: updated 21st November 02016 :
Thanks to Dario, Rory, John, Bernd, Alex, Richard, Steven at Warp, Ray, Ulrich, Peter, Jeff, Rupert, and EnoWeb's own newsbot Tom Boon for these news links in no particular order.
Brian will release a new album, Reflection, on 1st January 2017. That's a Sunday and New Year's Day to boot, so in many countries the digital version will be the first they hear of it. He has written about the album so that we don't have to:
"Reflection is the latest work in a long series. It started (as far as record releases are concerned) with Discreet Music in 1975 ( – or did it start with the first Fripp and Eno album in 1973? Or did it start with the first original piece of music I ever made, at Ipswich Art School in 1965 – recordings of a metal lampshade slowed down to half and quarter speed, all overlaid?)
Anyway, it’s the music that I later called ‘Ambient’. I don’t think I understand what that term stands for anymore – it seems to have swollen to accommodate some quite unexpected bedfellows – but I still use it to distinguish it from pieces of music that have fixed duration and rhythmically connected, locked together elements.
The pedigree of this piece includes Thursday Afternoon, Neroli (whose subtitle is Thinking Music [part] IV) and LUX. I’ve made a lot of thinking music, but most of it I’ve kept for myself. Now I notice that people are using some of those earlier records in the way that I use them – as provocative spaces for thinking – so I feel more inclined to make them public.
Pieces like this have another name: they’re GENERATIVE. By that I mean they make themselves. My job as a composer is to set in place a group of sounds and phrases, and then some rules which decide what happens to them. I then set the whole system playing and see what it does, adjusting the sounds and the phrases and the rules until I get something I’m happy with. Because those rules are probabilistic ( – often taking the form ‘perform operation x, y percent of the time’) the piece unfolds differently every time it is activated. What you have here is a recording of one of those unfoldings.
Reflection is so called because I find it makes me think back. It makes me think things over. It seems to create a psychological space that encourages internal conversation. And external ones actually – people seem to enjoy it as the background to their conversations. When I make a piece like this most of my time is spent listening to it for long periods – sometimes several whole days – observing what it does to different situations, seeing how it makes me feel. I make my observations and then tweak the rules. Because everything in the pieces is probabilistic and because the probabilities pile up it can take a very long time to get an idea of all the variations that might occur in the piece. One rule might say ‘raise 1 out of every 100 notes by 5 semitones’ and another might say ‘raise one out of every 50 notes by 7 semitones’. If those two instructions are operating on the same data stream, sometimes – very rarely – they will both operate on the same note... so something like 1 in every 5000 notes will be raised by 12 semitones. You won’t know which of those 5000 notes it’s going to be. Since there are a lot of these types of operations going on together, on different but parallel data streams, the end result is a complex and unpredictable web.
Perhaps you can divide artists into two categories: farmers and cowboys. The farmers settle a piece of land and cultivate it carefully, finding more and more value in it. The cowboys look for new places and are excited by the sheer fact of discovery, and the freedom of being somewhere that not many people have been before. I used to think I was temperamentally more cowboy than farmer... but the fact that the series to which this piece belongs has been running now for over 4 decades makes me think that there’s quite a big bit of farmer in me."
Mustard The Tortoise says: Those could be lyrics from a missing verse for "Back in Judy's Jungle":
"I was temperamentally more cowboy than farmer
But there's quite a big bit of farmer in me."
- Reflection at Brian-Eno.net where you can read those album notes again and avail yourself of pre-purchase links
We'll have a chance to hear new Eno a month before that, with the release of Jools Holland's new album Piano. Brian sings backing vocals and soundscapes for the third track "Last Date".
The Ship is continuing to sail the seven seas, in the form of a generative video on an AI-driven website plus numerous installations. "Utilizing a bespoke artificial intelligence programme developed by the Dentsu Lab Tokyo, this film explores various historical photographic images and real time news feeds to compose a collective photographic memory of humankind."
If you missed out on Eno's first edition of lenticular artworks, Paul Stolper has some new lenticular pictures ("Ripe" and "Rose") and etchings along similar geometric and colourful lines. Can't help thinking there's a missed opportunity here. With Christmas coming up, the market is crying out for humorous lenticular pics of Santa Claus on his sleigh or a snowman in a snowglobe, all with the Brian Eno seal of quality.
Brian wrote this in response to the result of the recent US Presidential election.
PROG magazine recently interviewed Brian. He mentions that he has been working remotely with David Byrne, providing electronic drummers co-created with Peter Chilvers. He also says, "This is what I can't bear about fans. They always assume that songwriters are writing about themselves all the time." EnoWeb is unconvinced. Is there anybody who seriously ever thought that Brian was once on an open sea just drifting as the hours went slowly by, was cackling off to the Congo, got to looking for a kind of substitute, rested in a desert where the bones were white as teeth sir, was the Crow of Desperation, thought it through, will even retail crummy cosmetics, and so on? Though actually now we come to think of it, "I got the job because I was so mean, While somehow appearing so kind" sounds quite accurate.
- Beginning of interview (full version available if you go for a free 30-day trial)
This page was looking at David Bowie's wallpaper at the start of the year, and now it appears that Brian has been involved in the design of Flower Mask wallpaper for Graham and Brown.
There are many reasons why the updates to this site are irregular. Life and work mainly. On this occasion, it's because I knew that next time I did an update, I would be writing the following piece.
