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: updated 22nd June 02016 :

 

Interim update: Brian has sent out the following letter reagrding the UK's referendum on membership of the EU.

"Sorry to bludgeon you with a political message... but this is getting serious.

In just a few days we will be voting whether to stay in the EU.

Until recently I'd assumed there was no chance we'd vote to leave. However, recent polls seem to be showing 'Leave' and 'Remain' are neck and neck. Some polls even show 'Leave' leading.

You may have made up your mind and plan to vote (in which case ignore this letter), but if, like me, you've been complacent about the issue, it might be time to rethink. What the 'Leaves' have on their side is their unquenchable enthusiasm for a 'Great' Britain that they think we can revive - and several powerful media outlets to propagandise the idea. The Leavers know they can count on their demographic - primarily older people - to get out and vote, whereas the 'Remain' demographic is less reliable (and more complacent). And the Leavers have LOTS of money: seems like a lot of very wealthy people are anxious to get out of the EU.

I wonder why? Is it because many of the constraints on how badly you're allowed to treat workers have been put in place by the EU? Is it because the EU has insisted on environmental legislation which hampers the freedom-to-pollute of corporations and governments? Is it because the EU has established an international criminal court where all those people to whom we sell weapons might be called to account? Is it because the EU has tried to come up with some sort of humane response to immigration other than barbed wire and Trumpian walls?

I have a lot of misgivings about the way the EU is run, but they don't make me want to ditch the whole idea. I feel the EU is one of the only restraints on the kind of neo-liberal market fundamentalism that has seen inequality rising throughout the world. I feel that it has been a net force for good in promoting enlightened social and environmental agendas. It could and should be doing a better job at all these things, but to do any job at all it needs our support.

The only good outcome of this referendum is that it might remind us what the original mission of the EU was, and might motivate us to actually make it happen.

So...please vote. And please ask your friends to do the same.

- Brian"

Our previous update was on 22nd May when we wrote:

Thanks to Dario, Rory, John, Bernd, Alex, Ray, Rupert and EnoWeb's own newsbot Tom Boon for these news links in no particular order.

There's just under a week left to see Light Music, Brian Eno's show of Lightbox artworks and lenticular prints, at Paul Stolper Gallery, 31 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH. Opening times: Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm or by appointment, late opening Wednesday 10am-10pm. The show is accompanied by a new piece of music called "Late That Autumn", and each Lightbox includes its own unique soundtrack of Eno music (not available for public listening). Sales have been reassuringly brisk.

Light Music (The Sequel) is running at Galleria Valentina Bonomo, Via Del Portico d’Ottavia 13, Rome, Italy, from 21st May until 30th September. This time Brian is tooled up with his Speaker Flowers – and he means business!

Brian appeared on the BBC a few times to talk about The Ship.

The ShipBrian will be keynote speaker at the STARMUS III festival of astronomy, art and music, which runs from 27th June to 2nd July, in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. He is due to talk on the topic "At the Crossroads of Art and Science". In addition, he'll be creating a musical ambience at the Star Party incorporating the sounds of stars collected by STARMUS Founder and Director Garik Israelian. Think the words "Star Party" mean an excuse to dress up and strut your funky stuff to the latest disco hits (or alternatively some bangin' club sounds)? You may look a trifle out of place when you discover it involves travelling to the summit of Mt. Teide on Tenerife for some dark sky astronomy.

An exhibit from Brian is among items from over 60 artists in Found, an exhibition running at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ, from 27th May to 4th September 2016.

The Ship installation is currently running at the Alt art space in Istanbul, Turkey. We think the address is Bomontiada, Tarihi Bomonti Bira Fabrikası, Birahane Sokak No: 1, Bomonti. It opened on 13th April and continues to 3rd July.

Other Ship coverage.

Interviews:

Reviews:

More information on Brian's installation at the Bluedot festival in July: "The arts and science programme will be led by Brian Eno, who has created a new installation, Zenith, specifically for Bluedot, which will project on to the Lovell Telescope and interact with the data gathered by the telescope over the weekend."

Other bits and bobs: The Quietus has a remix of the Leo Abrahams track "Steal Time" featuring Brian Eno. Noah Wall has remixed the Oblique Strategies into Grotesque Tables II. LUX, Panic of Looking and Drums Between The Bells are now avilable on streaming services. Brian has recorded something with Richard Russell. The much-delayed Brian Eno: Oblique Music book now has a release date. Edinburgh College of Art put together a Storify of Brian's visit.

