As MGMT sets it, we’ll probably always be one step behind him. Behind Brian Eno, that is. Well known for his works as a producer for two average bands, Brian Eno’s influence and aura exceeds the only concept of music. Art rock, Sampling, Ambient music, Generative music, Oblique strategies…
It all started with another Brian (Ferry), and Roxy Music. And although all songs were written by Ferry, Eno’s non-musician approach to music can clearly be heard, like these constant atonal oscillator noises synthesized on Re-Make/Re-Model.
Tired of conlifts with Brian Ferry and his growing dominance, Eno left the band after 2 albums, and recorded his first album, Here Come The Warm Jets. This initiated a solo career made of avant-garde music, experimentations, but also rock albums, such as Before and After Science.
Having studied at the Winchester School of Art, Brian Eno has always been fascinated with minimalist paiting, which he calls “Magic from limited means”. It led to sonic experimentations, and music as being a “steady state” rather than a narrative experience. “No song, no beat, no melody, no movement”. That is what Ambient Music is about: music to support your attention, not occupy it.
David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy is considered his finest works, in which Brian Eno has been extensively involved, by co-writing some songs and performing on all 3 albums.
Brian Eno also collaborated with the Talking Heads by producing and performing on 3 of their albums, but mostly worked with their lead singer: David Byrne. It eventually led to one of Eno’s most influential works, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, which drew on Third World music and pioneered the extensive use of sampling.
Eno considers music as a completely nonfigurative medium, whose appeal to humans can not be explained, and despises variety for its own sake. Major and minor keys are not to be used lightly, especially since their emotional impact can be highly altered by modern timbral effects.
I admire Brian Eno for expanding the field of sonic possibilities but am at the same time overwhelmed by its immensity. As a result, I will attempt to constantly remind myself that music is what stops noise from happening all at once.