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View Full Version : Featured Artist - Brian Eno


Delay Pedal Boy
11-24-2005, 05:43 PM
http://img436.imageshack.us/my.php?image=eno5ic.jpg
Brian Peter George St. Baptiste de la Salle Eno. What a guy. Not everyone has changed music at all, let alone in the way Eno has.

He's worked with everyone from Jah Wobble to John Cale to David Byrne to David Bowie and more. However, he is probably best known for the pioneering of ambient music that exists as background music that isn't terrible. This shall be the main focus of my article.

First, one must remember the little bit of folklore leading to Eno's "invention" of ambient music. The story goes that he was in bed unable to move and had on a record in the other room. The music was too soft but couldn't tell anyone to turn it up, and on top of this there was rain pattering on his window. Now to most people, even to some of the best minds of our day, this would be nothing but a nuisance, but to Brian...it was different.
In 1978, the first of the Ambient series came out. Music for Airports, it was sub-titled. It's liner notes were an interesting mini-dissertation. Here they are:

The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces - familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.

Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.

An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.

Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten' the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.

Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.


Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror was the second in the series, which was made with Harold Budd, a musician previously known for his minimalistic avant-garde compositions. Much like the first in the Ambient series, the album cover was a stylized aerial photograph. However, this one had 10 compositions ranging from 1:29 to 6:59, unlike the previous which had simply four pieces, two per record side that were so majestic they could be called movements, as they did as well have no names. This second album had song titles as evocative as An Arc of Doves and Wind in Lonely Fences. Also interesting to note is that this album appears to have some other, more vague theme, opening with First Light and ends with Failing Light.

Ambient 3: Day of Radiance
The instrumentation on Day of Radiance consists of heavily layered and prepared electronical zither. The tracks were played by Edward L. Gordon, who first adopted a title of Laraaji for this release. Laraaji was discovered in Washington Square Park by Brian, and this inspired him (Eno) to have him play on his next album. Eno was the one who treated his tracks on the album.

Ambient 4: On Land
This is probably the single most atmospheric of the whole ambient series. If nothing else, this album as being notable for the first time Daniel Lanois collaborated with Brian Eno. The tracks evoke wildlife itself Ranging from "A Clearing" to "Lantern Marsh" and one of the tracks has a recording of frogs.
Also performing on this album are Bill Laswell, John Hassell, and Michael Brook and Michael Beinhorn.

Brian Eno's discography (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=MIW040511232108&sql=11:9yz8b5c4tsqa~T2)

More coming...

Happymeal
11-24-2005, 05:53 PM
There that's better.

Iai
11-24-2005, 06:58 PM
As a start to an FA, it's good.

IAJP
11-26-2005, 02:29 PM
Is it true that Brian Eno composed the Windows 95 "Jingle" ?

Robert Crumb
11-27-2005, 12:26 AM
Yeah. Apparently he ended up composing a lot of little 3 second "songs" because of that.

Eyepatched
11-28-2005, 03:29 AM
I absolutely love this guys ambient stuff a true inspiration to many.

Pale-Folklore
12-30-2005, 01:02 PM
eno's great (ANOTHER GREEN WORLD) !

good FA thing

all the clouds turn to words
all the words float in sequence
no one knows what they mean
everyone just ignores them

feedyourhead
12-30-2005, 06:11 PM
I enjoy listening to his music.

br3ad_man
01-02-2006, 07:15 AM
Eno is amazing. I've only got 3 or 4 of his albums.

ThisUserIsAPipebomb
01-02-2006, 11:50 AM
I have Here Come the Warm Jets.


It's excellent.

br3ad_man
01-03-2006, 03:46 AM
I might do the next one.

Pale-Folklore
01-22-2006, 11:12 AM
i only have another green world, still need to get music for airplanes

Zebra
01-27-2006, 09:41 PM
'Another Green World' is amazing, along with 'Here Come the Warm Jets,' 'Before and After Science', and his most overlooked album 'Ambient 4: on Land.' Eno has released a bunch of albums and the most amazing thing is that he has yet to release a bad album, simply incredible.

Zappa
01-29-2006, 01:02 AM
Eno has released a bunch of albums and the most amazing thing is that he has yet to release a bad album, simply incredible.

Oh, I don't know about that. Surely Discreet Music counts as a stinker.

Since I guess I haven't posted in this, I guess I'll say that I really love his work. His "glam period" stuff is basically all great, and his ambient work has it moments (like on the impeccable Ambient 1) too. I'm a big fan of his collaborations; some of his best work is with David Byrne, Robert Fripp, Moebelius/Roedelius, Harold Budd, etc. His contributions to the albums he's produced are also quite admirable. His co-writing credits on Talking Heads' Remain In Light earns him some accolades in my book, as does the work he put in on David Bowie's "Berlin Era" albums. What a guy.

whiteminority
05-31-2006, 12:30 AM
I have Here Come the Warm Jets.


It's excellent.
That is an awesome album.

Demp
06-07-2006, 03:58 AM
I think that's great.

Glitterati
06-07-2006, 12:17 PM
His co-writing credits on Talking Heads' Remain In Light earns him some accolades in my book.

He also produced Devo's 1978 Q: Are We Not Men? album.

Wanker
06-07-2006, 11:12 PM
I think he co-produced Paul Simon's new album.

GurS
06-19-2006, 06:04 AM
He's credited as having contributed the "sound landscape" on the new Paul Simon album, Simon is credited as sole producer.

Amit
06-19-2006, 06:06 AM
I think my favourite stuff by him is his work with Harold Budd.

Ando!
08-12-2006, 01:30 PM
In the guitar world acoustic interview with Paul Simon, he talks about Eno's sonic landscaping and how it pertained the the record. It's a good read.

Kage
08-30-2006, 08:41 PM
You're forgetting to include what led to Brian Eno's Ambient series. His early 1970s collaborations with Robert Fripp.