Song: Baby’s On Fire
In 1973 former Roxy Music regular Brian Eno released his debut solo album, Here Come the Warm Jets. It was the first of many often-surprising departures; Eno would go on to forge a hugely influential career as a fearlessly inventive musician, collaborator and producer. In more recent years he’s also been on the lecture circuit, giving his astute, elegantly articulate views regarding the nature of music and its critical historical role in culture and consciousness itself.
But in 1973, Eno’s oddly elliptical, insinuatingly sinister song about flaming infants and slimy (if not inventive) tobacco recyclers is mostly notable for the rudely stunning insertion of a dire guitar solo by fellow Englishman Robert Fripp - a nasty, angular thing that’s sinuous yet barbed, all coiled tension and angry corrosiveness. Seldom has Fripp sounded more decisively emotional - operatic, even. It’s a brilliant piece of work and a searing counterpoint to the dark humour slithering beneath Eno’s wicked, deliberately nasal vocal delivery.
It’s probably passé in 2014 to enthusiastically refer to guitar solos at all - but then again, maybe not. Whenever I hear the first crisp fusillade of notes signalling the beginning of his one, it’s still dangerous.
Posted by Max MacDonald