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Brian Eno

  • British musician
  • Born May 15, 1948

Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI (; born Brian Peter George Eno, 15 May 1948) is an English musician, record producer, visual artist, and theorist best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, and electronica. A self-described "non-musician", Eno has helped introduce unique conceptual approaches and recording techniques to contemporary music. He has been described as one of popular music's most influential and innovative figures.Born in Suffolk, Eno studied painting and experimental music at the art school of Ipswich Civic College in the mid 1960s, and then at Winchester School of Art.


People like Frank Zappa and Bryan Ferry knew we could pick and choose from the history of music, stick things together looking for friction and energy. They were more like playwrights; they invented characters and wrote a life around them.




It's insane that, since the Beatles and Dylan, it's assumed that all musicians should do everything themselves. It's that ridiculous, teenage idea that when Mick Jagger sings, he's telling you something about his own life. It's so arrogant to think that people would want to know about it anyway!




I had wanted a tape recorder since I was tiny. I thought it was a magic thing. I never got one until just before I went to art school.




I'm fascinated by musicians who don't completely understand their territory; that's when you do your best work.




When I started making my own records, I had this idea of drowning out the singer and putting the rest in the foreground. It was the background that interested me.




Software options proliferate extremely easily - too easily, in fact - because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment.




In the 1960s when the recording studio suddenly really took off as a tool, it was the kids from art school who knew how to use it, not the kids from music school. Music students were all stuck in the notion of music as performance, ephemeral. Whereas for art students, music as painting? They knew how to do that.




Most game music is based on loops effectively.




I'm very good with technology, I always have been, and with machines in general. They seem not threatening like other people find them, but a source of fun and amusement.




I don't want to do free jazz! Because free jazz - which is the musical equivalent of free marketeering - isn't actually free at all. It's just constrained by what your muscles can do.




A way to make new music is to imagine looking back at the past from a future and imagine music that could have existed but didn't. Like East African free jazz, which as far as I know does not exist.




I have lived in countries that were coming out of conflict: Ireland, South Africa, the Czech republic. People there are overflowing with energy.




Perhaps when music has been shouting for so long, a quieter voice seems attractive.




I'm actually an evangelical atheist, but there is something I recognise about religion: that it gives people a chance to surrender.




Musicians are there in front of you, and the spectators sense their tension, which is not the case when you're listening to a record. Your attention is more relaxed. The emotional aspect is more important in live music.




People do dismiss ambient music, don't they? They call it 'easy listening,' as if to suggest that it should be hard to listen to.




If you're in a forest, the quality of the echo is very strange because echoes back off so many surfaces of all those trees that you get this strange, itchy ricochet effect.




I often work by avoidance.




Editing is now the easiest thing on earth to do, and all the things that evolved out of word processing - 'Oh, let's put that sentence there, let's get rid of this' - have become commonplace in films and music too.




Lyrics are always misleading because they make people think that that's what the music is about.




Gospel music is never pessimistic, it's never 'oh my god, its all going down the tubes', like the blues often is.




The big message of gospel is that you don't have to keep fighting the universe; you can stop, and the universe is quite good to you. There is a loss of ego.




There are certain sounds that I've found work well in nearly any context. Their function is not so much musical as spatial: they define the edges of the territory of the music.




It's not the destination that matters. It's the change of scene.




You either believe that people respond to authority, or that they respond to kindness and inclusion. I'm obviously in the latter camp. I think that people respond better to reward than punishment.




The Marshall guitar amplifier doesn't just get louder when you turn it up. It distorts the sound to produce a whole range of new harmonics, effectively turning a plucked string instrument into a bowed one.




Some people are very good at being 'stars' and it suits them. I'm grudging about it and I find it annoying.




People tend to play in their comfort zone, so the best things are achieved in a state of surprise, actually.




I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness, and a better sense of humor.




Feelings are more dangerous than ideas, because they aren't susceptible to rational evaluation. They grow quietly, spreading underground, and erupt suddenly, all over the place.




I see TV as a picture medium rather than a narrative medium.




Well, there are some things that I just can't get out of my head, and they start to annoy me after a while. Sometimes they're of my own creation, as well - and they're just as annoying. It's not only other people's ear worms that bug me, it's my own, as well.




I'm often accused of being ahead of my time, but it's simply not true. The truth is that everybody else is behind.




I don't live in the past at all; I'm always wanting to do something new. I make a point of constantly trying to forget and get things out of my mind.




My guitar only has five strings 'cause the top one broke and I decided not to put it back on: when I play chords I only play bar chords, and the top one always used to cut me there.




Pop music can absorb so many peculiar talents, ranging from the completely nonmusical poseur who just uses music as a kind of springboard for a sense of style, to people who just love putting all that complicated stuff together, brick by brick, on their computers, to people like me who like playing conceptual games and being surprised.



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