Pop & Hiss

Brian Eno announces new album inspired by World War I and the sinking of the Titanic

Grammy-winning composer and producer Brian Eno has set a date for his first new solo album since 2012. It's emotionally heavy, to put it mildly. 

"The Ship" is due out April 29 on Warp Records (home to fellow recent avant-garde Grammy fixtures Aphex Twin and Flying Lotus). The album features Eno-designed artwork and a cover of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Set Free."

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Eno, who recently wrote movingly about the passing of longtime collaborator David Bowie, penned a revealing essay about the album to announce it, describing his goals for songs that "didn't rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time."

The record is inspired by the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic. Eno said he was interested in how "the catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves."

For those who want to further immerse themselves in "how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made" to grappling with those events, "The Ship" will also be released as a series of sound installations that offer an "alternative telling of 'The Ship' in multichannel 3-dimensional sound installations."

Eno's music has long engaged with ideas about time and space, but "The Ship" sounds like some of his darkest music yet on these themes, and on our futility in the face of nature: "They persist," he wrote, "and we pass in a cloud of chatter."

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