Saturday, October 2, 2010

passengers: "miss sarajevo" & "slug"

During the early and mid-nineties, electronic music was finding it's way into more mainstream rock and pop. Well-established acts like David Bowie and U2 embraced this music full on, though they were hardly strangers to the world of electronica, both having worked extensively with the man who coined the term "ambient music", Brian Eno. Having produced many of U2's albums throughout the mid-eighties and early nineties, in many ways, Eno was always sort of the band's secret fifth member. On the more experimental U2 side project "Original Soundtracks 1", U2 renamed themselves "Passengers", with Eno taking a more front-and-center role in the direction of the band's musical output. Much like Eno's "Music for Films" LPs, the band created songs serving as audio environments, evoking a time or place or emotion only hinted at in the song titles and only conjured up in the minds of listeners. Some of the songs were actually featured in some real movie soundtracks, while most of them were for "imaginary movies", staying true to the spirit of the ambient music genre. Some included lyrics as well, though serving more as mantras or complimentary poems on equal terms with the music. One song in particular, taking a more traditional approach was "Miss Sarajevo", which also featured a memorable, gripping appearance by Luciano Pavarotti (official music video featured above). I've always respected U2's willingness to experiment and push themselves beyond the conventional boundaries of the almighty Rock & Roll establishment, much of the time with great success. Perhaps this is why I've always remained a fan since the sixth grade (many moons ago), despite my evolving musical tastes throughout the years. Despite mixed reviews at the time of release in 1995, "Original Soundtracks 1" has aged quite well and is a crucial addition to U2's vast and varied catalogue. Below is one of my favorites from the Passengers album, the hypnotic, slow ethereal burner simply entitled "Slug".