In summary, this is what we think is going on.

Cartoon Time.

Our previous update was on 29th April when we wrote:

Thanks to Dario, Rory, John, Bernd, Alex, Richard Mills and EnoWeb's own newsbot Tom Boon for these news links in no particular order.

Avast, ye land-lubbers! Splice the mainbrace! Captain Eno sets sail on his new album The Ship this week.

Interviews:

Reviews:

The ShipMeanwhile, Paul Stolper Gallery in London has an installation called Light Music -- a series of new light paintings by Brian which seamlessly phase through an infinite combination of colourscapes. Unlike Eno's previous light sculptures and 77 Million Paintings, which used CRT and LCD screens, these works use a series of interwoven LED lights. The exhibition is accompanied by a new piece of music composed specifically for the gallery.

Eno writes: "If a painting is hanging on a wall we don't feel that we're missing something by not paying attention to it. Yet with music and video, we still have the expectation of some kind of drama. My music and videos do change, but they change slowly. And they change in such a way that it doesn't matter if you miss a bit ... painting and music have always been interwoven for me. I started playing with light as a medium at about the same time I started playing with sound when a teenager. When I look back on what I've made over the intervening years, it seems to me I've been trying to slow music down so it became more like painting, and to animate paintings so that they became more like music... in the hope that the two activities would meet and fuse in the middle."

The exhibition runs until 28th May 2016. Opening times: Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm or by appointment, late opening Wednesday 10am-10pm.

Paul Stolper Gallery is selling two artworks by Brian, each in an edition of 100. "Center Decenter" and "Tender Divisor" change depending on the angle at which they are viewed, through the use of a lenticular layer.

On 29th April Brian talks to Michael Bracewell at London's ICA. The talk has been sold out for weeks, but EnoWeb notices that the ICA sometimes posts video of its events, so it may be worth checking the site in a few days.

UNCUT reveales that Brian is planning a new project with David Byrne, and The New York Times states that he's working on a new app. Also in the works is a collaboration with Tony Allen, Paul Pethick and Karl Hyde recorded at John Reynolds' studio.

Brian may be creating music and atmosphere for a forthcoming television adaptation of his old chum Michel Faber's novel The Book of Strange New Things. The two previously worked together on an audiobook of The Fahrenheit Twins which was given away with Prospect magazine a decade ago.

Events, dear boy, events.

Brian appears on Fovea Hex's new EP The Salt Garden part 1. He is also one of 100 contributors to a book about Rough Trade.

In March Brian rearranged some of his old music for a ballet. Actually he'd done that a while ago, as EnoWeb is told one of the pieces made its way into the Eno/Bailey Sound of Creation show.

The DiEm25 website homepage features "'Stochastic Processional DiEM', composed and recorded by Brian Eno."

Until 28th May, the Beezy Bailey & Brian Eno show The Sound of Creation is running at the Perve Galeria in Lisbon.

Brian Eno's favourite records as told to William Doyle AKA East India Youth.

New releases from friends and collaborators.

Finally, it's Cartoon Time!

Our previous update was on 24th February when we wrote:

Thanks to Dario, Rory, Steven at Warp, John, Richard Mills, Richard Joly, Raul Regalado and EnoWeb's own newsbot for these news links in no particular order.

The ShipBrian's new album, The Ship, will be released by Warp Records on 29th April. Running at just over 47 minutes in the way that records used to – so that they would not quite fit on one side of a C-90 – The Ship consists of four linked pieces:

The Ship
Fickle Sun:
   (i) Fickle Sun
   (ii) The Hour Is Thin
   (iii) I'm Set Free

Raul Regalado adds: iTunes Japan lists a bonus track called "Away".

The album is available in a variety of formats:

Collector's Edition CD – CD, 8-page booklet and 4 art cards in case bound CD wallet with spot gloss UV and cloth-bound spine
CD – CD and 8-page booklet in wallet
LP – 2xLP in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints
Coloured vinyl LP – Limited Edition 2xLP on transparent vinyl in printed inners in gatefold with 4 art prints

This album does not appear to be in the exact form discussed by Eno with Yanis Varoufakis in The Guardian during November last year, a "record [that] just has two long pieces on it ... both about 25 minutes", although "Fickle Sun (i)" does feature a section that matches The Guardian's "loud and brassy" description.

