Eno & Shields’ “Only Once Away My Son”

A couple of weeks ago when it was announced that Kevin Shields had finally finished the long anticipated vinyl remastering of My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything and the masterpiece that is Loveless I of course couldn’t get to Paypal quick enough to preorder these beauties. They will be shipping in January of 2018. In the meantime, I can happily play the remasterd CD versions that came out back in 2012. It seems, though, that Kevin Shields isn’t done amazing and astounding us with fantastic news just yet. As if the vinyl remasters weren’t enough, Kevin Shields went and collaborated with the beautiful Brian Eno. The results are out in the digital wilderness for all to soak up and mentally digest. It’s called “Only Once Away My Son” and it’s simply gorgeous.

So imagine what a collaboration between Eno and Shields might sound like. Got it? Good. Now imagine that, but ten times better. It sounds exactly as you’d imagine the noise king Kevin Shields sitting in a room with Brian Eno would sound like. It’s very ethereal, atmospheric, dreamy, and like a cascading waterfall of zeros and ones coming down over your pretty little head as the world slowly melts into a cocktail of forgotten ambitions and childhood memories. Brian Eno is prominent as the track opens, all whispering electronics hinting at something behind the big green curtain. But as things escalate there’s a slow build of white noise that is a cross between air leaking from a balloon and primitive beasts burning in a grand meteoric fire.

The dream that began as a serene, existential vision starts to turn and twist into something darker. That something darker never quite overtakes us in this song’s 9 minute run time, but it gets pretty damn close. We feel a calm slowly begin to envelope us as the track begins to near its end.

I feel like a song like this goes a long way to calm the naysayers regarding Shields. Brian Eno needs not to prove anything at this point. He’s kept busy for all of these years, exploring every region of the musical spectrum. He’s also worked with an impressive list of impressive artists, offering up his sonic wizardry to help invigorate bands like Coldplay, U2, and even Grace Jones in the last 10 years. But Shields has been somewhat of a hermit, occasionally peaking out of the blinds to see who may be knocking at the door. I think when you disappear from the spotlight for that long your accomplishments turn from a reality to more of an urban legend. I mean, Loveless came out in 1991 for Christ’s sake. He didn’t release another MBV album until 2013, and even then most of it was just reworked songs that were over 20 years old. “Only Once Away My Son” feels like vindication to those of us who have never doubted Shields’ sonic genius, no matter how scarce it seems to be.

The track is part of Adult Swim’s “Singles Program”. Check it out below, and bask it its droning glory.

6 thoughts on “Eno & Shields’ “Only Once Away My Son”

  1. This is a no-brainer and I must purchase it today. Just a few hours before I read your post, an Adult Swim promo alerted me to the fact that Shields and Eno had collaborated. Such a meeting of 2 musical geniuses has greater potential than when chocolate met peanut butter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty excited about those remastered versions of the MBV classics and this track with Eno is phenomenal. Curious what you think of the new MBV album Kevin just announced, are you excited? I was a bit cold to that last release and I’m just wondering if it’s just me being in a much different place as far as musical interests, or if it was because that record was hyped and hinted at for so many years leading up to it’s release and, imo, just came off as a lackluster version of those classic groundbreaking releases and made me want to hear those again…hahaha! Still one of my all time favorite bands from the era, just curious if you have any similar thoughts being that we’re around the same age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was swept up in all the hype surrounding the mbv release back in 2013. I liked the record quite a bit at the time, but without the rose-colored glasses it definitely feels more like a collection of leftover tracks. I still really like about half the album.

      Having said that, I’m cautiously optimistic about the new album. I’m Hoping we hear some of that amazing sonic work he’s doing with Eno. I still don’t feel we’ve gotten a proper follow up to Loveless. I would love that.

      The vinyl remasters. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Also, how relieved I never dropped $50+ on any of those subpar repressings a over the years. There’s a great interview on Pitchfork with Shields talking about the painstaking process he went thru for the remaster. It’s very interesting.

      I’d say you were more of a realist regarding MBV, while I was hoping something to be there that wasn’t.


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