It’s been called “the most beautiful album of 2023,” by Four Tet and it arrived nearly without warning.
The release of Fred again.. and Brian Eno’s collaborative effort, Secret Life certainly had high stakes attached–and coming in the immediate wake of Fred again..’s high-energy performance at Coachella alongside Skrillex and Four Tet, turning around and releasing an ambient album is hardly what was expected.
Still, there’s a lot more to this working relationship than meets the eye as Fred again.. has been a go-to collaborator of Eno, the godfather of ambient music, since 2014. Fred again.. was a co-producer on Eno and Karl Hyde’s Someday World and a songwriter on High Life that same year. Fred again.. has even referred to Eno as his “musical dad.”
All that said, it’s perhaps no mystery why the two feel unshakably in step on Secret Life. The album is equal parts representative of the artists’ respective worlds, melding slow-burning and enveloping tonal synths with vocals and ethereal orchestral instrumentation.
Overall, Secret Life is one of Fred again..’s most serious offerings to date. From the tortured sentiments of “I Saw You” to the resonant, somber pianos of “Come On Home,” the album challenges fans to re-think their assumptions of both producers.
The full Secret Life album is out now via Four Tet’s Text Records.
FOLLOW FRED AGAIN..:
FOLLOW BRIAN ENO