Vermilion Sands

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)Brian Eno

released: 1974-11
on label: Island
artist: Brian Eno
genres: Art RockArt Pop
with some: Glam RockExperimental Rock
listen at: Apple Deezer Spotify YouTube Music

Continuing the twisted pop explorations of Here Come the Warm Jets, Eno’s sophomore album, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), is more subdued and cerebral, and a bit darker when he does cut loose, but it’s no less thrilling once the music reveals itself. It’s a loose concept album – often inscrutable, but still playful – about espionage, the Chinese Communist revolution, and dream associations, with the more stream-of-consciousness lyrics beginning to resemble the sorts of random connections made in dream states.

Eno’s richly layered arrangements juxtapose very different treated sounds, yet they blend and flow together perfectly, hinting at the directions his work would soon take with the seamless sound paintings of Another Green World. Although not quite as enthusiastic as Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain is made accessible through Eno’s mastery of pop song structure, a form he would soon transcend and largely discard.