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Brian Eno – Before and After Science (1977)

January 13, 2017


Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @caughtmegaming


[Album 504/1001]

Do you remember learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

A quick Maslow refresher:




According to Maslow, the hierarchy indicates the order in which human needs must be addressed.

One cannot climb the pyramid until the needs of the previous stage are met.

For example, unless you’ve got food/shelter/water covered, you cannot move from Physiological to Safety.

Meaning the pyramid pinnacle of self-actualization can only be attained once the other four stages have all been successfully completed.

I suppose this is all a bit more social science than science; in any event, this hierarchy has helped me to understand Brian Eno, most recently, his album Before and After Science.




According to this inspired-by/flagrantly-lifted-from-Maslow theory, the hierarchy indicates the order in which Brian Eno enjoyment can eventually be attained.

One (presumably) cannot climb the pyramid until the listener reactions of the previous stage have been experienced.

1. Bemusement

For example, purely hypothetically of course, upon leafing through a copy of “The 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” in, let’s say, 2011 & seeing the relatively unfamiliar name “Brian Eno” appear in the index as often (or more) than say The Beatles/Rolling Stones/Bob Dylan/David Bowie…, such new-to-Eno listeners would surely begin their Brian Eno journey in a state of bemusement.

Bemused like John McLane & Karl from Die Hard, when Hans Gruber demands the release of “the 9 members of The Asian Dawn.”

Hans Gruber: “the 9 members of The Asian Dawn” “The 9+ appearances by Brian Eno”
John McLane: “What the fuck?” “The who in the what now?”
Karl: (bemused, mouthing “Asian Dawn?” “Brian Eno?”)
Hans: (wincing, somewhat) “I read about them him in Time Magazine The 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”



2. Ranting

For the most part in this project, I’ve adhered to my goal of focusing on the albums that ARE on the list and NOT the ones that are glaringly absent.

Alas, my goal adherence slipped when I reviewed Here Come the Warm Jets.

This (This!) is on the 1001, and not ______, and _______, and _________?!

I say this Brian Eno business is no longer bemusing/amusing/confusing, it’s an outrage!

Although I’m not proud of this hierarchy stage, apparently it was developmentally appropriate in my growth, on my path to eventual Eno Enjoyment…


3. Acknowledgement of Eno Creativity

You know what? This guy’s done some pretty interesting work as a Producer.

Oh, and he wrote an album of ambient music, specifically designed to be “as ignorable as it is interesting?”

Creativity acknowledged.


4. Respect for Eno Innovation

Wow, Another Green World sounds totally different from the other Eno albums I’ve heard. He keeps pursuing new sounds, I admire that.


5. Eno Enjoyment

Wait a second. I’m listening to Before and After Science well beyond the requisite listens. I’m 220px-beforeandaftersciencesinging along with the chatty lyrics in Backwater? I’m specifically looking forward to the gentle sounds in By This River?

Could it be I’m no longer merely appreciating Brian Eno?

I’m actually enjoying this!


For those of you who hit stage 5 Eno Enjoyment many moons ago, it’s nice to finally join you.

For those reading along, finding yourselves in stage 1, or somewhere along the way: Eno Enjoyment is a journey, but it’s a journey worth taking.

Or at least, it’s a hierarchy worth climbing.


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate that Saintsboro is sharing the journey of writing his debut novel. As a stats enthusiast, I also like that he measures both word counts & frustration levels!

From → 1970s

  1. I’ve been waiting for the path to Eno Enjoyment to be explained and I must say, Geoff, you’ve done a mighty fine job!

  2. This is brilliant, Geoff. I honestly don’t know what pleases me most; the fact that I’m getting pretty interested in this Eno guy, or the fact you threw a Die Hard scene in here!

    • Haha, cheers J – I’m most pleased any time I can tie in Hans Gruber!

      • WordPress is severely lacking Hans Gruber tie-ins if you ask me!

  3. Really very enjoyable and apt. Lovely, Geoff.
    (From you friendly local Social Scientist)

  4. Good ol’ Maslow. He was such fun at parties…

    Your revised chart is fantastic. Looks more like the stages of grief…

    Anyway, I can’t comment on this record as I have never heard it. But I am glad you’ve reached enjoyment of it!

    • I’m glad you mentioned stages of grief Aaron – I was originally thinking of those as being relevant Eno stages too.
      Denial – There’s no way he’s on the list this many times.
      Bargaining – OK fine 1001 list editors, I’ll give you this Eno album, but can we please put in this Pearl Jam one instead of this other Eno one???

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  1. Can – Tago Mago (1971) & Future Days (1973) | 1001albumsin10years

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