Brian Eno Covers The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free”

Ahead of the release of Brian Eno‘s new album, The Ship, he’s shared a preview of a track from the record: a cover of the Velvet Underground’s I’m Set Free.

Here’s what he has to say about the track and its lyrics:

brian-eno-coverThe first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show… it was when their first album came out and I thought “This I like! This I want to know about!”. I was having a huge crisis at the time. Am I going to be a painter or am I somehow going to get into music. And I couldn’t play anything so music was the less obvious choice. Then, when I heard The Velvet Underground I thought, “you can do both actually”. It was a big moment for me.

That particular song always resonated with me but it took about 25 years before I thought about the lyrics. “I’m set free, to find a new illusion”. Wow. That’s saying we don’t go from an illusion to reality (the western idea of “Finding The Truth”) but rather we go from one workable solution to another more workable solution.

Subsequently I think we aren’t able and actually don’t particularly care about the truth, whatever that might be. What we care about is having intellectual tools and inventions that work. [Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens”] discusses that what makes large-scale human societies capable of cohering and co-operating is the stories they share together. Democracy is a story, religion is a story, money is a story. This chimed well with “I’m set free to find a new illusion”. It seems to me what we don’t need now is people that come out waving their hands and claiming they know the Right Way.

The Ship is scheduled for release on April 29, 2016, and is available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Brian Eno Covers The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free”

  1. This song takes on a different meaning for me, in Eno’s arrangement, and with the death of so many musical masters in the last year.

    And now I’m set free
    I’m set free
    I’m set free to find a new illusion

    Is this Eno dealing with his own mortality?

  2. I love Eno. A fanatic of his music and ideas. I enjoyed this redo of the Lou Reed classic.

    I’ve listened to this album. It sounds to me like he is channeling the styles of Scott Walker’s latest stuff. I dont know if that’s good or bad, but it is somewhat of a departure for Eno. Interesting nonetheless. It’s always fun to see where Eno is going. Always an adventure!

  3. Love Brian Eno and this song is sublime with the synthesizers floating throughout. Brians doubled voice sounds great here. The harmonies are exquisite.

    One thing I might mention which is a common fallacy that people make and Brian does (maybe without realizing it) and turns out to be self defeating….” What we don’t need is people that come out waving their hands and claiming they know the Right Way”.

    He’s claiming his view stated is the right way. Pause and think about it. It’s self defeating.

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