I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated
towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create
music with little or no intervention on my part."
-- Brian Eno, 1975, liner notes to his album Discreet Music.
|Brian Eno's influence on modern pop and rock is incalculable, not because of his musicianship (or lack thereof) or even the production skills he lent to key albums of very influential musicians (David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2).|
|Humanize something free of error||It is his approach to music that makes him a unique artist, and a philosophy that turning technology on its head can have very human results.|
|Brought up through the English art school system of the 1960s, Eno early on became enamored of the possibilities of recorded sound on tape and the potential of manipulating it. His beginnings as a tape artist and singer in the bands Maxwell Demon (famously namechecked in the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine) and Portsmouth Sinfonia led to a highly visible profile and crucial role in his next band, Roxy Music.|
|Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics||Working with the equally flamboyant Bryan Ferry over the course of Roxy Music's first two albums, Eno helped define glam rock's androgynous image of the early 70s while creating an aural canvas that vastly opened up the way pop music could actually sound. Roxy Music and For Your Pleasure became templates not only for glam rock but also for punk and avant-garde rock.|
|Ultimately Eno's interest in working with others and as a solo artist led to his departure from Roxy Music in 1973, and while his initial efforts ranged from perfect pop and weird English funk to tape experiments, his fascination with the role of ambient sound led to a series of groundbreaking albums relying on systems intended to let the music create itself. Eno radically changed music production by shifting the creative focus from the instrument or person creating the sound to the conditions set for manipulating then recording the sound.|
|Shut the door and listen from outside||The notion of music performing a functional role as background music was antithetical to the values of pop, which typically demanded attention, but Eno would not be denied, and his ambient records, typically manipulated tape loops of simple melodic lines played by others, caught the attention of musicians around the world for their warm production, lilting music, and their approach to what music could be.|
|Eno himself has described this style of music as the creation of a geography in which listeners could roam freely, an admission that few musicians might own up to, that the listener completes the process of a musical experience.|
|Faced with a choice, do both||Eno's subsequent work in the role of producer with David Bowie, Talking Heads, David Byrne, and U2, and the high regard he also enjoyed in the avant-garde classical community solidified his position as being a great infuence on pop as well as ambient or minimal music.|
Page Sources - From left to right, top
Eno, Brian. Discreet Music. Compact disc. EG Records, 1975.
Eno, Brian and Peter Schmidt. Oblique Strategies. London: Faber & Faber, 1975. Refers to all text in gray.
Roxy Music. For Your Pleasure. Compact disc liner photograph. EG Records, 1973.
Eno, Brian. Another Green World. Compact disc. EG Records, 1975.
Eno, Brian. Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Compact disc. EG Records, 1978.