Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon

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Released: 1985

Album cover for Thursday Afternoon by Brian Eno

The Paul Stolper Gallery is showing the video for Thursday Afternoon in their front window and on their website (with a helpful write-up) from February 24 through March 15, 2021. Reverb Machine has an interesting analysis of the music.

Thursday Afternoon is a single piece of music (60 minutes on album or 82 minutes in the video) that consists of a droning chord behind loops of treated piano notes. It’s lovely: simple yet complex, static yet oddly dynamic, able to fade into the background yet compelling enough to warrant undivided attention. These contrary yet complementary aspects draw me to it much in the way I’m drawn to the Tao Te Ching.

Like the Tao, Thursday Afternoon reveals different nuances on each listen. Its sparse simplicity creates a reflecting pool for your own thoughts, while its rich complexity offers new insights. You can read the Tao once and understand it on a basic level, yet you can read it a hundred times and barely understand it at all. Thursday Afternoon is the same way.

Thanks to the Paul Stolper Gallery, I’m seeing the accompanying video, Seven Video Paintings of Christine Alicino, for the first time. After reading the description on the gallery page, I better understand Eno’s vision. I appreciate the connection to impressionist painting, especially in the first portion of the video, and the music sounds different when it accompanies the visuals. I still haven’t succeeded in watching all 82 minutes in one sitting but even in short pieces it can lead to a meditational calm.

I recommend this to anyone who likes ambient or electronic music, and anyone who enjoys letting an album slowly unfold, maybe over an hour or maybe over years.

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

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