Speaking exclusively to his Press Release, Brian said: "This album is a succession of interleaved stories. Some of them I know, some of them I'm discovering now in the making of them."

His Press Release nodded and stroked its chin. "So you might say, 'Some of them are old, some of them are new'. It's as if you cannot escape from a thought-and-sentence structure that you first laid down four decades ago," the Press Release suggested cockily.

Minor first-impression spoilers follow!

"The Ship" is a version of the soundtrack of one of Brian's recent installations, which premiered in 2014 and is scheduled to be shown in various places this year. As one might expect from Eno, the stories of The Ship are not straightforward narratives. The mood is cumulative and relentless, built up through statements and allusive phrases. Brian chants and intones lyrics; to set the scene, the optimistic line "The Ship was from a willing land" is immediately followed by the more menacing image "The waves about it roll" [or possibly rose, we don't have a lyric sheet].

"Fickle Sun (i)" pursues "The Ship"'s themes, with Brian adopting a "Breath of Crows" singing style. The album gets loud for a time. By the end the listener has a deep impression of an undefined tragedy having happened in some past space, lost in history.

The atmosphere is crystallised by "The Hour Is Thin", a poem made up of a collection of text-strings, beautifully performed by Peter Serafinowicz with typical skill and nuance. EnoWeb thinks that this track would not have worked so well with multiple voices (or even solo Eno), and we hope Eno and Serafinowicz* collaborate again in the future.
* One of his popular tweets from 2013 read: "Once I listened to so much Eno I had to be taken away in an ambience."

The final track "I'm Set Free" fits perfectly, arriving resolute, triumphant and joyful, with a teeny bit of a barb. EnoWeb is glad this Velvet Underground cover has finally been released, as we're told Brian has been working on various versions of it since at least 2005. While the power of this album comes across fully in its complete four-piece form, we reckon that Eno's "I'm Set Free" cover will become one of the most popular tracks from any of his albums.

Although not exactly a career retrospective, the album can be seen as a tourist pass to many aspects of Eno's work: a lost vessel on the water ("Julie With...", "Empty Frame", Small Craft on a Milk Sea, hints of Words For The Dying); a loosely themed concept album (Taking Tiger Mountain); spoken word and storytelling ("Dead Finks Don't Talk", Nerve Net, some late 1990s installations, Drums Between The Bells); generative and random approaches (countless installations, Koan, Scape, some of 1.Outside's lyrics); the creation of a sense of place (you name it).

"This album conspires to be both immense and intimate at the same time." -- James Oldham, Q.

Here's what Brian has to say about it.

"Humankind seems to teeter between hubris and paranoia: the hubris of our ever-growing power contrasts with the paranoia that we're permanently and increasingly under threat. At the zenith we realise we have to come down again... we know that we have more than we deserve or can defend, so we become nervous. Somebody, something is going to take it all from us: that is the dread of the wealthy. Paranoia leads to defensiveness, and we all end up in the trenches facing each other across the mud.

"On a musical level, I wanted to make a record of songs that didn't rely on the normal underpinnings of rhythmic structure and chord progressions but which allowed voices to exist in their own space and time, like events in a landscape. I wanted to place sonic events in a free, open space.

"One of the starting points was my fascination with the First World War, that extraordinary transcultural madness that arose out of a clash of hubris between empires. It followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man's greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of materiel, 'over by Christmas', set to be the triumph of Will and Steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.

"I was thinking of those vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly ground out; and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank; and how little difference all that human hope and disappointment made to it. They persist and we pass in a cloud of chatter."

Of "The Hour Is Thin": "The poem read by Peter Serafinowicz was created by a Markov Chain Generator (software written by Peter Chilvers) into which we fed accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, some First World War soldiers' songs, various bits of cyberbureaucracy and warnings about hacking, some songs of mine, some descriptions of machinery, and so on. The Generator produced thousands of lines of text from which I extracted a few and then put them into this order."

