lines and lines of filler are headlines leading to interesting things, the kinds of things that are not featured in the press, that are not deemed feature worthy, or that may be made by someone you have never heard of. The sophisticated internet information junkie will select her own headline writers and log in to that stream, picking what she wants, rather than what the hardened categories of press or library or market suggests. The platform won't last much longer, but the behaviour will I think. Similarly, the days of listening to a whole album in order to reach the 'gems' have passed now too. More likely is that a track that may be dismissed initially as nondescript may re-emerge months later as you casually watch the trees fly past on a train to Swansea or run to work.

Art passes back over to us all more and more every day, we are more and more involved in selecting with what and how we engage. Image banks shift for all of us every day. Self contained songs with lyrics are relevant but so are open ended ones that do not fit our marketplace. I happen to think that ‘Drums Between The Bells’ is just about the perfect ‘doing something else’ album for our sophisticated and fast consuming internet generation, but I may just be biased.

Brian EnoBrian Eno responded:

There used to be, among art historians at least, a pretty clear picture of what was important and what was not. The huge spectrum of human behaviour that we could call creative was neatly divided up into territories such as painting, sculpture, classical music and so on. They were seen as the central trunk of culture. The minor branches were things like ceramics, photography, cinema, craft and design. Right out on the edges, the most ephemeral leaf-lets, were the things which most 'ordinary' people enjoyed: folk music, pop music, crochet, cake decoration, wallpaper, and a knees-up down the pub.

It was always assumed that the strong new ideas of culture would necessarily originate at the trunk and then gradually flow outwards to the peripheries. But things started to go badly wrong for this tidy picture when it became clear that the reverse just as often happened: that the 'Fine Arts' found themselves taking their lead from the popular arts, not the other way round. Examples of this would be novelists adopting the stylistic conventions of cinema; electronic music developing its potential not in the academies and concert halls but in home studios and discotheques; and a generation of young british artists who seem to feel it necessary to become pop stars ( - usually in the classical style - eg Black Sabbath).

This isn't to say that the Fine Arts have become derivative, but simply that the flow of ideas is now completely unpredictable. As Rick says, the triggers can come from anywhere. I imagine culture now as a huge, dynamic field which includes everything from hallowed Lucian Freuds to a video on you-tube by an unknown 16 year old girl from Norway. There is no longer a dominant culture, a canon which everybody 'of taste and refinement' would automatically know. Of course it's still nice to know about Shakespeare and Plath and Gerhard Richter, but it's also possible to imagine someone living a rich and active cultural life without any knowledge of them at all. In fact one of the primary tasks for anyone who now engages in modern culture is to sort out what that means for them. What's your mix? And who's to tell you you're wrong?

The other issue that Rick locates has to do with saturation, immersion. Classically, we imagine people deeply focussed on an art experience. In fact that is one of the classical definitions of an art experience. We see the thinker carefully pondering the painting, or the concert-goer suppressing her cough for fear of interrupting the crystalline concentration demanded by the music. That way of listening and looking and reading is still available to us, but it is increasingly challenged by a new way of synthesising experience - a sort of continuous collaging and reshuffling. (This is not without its dangers - like being given endless boxes of chocolates).

I can't blame those reviewers who haven't listened hard. There's too much to listen to! Or perhaps they never listen hard: they want music that inserts itself into the cultural patchwork they're constantly building. After all, there's a lot of promising stuff out there, so why should this particular piece command special attention? It's a different landscape now from thirty years ago: the bottleneck of record company dominance has been broken and all sorts of stuff is surfacing. It's a rich tropics of music, new species evolving and hybridising faster than people can name them...

So a new issue comes to the fore: curatorship. In the absence of a 'canon', everyone is their own curator, responsible for making their own sense of the things that interest them. A bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of the other: that's my culture. What's yours? As this process becomes more explicit, the role of 'curator' merges with the role of 'artist'. Your particular culture melds together to become a proposition as original as any individual art work - an original pastiche.

Rick HollandSeptember 12, 2011
Posted by Rick Holland


I really enjoy home-made videos. They must be the future for this curious short history of combining music with video images. A bit like your self-generative principles in action, with just an iota more self-consciousness perhaps, though I have no idea how this footage was picked, or if it even was 'picked'.

