In completing a year of soundstreamsunday, I turn away from the “infinite” in the project’s subtitle (“a weekly infinite linear mixtape”) and towards the analog finite-ness of the cassette mixes that so defined life pre-ipod. In my early creative life this was my primary medium, the 90-minute blank TDK, bound to its two-sided loop, on which I could conduct a mix corralling the works of others. The collage confines of the mixtape start with a four-cornered frame, defined beginnings and endings that are also transitional and act like the Mobius strip, so the loop, if constructed well, becomes more suggestive of a continuing spiral. As the last two-sided audio medium developed, the eraseable cassette tape shouted its message: do what you will, the ending will take you to the beginning.
In this context, Brian Eno’s “An Ending (Ascent)” from Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno) is one of many possible natural links between U2’s “The Three Sunrises” and the first song in the series, Sun River’s “Esperanza Villanueva“; and, as I write this, it also occurs to me that the song’s title reflects what I’m trying to achieve, a pivot, a soft stop in a rising continuum. In the words of one of Eno’s Oblique Strategies: “Repetition is a form of change.”
Eno is a theorist/strategist, a rock and roll Zelig moving through the histories of glam, punk, ambient, prog, and new wave. His is an intention minus the contrivance. He locates boundaries so as to cross them, so as to observe them, to flip the within and the without. To conflate the end with the beginning.
*Images above of Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” cards. First published in 1975, the deck’s pithy advice on jumpstarting the creative process is one indicator of Eno’s wizardly musical midwifery.