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Here Come the Warm Jets is the debut solo album by Brian Eno. Produced by Eno, it was released on Island Records in 1974. The musical style of Here Come the Warm Jets is a hybrid of glam rock and art rock, similar to Eno's previous album work with Roxy Music but with songs that are more quirky and experimental. The album features various guest musicians, including Robert Fripp of King Crimson and members of Roxy Music, Hawkwind, Matching Mole, and The Pink Fairies. In developing the album's words and music, Eno used abstract 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.
Here Come the Warm Jets peaked at number 26 on the United Kingdom album charts and number 151 on the U.S. Billboard charts, receiving a number of 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 originally described by Eno as a slang term for urination. However, in an interview with Mojo magazine in 1996, Eno explained 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, 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 that 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 that this was a good way to communicate with musicians at the time. 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.
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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-rock'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 fifties such as the tinkling pianos and falsetto backing vocals on "Cindy Tells Me", and the drum rhythm of "Blank Frank", modelled after 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 taking them and forming 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 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.
Initial critical reception for the album was mostly positive, praising its experimental tendencies. Critic Lester Bangs of Creem declared it "Incredible", while Robert Christgau also of Creem 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. In January 1980, Trouser Press named the album as one of the best albums of 1973.
Modern assessments of the album have been positive; Allmusic, Rolling Stone and Uncut gave the album five stars, their highest ratings. In the November 2003 issue of Rolling Stone, the album charted at number 436 on the magazine's top albums 500 albums of all time. In 2004, Pitchfork Media ranked the album at number 24 on its list of "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s", as well as giving the re-issue of the album 9.2 out of 10. In 2003, Blender placed the album on their list of "500 CDs You Must Own: Alternative Rock", stating that "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 songs written and composed by Brian Eno, except where noted .
||"On Some Faraway Beach"
||"Blank Frank" (Eno, Robert Fripp)
||"Dead Finks Don't Talk" (arr. Paul Thompson, Busta Jones, Nick Judd, Eno)
||"Some of Them Are Old"
||"Here Come the Warm Jets"
- Brian Eno – vocals, synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, treatments, instrumentation
- Chris Spedding – guitar on tracks 1 and 2
- Phil Manzanera – guitar on tracks 1, 2, and 4
- Simon King – percussion on tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10
- Bill MacCormick – bass guitar on tracks 1 and 7
- Marty Simon – percussion on tracks 2, 3, and 4
- Busta Jones – bass guitar on 2, 4, 6 and 8
- Robert Fripp – guitar on 3, 5, and 7
- Paul Rudolph – guitar on 3 and 10, bass guitar on 3, 5 and 10
- John Wetton – bass guitar on tracks 3 and 5
- Nick Judd – keyboards on tracks 4 and 8
- Andy Mackay – keyboards on tracks 6 and 9, saxophone septet on track 9
- Sweetfeed – backing vocals on tracks 6 and 7
- Nick Kool & the Koolaids – keyboards on track 7
- Paul Thompson – percussion on track 8
- Lloyd Watson – slide guitar on track 9
- Chris Thomas – extra bass guitar on track 2
- Brian Eno – producer, mixer
- Chris Thomas – mixer
- Derek Chandler – recording engineer
- Denny Bridges, Phil Chapman, Paul Hardiman – mixing engineers
- Arun Chakraverty – mastering
- ^ a b c d e f Strong, 1998. p.244
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- ^ a b c d e f Tamm, 1995. p.99
- ^ a b c Brian Eno. Here Come the Warm Jets. Island Records, 1973.
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- ^ a b "Brian Eno: Here Come The Warm Jets". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/brianeno/albums/album/213351/review/5944680/here_come_the_warm_jets. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
- ^ Weisbard & Marks, 1995. p.128
- ^ a b Tamm, 1995. p.101
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- ^ http://www.stat.ualberta.ca/people/schmu/trouserpress.html Trouser Press Best Albums of the 1970s
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