Brian Eno Is A Cartoon Prophet In Steelism's 'Eno Nothing' Video : World Cafe Watch an animated journey around the galaxy in the Nashville duo's first video from its new record, ism.
NPR logo Brian Eno Is A Cartoon Prophet In Steelism's 'Eno Nothing' Video

Brian Eno Is A Cartoon Prophet In Steelism's 'Eno Nothing' Video

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Last Fall, World Cafe: Nashville launched with several shows at City Winery in Music City. Hosted by NPR Music's Ann Powers, one show presented an evening of stories and songs with Eric Church. The second night featured three of the city's best emerging singers and songwriters – Ruby Amanfu, Caitlin Rose and Lera Lynn – backed by the incomparable Nashville instrumental band, Steelism, led by pedal steel player Spencer Cullum and guitarist Jeremy Fetzer.

On ism, the new album by Steelism, you can hear the influences of John Barry's legendary James Bond scores, Lalo Schifrin's film soundtracks, the funky grit of Booker T & The MG's records, the spaghetti western sounds of Ennio Morricone, and the early production work of Brian Eno.

It's the iconic Eno whom Cullum and Fetzer honor on the song "Eno Nothing" and its cleverly animated video. It was produced by Ben McLeavy, a designer, editor, and illustrator from London, whose work has graced posters, animations, videos and record sleeves for Rough Trade Records and Oxfam International, among others.

The video for "Eno Nothing" is a colorful journey through space. McLeavy sets the scene:

"In this video, the intrepid pair are on a journey of self-discovery and face unusual challenges at each turn. At the peak of their disillusion, the duo catch a fleeting glimpse of something greater before being yanked away, shunted back and left to begin their journey anew. Will Eno help them find the answer? 'Eno Nothing' is a circular narrative no-road road movie into inner and outer space."

In an e-mail, Fetzer revealed the inspiration for the song:

"While we were recording ism, we kept revisiting our Brian Eno records for studio inspiration — from his ambient records such as Music For Airports and Music For Films to his more eccentric and aggressive early '70s LPs, Here Come The Warm Jets and Another Green World. Eno's records can really boost the imagination and inspire creativity and he made those ambient records not to be background muzak, but to enhance the environment and brain. 'Eno Nothing' is a tribute to our favorite producer with sounds and melodic references to those 1970s recordings. The title is a comical, self-given producer nickname from one of Spencer's hometown friends in Essex, UK — a play on words for a producer who knows nothing."

The video is equal parts Star Wars, The Jetsons, and The Twilight Zone. Watch as Cullum and Fetzer get zapped into space, where they're chased by a giant purple turtle, an evil octopus, and ultimately saved by Eno himself.