Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Brian Peter George St. Jean le Baptiste de la Salle Eno (born May 15, 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), is an electronic musician, visual artist and music theorist. He is known as a pioneer of electronic art rock in the 1970s (he was a founding meber of the band Roxy Music), the inventor of the "ambient" genre of music, and as the co-author (with Peter Schmidt) of Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards printed with aphorisms designed to enhance the process of art making. He is also highly regarded for his collaborative work as a record producer with performers including David Bowie, Talking Heads. and U2. He has also pursued a parallel career producing visual art installations in galleries and museums internationally.
Education and early musical career
Eno was educated at Ipswich Art School and the Winchester School of Art, graduating from the latter in 1969. While at art school, he developed an interest in using tape recorders as musical instruments, and he experimented with his first (sometimes improvisational) bands.
Eno started his professional musical career in London, with the highly-successful glam/art-rock band Roxy Music, from 1971 to '73. As a self-professed "non-musician", at the band's early live shows Eno was to be found not on stage, but behind the mixing desk, where his efforts went way beyond the usual balancing of the volume levels: he would process the instrument sounds through his VCS3 synthesizer, tape recorders and other electronic devices, frequently singing backing vocals as well. Eno soon graduated to join the rest of Roxy on stage however, where his bizarre costumes contributed to a large part of the band's visual appeal. Public interest in Eno fuelled a rivalry between him and Roxy's leader, Bryan Ferry, who sacked him from the band on completion of the tour for their second album, albeit generously allowing Eno to keep his share of the band's considerable debts.
Eno embarked on a solo career almost immediately. Between 1973 and 1978 created four influential solo albums of electronically inflected pop songs -- Here Come The Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World and Before and After Science. He also played with Phil Manzanera in the band 801 . He continued his career by producing a larger number of highly eclectic and increasingly ambient electronic and acoustic albums. He is widely cited as coining the term "ambient music," low-volume music designed to modify one's perception of a surrounding environment, producing his Ambient series (Music for Airports, The Plateaux of Mirror, Day of Radiance and On Land). Eno describes himself as a "non-musician" and coined the term "treatments" to describe his modification of the sound of musical instruments, and to separate his role from that of the traditional instrumentalist. His skill at using "The Studio as a Compositional Tool" (the title of an essay by Eno) led in part to his career as a producer. His methods were recognized at the time (mid-70s) as unique, so much so on (Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) he is credited with "Enossification."
He collaborated with David Byrne, formerly of Talking Heads, on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, which was one of the first albums not associated with hip hop to extensively feature sampling. Eno collaborated with David Bowie as a writer and musician on Bowie's influential "Berlin trilogy" of albums, Low, Heroes and Lodger, on Bowie's later album 1. Outside, and on the song "I'm Afraid of Americans". Eno has also collaborated with Robert Fripp of King Crimson, John Cale, former member of Velvet Underground, on his trilogy Fear, Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy, Robert Wyatt on his Shleep CD, with Jon Hassell, with the German duo Cluster, with composer Harold Budd and others.
Eno started the Obscure label in Britain in 1975 to release works by less-known composers. The first group of three releases included his own composition, Discreet Music, and the now-famous The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars. The second side of Discreet Music consisted of several versions of Pachelbel's canon to which various algorithmic transformations have been applied, rendering it almost unrecognisable. Side 1 consisted of a tape loop system for generating music from relative sparse input. These tapes were later used as backgrounds in some of his collaborations with Robert Fripp, and the methodology (not entirely original with Eno) was later used by Fripp (on his Frippertronics albums) and others. Only ten Obscure albums were released, including works by John Adams, Michael Nyman, and John Cage. At this time he was also affiliating with artists in the Fluxus movement and worked with the Portsmouth Sinfonia.
Producing records and other projects
From the very beginning of his solo career in 1973, Eno has been much in demand as a producer. His lengthly string of producer credits includes albums for Talking Heads, U2, Devo, Ultravox! and James. He won the best producer award at the 1994 and 1996 BRIT awards.
Despite being a self-professed "non-musician", Eno has contributed to recordings by a huge number artists as varied as Nico, Robert Calvert, Genesis, Edikanfo , and Zvuki Mu , in various capacities such as use of his studio/synthesizer/electronic treatments, vocals, guitar, bass guitar, and even just as being 'Eno'.
Eno has also been active in other artistic genres, producing videos for gallery display and collaborating with visual artists in other endeavors. One is the set of "Oblique Strategies" cards that he produced in the mid-70s, which was described as "100 Worthwhile Dilemmas" and intended as guides to shaking up the mind in the process of producing artistic endeavors. Another was his collaboration with artist Russell Mills on the book More Dark Than Shark. He was also the provider of music for Robert Sheckley's In the Land of Clear Colours, a narrated story with music originally published by a small art gallery in Spain.
- The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem -- solve it." The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long." I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.
- 1972 Roxy Music (by Roxy Music)
- 1973 For Your Pleasure (by Roxy Music)
- 1973 No Pussyfooting (with Robert Fripp)
- 1973 Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays the Popular Classics (with the Portsmouth Sinfonia)
- 1973 Here Come The Warm Jets
- 1974 Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
- 1975 Evening Star (with Robert Fripp)
- 1975 Another Green World
- 1975 Discreet Music
- 1977 Cluster & Eno (with Cluster)
- 1978 Before and After Science
- 1978 Ambient #1 / Music for Airports
- 1978 Music for Films
- 1978 After the Heat (with Roedelius and Dieter Moebius aka Cluster)
- 1980 Ambient #2 / The Plateaux of Mirror (with Harold Budd)
- 1980 Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics (with Jon Hassell)
- 1980 Ambient #3 / Day of Radiance (by Laraaji with Eno producing)
- 1981 My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (with David Byrne)
- 1982 Ambient #4 / On Land
- 1983 Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
- 1984 The Pearl (with Harold Budd)
- 1985 Thursday Afternoon (soundtrack to an art gallery video)
- 1985 Hybrid (with Daniel Lanois and Michael Brook)
- 1989 Textures
- 1990 The Shutov Assembly
- 1990 Wrong Way Up (with John Cale)
- 1992 Nerve Net
- 1993 Neroli
- 1995 Spinner (with Jah Wobble)
- 1995 Original Soundtracks No. 1 (with U2)
- 1997 The Drop
- 2001 Drawn From Life (with Peter Schwalm)
- 2002 Lightness
- 2002 I Dormienti
- 2002 Kite Stories
- 2003 Music for Civic Recovery Centre
- 2003 Compact Forest Proposal
- 2003 January 07003 | Bell Studies for The Clock of The Long Now
- 2004 Curiosities Volume 1
- 2004 The Equatorial Stars (with Robert Fripp)
- EnoShop - Brian Eno Recordings and Products Online
- EnoWeb - Unofficial Eno Web site
- Profile of Brian Eno with discography and reviews of his work.
- Open Directory Project: Brian Eno
- Allmusic.com entry
- The Revenge of the Intuitive - Essay by Brian Eno
- MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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