Brian Eno & His 40 years of music


Brian Eno is a very talented, musician, composer, producer and many other great things related to the arts. He was studying painting in an art school. He attended a lecture by  Pete Townshend of The Who about the use of tape machines by non-musicians. That is way he find himself excited to make music as his career even though he’s not train as a musician. Brian Eno has many influences from his early years to present. Some of his influences includes, classical, choir, Bowie’s minimalism theory, tape machine and delay, african music, world samples (sound sample from all over the world), rock, pop. electronic, ambient music and many more. Besides doing music, he’s also into visual arts, in the form of video sculptures, and writing.

In his 40 years of making music, his idea, style and technique to do change from decades to decades. However, the one thing that he never change was take risk in experimental ideas. The two projects or works of his that stand out to me was his first solo ambient album Discreet Music and his production on ColdPlay’s Viva La Vida.

Discreet Music is a very special album to me. It was his first official ambient album. The first track was a thirty minutes long ambient music. He was trying to create a very quiet, relaxing environment where the audience can connect to and just flow into his world. This first track was suppose to listen at a low level of volume. He gotten this idea when he was listening to music coming out from a spoil stereo speakers while he was hospitalized. That trigger him to another way of listening to sound. As for the other side of this album, it was on the variation of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Is a piece that I feel it was overly played and perform by many people, but its still give me a feeling to it. Ambient factor is in place with wonderful arrangement.

ColdPlay’s Viva La Vida, was something new special and it stand out from most of the rock bands. It has very simple repetitive rhythm and melody, very simple. The track started from with strings sections, then the band and timpani drums. It was the first time the lead singer, Chris Martin using his mid and low voices to sing. In between you can hear some unique synthesizers melody coming in and fade away. Towards the end, it has another counter melody sing with vocals against the instrument melody. Even though both projects are totally two different styles of music, but you could hear some similarities in them like simplicity in arrangement. Brian Eno cares on how people listen to his works, whether is good or bad. All of his works you can somehow find his unique style in it.

The two main characteristic that set that set his project from other recording is, his risk of experimenting new things and ideas in producing, composing or even arranging and helping the musician or the artist to play or sing at their potential. From his past forty years, he has been fusing different elements of music into one. Like having an oboe, strings and other orchestral instruments in rock music. Using different sample recording from around world to create music. In the last few years, he created computer and application programs that infuse music and visual arts together. Allow people who are not a musician or artist to create works of their own. In a recording studio, he always try to use things in the studio or create music or add things into the music on the spot. He has this set of oblique strategies cards to help him when he feel stuck. He often uses body movement or picture to tell the artist and musician what he wants.

As a listener, I enjoy his works a lot. He willing to try new things and it gives the audience a surprise when listening to his works. Brian Eno really cares about creating a comfortable environment in his music or production. There is always something that hooks the listener to get deeper into his music. As a profession, I inspire me to be confident, dare to try new ideas, do what I like to do in music and don’t compare with what other people do. I remember in one of the rolling stones interview with Chris Martin, that was what Eno said to them. He also say that Eno is more like a band member to them then a producer because he is always playing instruments around them while recording giving them wonderful ideas that sound good .



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One Response to Brian Eno & His 40 years of music

  1. richsibley84 says:

    Hello Yang,
    I enjoyed reading this blog because you expressed so many different ideas and aspects of Brian Eno. I noticed how you emphasized his work with Coldplay and seeing how “Lovers in Japan” is one of my favorite songs they did that was produced by him I appreciate you highlighting this in your blog even more. A couple of things I didn’t notice were his works with other artists such as Devo, Talking Heads, and U2. Even though Eno doesn’t consider himself a musician, he had a major impact with some of these bands including production work and background vocals for some of their major breakthrough songs. He is also a founding father in Roxy music and had somewhat of a controversial background when it came to the way he dressed, which lead society to question his sexuality. Nowadays he is mostly focused on creating music that can go with visual arts and works adamantly in creating different apps that can convey his music and pictures together so people can get a better understanding of what type of innovation he is trying to produce. Other than that, there is so much that can be discussed about Brian Eno, but I’m glad you hit the major points and I just wanted to express some of the other known creativities he is famous for.
    Best regards, Rich Sibley

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