EnoWeb spotted bits of Edward Thomas' "This is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong", and the description of the software reminds us of David Bowie's Verbasizer designed by Ty Roberts, which was used to generate some of the lyrics of 1.Outside; as with that, randomness can deliver a surprising amount of sense.

Finally, "Written in the late sixties, Lou Reed's song 'I'm Set Free' seems even more relevant now than it did then. Perhaps anybody who's read Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens will recognise the quiet irony of 'I'm set free to find a new illusion'... and its implication that when we step out of our story we don't step into 'the truth' – whatever that might be – but into another story."

Mustard The Tortoise: Oh yes, we've all read that one from cover to cover.
EnoWeb: I thought you were supposed to be hibernating?
Mustard: Really? Dream on.

Beezy Bailey talks to Casimir TV about his collaboration with Brian last year, The Sound of Creation. Brian appears in the video in a non-speaking role.

Brian will be speaking at The Grid NYC, a festival to be held from May 4th to 7th in New York, USA. But he won't be there in person: "Due to artist obligations, Mr. Eno will be appearing live via satellite from his London recording studio." [Archivist's note: The Grid event was cancelled so this never took place.]

Brian contributes in some way to Fovea Hex's new EP, The Salt Garden I.

Kästa School in Flemingsberg (a suburb of Stockholm), Sweden, has a 77 Million Paintings sculpture.

On 4th February Brian spoke at #JC4PM. But you know what it's like with acronyms, once you've had one you get a craving for another, so on 9th February he found himself speaking at the launch of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) – only to get a bit shirty with mobile phones going off right, left but not centre.

Another Serpentine Gallery Marathon appearance, this time performing spoken word pieces with Karl Hyde in 2009.

Brian and Karl Hyde contribute to "Silent Earthling", the title track of Three Trapped Tigers' new album. Karl Hyde talks to 3voor12 Radio about Brian Eno and other stuff.

Daniel Lanois is interviewed, and J. Peter Schwalm has a new album out, The Beauty of Disaster.

Tony Visconti shows how "Heroes" was created.

Our previous update was on 11th January when we wrote:

Following the announcement of the death of David Bowie, Brian gave the BBC the following poignant statement:

"David's death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now.

"We knew each other for over 40 years, in a friendship that was always tinged by echoes of Pete and Dud. Over the last few years – with him living in New York and me in London – our connection was by email. We signed off with invented names: some of his were mr showbiz, milton keynes, rhoda borrocks and the duke of ear.

"About a year ago we started talking about Outside – the last album we worked on together. We both liked that album a lot and felt that it had fallen through the cracks. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.

"I received an email from him seven days ago. It was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did. It ended with this sentence: 'Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot'. And it was signed 'Dawn'.

"I realise now he was saying goodbye."

David Bowie was an artist in many media. From EnoWeb's archives, here is a detail from the wallpaper he designed, included in the Antennae 01 box produced for the 1995 Pagan Fun Wear event which was held in aid of the War Child charity.

Bowie later explained on Bowieart.com: "This, for a couple of reasons is one of my favorite pieces. In 1994 I started working on the computer for the first time. However, the beginnings of this print go back to 1993. I had been thinking about the repercussions of Damien Hirst's piece 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.' This is the piece Damien built in 1991 incorporating a fully grown shark in a tank of formaldehyde. In 1994 a real conflict had developed in British art between the supporters of traditional painting and those of the new young British artists. To identify this tussle, and as I was now working with the computer, I chose to collage various subjects together symbolising both sides of the argument. Firstly, I made a Hirst style box then, working in a traditional manner such as the great British painters Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach have worked, bringing allusion or interpretation of classic paintings into their work, I made a watercolour impression from a Freud self portrait and scanned this into the box."

Music by Brian will be featured in Michael Benson's Otherworlds, a new exhibition at London's Natural History Museum, from 22nd January 2016.

Drawn From Life, Brian's 2001 collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm, is now available from the latter's Bandcamp page.

 

Other news sources

Radiocitizen's Dark Shark Facebook Page. EnoWeb has been the sole updater of that page since late January 2014 owing to a problem; while we always hoped normal service would be restored soon, it didn't happen -- so there are fewer updated than in yesteryear and days of yore. There is also a Brian Eno Facebook Group which may need an invitation to join.


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EnoWeb's Newsbot is Tom Boon.


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