Were Brian Eno and Robert Fripp The Artists Of The Year?

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux, With Floating Element

It seems odd that so much of the music we listened to this year had one critical link in common: it made us think of Eno and Fripp.  Not in any general way, but specifically, as so many of the year’s best songs could be linked to something Eno produced with his chum long, long ago.

The pattern started early.  In January, when Wye Oak’s Civilian was released, the song we listened to the most was “The Altar” — which sounded like it was recorded about ten minutes after Fripp laid down his solo on Eno’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” on Another Green World.

We have loved albums by A.A. Bondy, Kurt Vile, and The War On Drugs — all of which seemed like they’d been recorded under the influence of, in particular, Eno and Fripp’s Evening Star.  It was as if the most familiar touchstone for ambient music was that one incredible moment when Eno and Fripp lulled away migraines with soft waves lapping from a placid sea.

Near the end of the year, we got into Atlas Sound, the highly interesting side-project by Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox.  His song “Doldrums” sounds like he just added vocals to a track laid down by his forebears.

Weird.  In a year notable for the originality of so many artists — White Denim, for example — all roads seem to lead back to Fripp and Eno.  It was as if Evening Star was the point to which all compasses were raised.

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