I bought Brian Eno's "Before and After Science" when I was a teenager. A few months before finding "Science," I bought Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)" and the Stones' "Exile On Main Street" on a store right above 42nd Street on the east side of 5th Avenue. (It was called either Discomat or Discorama.) "Tiger Mountain" and "Exile" were both included in this 1979 book, one of the few sources I had for the names of older albums I might actually want. This book was the only reason I walked into an enormous barn lined with record racks and haltingly asked for these two albums with titles that sounded really odd when spoken out loud.
The Eno and the Stones delighted and frustrated me. The words and sounds were off, as if they were mixed incorrectly or intentionally obscured or sung in some kind of pidgin English I would never learn. I wanted to know more about what Eno was. (And the Stones, but that came later.)
"Before and After Science" made me immediately happier than "Tiger Mountain," though I couldn't figure out why until a year or two later, when I was playing bass more regularly. Though there is some treated, groaning, humming Eno guitar — obvs on "King's Lead Hat" duh — "Science" is tied to the rhythm section. Much of the time, it is bassist Percy Jones and Phil Collins, then playing together in Brand X, though Paul Rudolph and a few others also play bass. I felt a second kind of disorientation this time, without the frustration. I loved all of the low end and hanging bell tones; the alternation between rhythm and near-ambient tracks; the decreased emphasis on non-narrative language that felt a little forced and English to me. (Though it wasn't gone. "Backwater" contains a line about "heuristics of the mystics." Not sure why Extra Credit Rock never became a genre name.)
I am listening to it now, more than 30 years later, on the other side of the country. It didn't sound like an album from New York, and it doesn't sound like an album from California. It still seems like a moon that is always there, low on the horizon, never sunk.