Rick HollandNovember 8, 2011
Posted by Admin

Words for the EP Panic of Looking

in the future

in the future
in that far façade
on that horizon
beyond the cars
bleating servers
beneath the stars
where city mist has risen.
to fall in shards
as something else
beyond steel and glass
beyond steel, and glass
when parades give way
beyond stack and grey
to the solace of grass
the solace of grass.

not a story

my muon, atomity, jumping, charm
in a place in a place in a place in a place
my colour, my race, humanity, globe
my line map, my bank mat, my glow
my society, mores, my sex face, my poles
the tracks of my veins around a frame
my excretions, magnetics, kinetics and bundles
the energies, effigies, see through me's, alter e
railway lines, ley lines, wave machines, waving trees
my philosophies, holy greens, canticles, holy greeds
my tentacles, tenterhooks, opiates, spectacles.
excite me excite me excite me excite me.

panic of looking

night and day
to frost and sun
frost and sun
to smoke and fire
smoke and fire
to single cell

build and paint
to speed and weight
speed and weight
to miniature freight

flow and break
jumps wireless, opaque
and men shake hands
on invisible games.

faster and faster and further away
down there, lives and land
relics of past days
sit in between shacks
piped electric and gas
and the chattering clouds
speculate charts
hopping over aeroplane paths.

down by a lake
the camera shakes
when he stops for the slow shot
a panic of looking at the what that we've got

if these footsteps

if these footsteps were buried feelings
a bass drum bucking underneath the lowest bass
in a city of walkers they seem to make no sound
these heel-to-toe driven springs
but fade out somewhere at the mixing desk
beneath the squeals and weasels
overlaid by mind.
alternatively mixed, london bridge
her segment sheets
paving would thump of feet
bipedal skeletal, bone pulse shuffle
shuffles when it dances
and dances when it walks
footsteps as buried feelings
watch how they dance.

watch a single swallow in a thermal sky, and try to fit its motion, or figure why it flies

west bay

west bay
a home without the memories
where waves replace nostalgia
and welcome back the thinker
with every shift in shingle.
imagine. alone on this island
with only the stones
their timpani
and shoots of thoughts
just germinated, free to die
or swim away to grey horizon.
except you are not alone
near a troop of watching seabirds
resting in the day.

Brian EnoNovember 19, 2011
Posted by Brian Eno

Running Orders

We spent a lot of time listening to the tracks on this album in different sequences...trying to find a good sequence in which to present it. This is a traditional issue in record-making - because a song can flatter or kill the one following it. It was easier in the days of vinyl, because you were dealing with two distinct suites of music - Side 1 and Side 2 - and it was relatively easy to divide the material into two groups of say 5 or 7 songs. But when CDs came along, you suddenly had a continuous stream of up to 80 minutes of music to deal with.

Now we're in a different era again, where many people are downloading tracks individually and you really have no idea in what order (or in what company) they're going to be listening to the works. Nonetheless, as though downloading didn't yet exist, we put in a lot of time trying to come up with an order that sounded good if you played it through from beginning to end.

To give you an idea of the dimensions of this problem: I was working with a band once on an album of 15 tracks, and we were starting to wonder about how to sequence them. Someone in the band said "Couldn't we just listen to all the alternatives?". I decided to work out how long this would take. The number of sequences is 15x14x13x12x11x10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1.... which comes to a magnificent 1,307,674,368,000 - or approximately 1.3 trillion possible sequences. If each of these sequences takes an hour to hear, that amounts to about 150 million years of continuous listening. If you'd like to sleep and have a social life, you should multiply that by 3, which would take it up to 450 million years - so you'd need to have started listening around the middle of the Paleozoic Era, surrounded by puzzled very early life forms, to have met the deadline of early July, 2011 in the Holocene Era.

Clearly, for us mortals, going through all the alternatives isn't an option. So Rick and I, both unfortunately mortal, listened on 'random shuffle' - just let the CD player throw the tracks out in any order, and paid attention to combinations which made sense (or sounded dreadful). That's how we built up the running order, but there was one fly in the ointment: BREATH OF CROWS. Whatever we seemed to do, that one didn't seem to sit comfortably. It really wanted to be all alone, separated from everything else. That's why we put the one minute silence that, for those listening to the album as a continuous experience, there'd be a hiatus before it started. ( It isn't a silence actually - I put some white noise, fake tape hiss, in make a psychological cue that something was still happening.)

My suggestion is to occasionally listen to the album on random shuffle. It produces some nice surprises, like suddenly noticing a track you hadn't really noticed before.

That's where the conversation stopped.

It is worth mentioning here that prior to the release of Drums Between The Bells, Warp made available an exclusive preview track by Eno and Holland called "Imagine New Times". For a coupla years, this could be downloaded via a widget in return for an e-mail address. Joseph Galeb put it to a video here: