Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) - 1974 - real ENO Evolutionary Networked Opera

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 07/31/2010 - 10:23.

Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) - 1974 - real ENO Evolutionary Networked Opera

realNEO - real Networked Evolutionary Opera

Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

We climbed and we climbed,
Oh, how we climbed
My, how we climbed
Over the stars to [the] top
[Of] Tiger Mountain
Forcing the lions through the snow.

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) is a loose concept album with topics ranging from espionage to the Chinese Communist revolution. The album's music has an upbeat and bouncy sound but with dark lyrical themes.

The album was inspired by a series of postcards of a Chinese revolutionary opera, titled Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy.[7] Eno described his understanding of the title as referring to "the dichotomy between the archaic and the progressive. Half Taking Tiger Mountain – that Middle Ages physical feel of storming a military position – and half (By Strategy) – that very, very 20th-century mental concept of a tactical interaction of systems."[5]

To further explore the possibilities of the studio setting, Eno and his friend Peter Schmidt developed a type of instruction cards, Oblique Strategies.[7] During recording of the album, he would allow the cards to dictate the next unconsidered action in the recording process.[7] Describing the words on the album as an expression of "idiot glee", Eno and Schmidt eventually expanded the Oblique Strategies set to over 100 "worthwhile dilemas", which would be used in nearly all his future recordings and productions.[7] Schmidt also designed the album cover, which consists of four prints from an edition of fifteen hundred of his unique lithographs, as well as Polaroids of Eno, credited on the album sleeve to Lorenz Zatecky.[2]

Phil Manzanera, Eno's former band mate in Roxy Music, spoke positively about the recording experience. Manzanera described the recording of the album as the following:

...just doing anything we felt like doing at the time. The engineer we used, Rhett Davies, also did Diamond Head and 801 Live and Quiet Sun, so it was like family. There was a lot of experimenting and a lot of hours spent with Brian Eno, me, and Rhett in the control room doing all the things that eventually evolved into those cards, the Oblique Strategies, and it was just a lot of fun.[8]

Unlike Eno's previous album Here Come the Warm Jets, Eno worked with a core group of musicians on the album. The group consisted of Manzanera of Roxy Music, Brian Turrington and Freddie Smith of The Winkies, and former Soft Machine vocalist Robert Wyatt.[9] Several guest musicians also played on select songs on the album. These included Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, and the Portsmouth Sinfonia, an orchestra in which Eno had once played clarinet.[10] The orchestra's philosophy allowed anybody to join as long as that person had no experience with the instrument to be played in the orchestra.[10] For guest drummer Phil Collins, Eno called in a favor from Collins' group Genesis. After Eno had aided with production on Genesis' album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Genesis front man Peter Gabriel asked how they could repay Eno. Eno looked at Phil Collins stating that he needed a drummer. Collins played drums on "Mother Whale Eyeless" as repayment.[11]

interaction of systems, which is what my interest in music is

My interest in life in general - the interaction of systems

"I nearly always work from ideas rather than sounds. Titles. It's that title that just fascinates me. It's fabulous. I mean, I am interested in strategy, and the idea of it. I'm not Maoist or any of that; if anything, I'm anti-Maoist. Strategy interests me because it deals with the interaction of systems, which is what my interest in music is really, and not so much the interaction of sounds." -- Brian Eno (More Dark Than Shark)

Disrupt IT