Brian Eno – “The Ship” (Singles Going Steady)

Brian Eno delivers a breathtaking 21-minute epic that sounds like an out of body experience.

Jared Skinner: Brian Eno unveils a first look into his upcoming, Titanic-inspired LP entitled The Ship, with a single of the same name. Eno, who “discovered [he] could now sing a low C” delivers a breathtaking 21-minute epic that sounds like an out of body experience. On the upcoming album Eno states he wanted to allow “voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape” and after just one listen to this sweeping achievement, you can understand just how masterfully he accomplishes his goal. A serenely transportive and ambient experience, “The Ship” takes you on a journey to sonic locations that few other besides Brian Eno could lead you to. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: Since Brian Eno’s place in the avant-rock canon is so intimately linked to the late ’70s, proto-New Wave masterworks he created with David Bowie, it is difficult to listen to “The Ship” without hearing it in the context of Bowie’s valedictory LP Blackstar. It’s an ambient composition, perhaps, but the story it tells is closer to the cosmonaut-rock mythologizing of Bowie than it is to Eno’s previous electronic work. “The ship was from a willing land / The waves about it rose,” he states, and the haunting, prismatic synth-tones that grip his words seem to be gravitating toward the black star that Bowie feared, a matter-collapsing space phenomenon that allows no light in — or out — of its maw. The ship that Eno captains, in other words, is a ship fated for cataclysmic disaster. [8/10]

Steve Horowitz: This ambient tribute to the Titanic captures our “hubris and paranoia”, as Eno says and how the folly of human endeavor ends in silent seas. The sounds here, the human voices, all lead to the bottom of the ocean where the ship lay under the waves and we drown. Eno has always been quietly ambitious, but he needs to lighten up. Even the Titanic had a dance band. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: When Eno rides his ambient wave — a genre he arguably invented – there’s not a whole lot to comment on; it’s beautiful, it takes its time, it allows you to get lost in its aimlessness. “The Ship” is the 21-minute title track from Eno’s upcoming album. The woozy instrumental track is suddenly derailed by disembodied, voice-of-God vocalizing at about the 8:30 mark, sounding like a sea shanty on quaaludes, but it soon becomes part of the composition’s structure and feel. Eventually other voices and effects make appearances, but the song never fails to maintain an aura of peacefulness and bliss; in other words, it’s ambient Eno as usual. [9/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Once more, Brian Eno came through with yet another song that is way ahead of its time. Just like some of his previous work, “The Ship” is a 20-minute experimental piece of avant-garde musicianship, filled with reverb-soaked and pitch-shifted vocals as well as washy synths and strange effects tossed in. Is it extravagant? Yes. Is it pretentious? Slightly. Still, even with these shortcomings, “The Ship” is a great listen song once you get past its obnoxious runtime and unabashed experimentalism, and might just be one of Eno’s best songs in recent years. [7/10]

Chad Miller: I really wasn’t a fan of the vocals. It sounds extremely nasally, and it detracts from the ethereality created by the polished ambient music. The vocal effect didn’t do much to counteract this or even hide it either. I really enjoyed the instrumental music, but sadly it kind of tapers off to make room for the vocals which aren’t nearly as interesting. The speech on the other hand did fit in with the music really well, sounding like a bridge between humanity and machinery. [6/10]

Brian Eno‘s new album, The Ship, releases 29 April via Warp Records.

SCORE: 7.33