Despite barely a month passing since the release of their first collaborative album 'Someday World', the legendary production partnership of Brian Eno and Karl Hyde show us that they have some unfinished business with their second full-length 'High Life'. While 'Someday World' has been seen by the two as their main work, this rushed second album is said to be a mixture of all the ideas they had but never finished in time for the first release, and as a result is far more removed from anything the pair have been known for in their respective careers.
With Eno's legacy of creating huge ambient soundscapes and Hyde's work with Underworld give people a clear preconception of what to expect on this new release, the result is very different as 'High Life' seems to have a sound all of its own that is so distant from either of the producer's comfort zones. While the opener 'Return' has that experimental edge of long, winding guitar and reverb, the following tracks have this hugely upbeat premise and come across more like a glitchy funk record. Much like if Aphex Twin chose to build an album from Motown records. It's use of subtle electronics and live instrumentation give the record a very uplifting sound that prefers to mellow than build itself up, helping the pace of the record keep an ever constant balance.
While it is not the epic electronic powerhouse of an album you might be expecting, it has this quaint charm about it that resonates throughout all the varieties of sounds and influences you hear on the record. A well-conceived yet still enjoyable release.