That you have an EnoWeb to visit is entirely down to one man, Malcolm Humes. In July this year Mal died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. I wanted to take a little time to remember him with you.
Malcolm Humes was my longest-standing online pal. I first got to know him in 1994/5 through the alt.music.brian-eno Usenet group, and when I sent him a cheeky comment about something on the EnoWeb site that he had created, he invited me to contribute to the site. By 1996 he was looking to devote his energies elsewhere and asked me to take over the running of EnoWeb completely. He's the person I always refer to whenever I talk about EnoWeb as "we", partly because I was always leaving the door open for his return, and partly because it amused me to present a single opinion as coming from more than one person. I'm not sure whether I'll keep doing that or not.
Mal was a real visionary. He understood the future of the "World Wide Web" far earlier than most. In those early years when the Internet had many different aspects that had fairly equal status (Usenet, Gopher, the WWW, FTP, e-mail), he realised the potential that the Web offered for sharing and linking information and people in new ways. Mal was there years before pillars of the Internet establishment like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Wikipedia, iTunes, Twitter, Instagram and so on had even been thought of. He set up EnoWeb in 1993, along with sites devoted to some of his other interests like Jon Hassell, John Cage and William Burroughs. The Internet was a smaller place then, with more of a shared community feeling that was more outward-looking, and hardly commercialised. It wasn't always a nice place, of course. There were "Internet Trolls" even then. But the good far outweighed the bad.
I think Mal chose the "Web" part of the EnoWeb name because he liked the idea of the new hypertext-style structure that was much in vogue at the time – where one article, sentence or word could allow you to jump to another thread and you could follow your own path through the data. You'd end up knowing far more about the topic and other side-turnings and tangents than you originally bargained for.*
As more people got online and "The Internet" became synonymous with the World Wide Web, it became clear that site visitors preferred a more straightforward structure, but in recent years I've begun to wonder if that original blueprint was in some ways a mapping of Malcolm's own enthusiastic approach to the many topics he loved. He had a voracious appetite for music, philosophy, photography, alternative cultures, all their connections, and no doubt many more that I’m not aware of – and he enjoyed sharing those interests and turning people on to new things that they would never have encountered otherwise. A genuine catalyst.
Mal was very touched when, after I mentioned to my contact at Opal that he was getting married, Brian Eno broke the Fourth Wall and sent a wedding present artwork dedicated to Mal and his betrothed with the text, "let's drink a loving cup".
*As preparation for this text, I've been disinterring messages from 1996 from my old CompuServe mailbox (not easy, with an obsolete .plx mail file format on an equally obsolete 3.5" floppy disk). Here is a Mal in an 1996 e-mail extract, typically firing off ideas in multiple directions.
'Tom: The OS [Oblique Strategies] page could use a background and a design makeover - there's material to add (mentioned below) and it could use a rethink or a new perspective. I'd like to carve it out more as an overview of use of Random in musical and decision making processes. I Ching. Links to text mutilation engines. Cage. Cutups. Chris Alexander's Pattern Language.
I think this is one of the ideal places to add user interactivity in the project and to make it more than just Eno -- a fertile garden of ideas that can evolve through interactivity in folks adding new oblique strategy cards, contributing to group cutups. I've been pretty diverted from the Eno project in general, but I have given some thought to what it might be able to do to step more away from being just a fan site and into something that's like a playground and a library of ideas.
My Cage page has just extended into a guestbook that I'm quite pleased with what seems to me to transcend most "guestbooks" because it's pulling stories from folks strongly affected by Cage. I imagine the Eno site would generate more of a graffiti style interaction but I think if I partition several rooms there's a potential for creating some focused ongoing conversations on a different level than themailing lists or newsgroups - a timeless thread. I'd appreciate thoughts on topical areas, - like the OS page might host a thread of stories about how people have used the Oblique Strategy Cards.'
Malcolm had a healthy sense of the ridiculous side of fandom and at one stage was planning a site where people could post about sightings of Eno. He mentioned in passing:
'a first hand account from a woman who spotted Byrne AND Eno in San Francisco circa bush of ghosts. Both were walking out of a Pacfic Bell (phone company) office with boxes of surplus phone equipment and she described them as looking like children with a gleam of glee in their eyes or something like that.'
A believeable image. Another snippet:
'I volunteered at the Exploratorium for months when I had tried to get in on helping construct his Latest Flames sculptures there in 1988. I ended up just donating a lot of time to the museum over many months and seeing the exhibit intimately for dozens of hours. Missed Eno but it was then, listening to him in a lecture on music, that made me realize I'm as inspired by some of this ideas as by the music.'
He would occasionally ruefully report little scrapes he'd got himself into:
'Last night I had dinner with Cluster and interviewed them and shot some photos ... It was really nice meeting them even if I indavertantly ended up footing the bill for them and two friends for dinner.'
And here's an example of Mal's quirky humour from the early 1990s. It must've taken hours with the type of graphics program we had back then:
Mal described himself on Facebook as "just another old soul channeling my inner surrealist via music and art, with an eye on the world". One of his many friends said, "Mal was an interesting cat." So he was. You might like to listen to some of his music or look at some of his art.
The death of Jane Geerts was also announced in April. Jane was Brian's business manager and EnoWeb's main point of contact at Opal for many years.
I met Jane on a couple of occasions and something that really impressed me was her command of the room. One of the thoughts that struck me when I first encountered Brian Eno in person – which came as a bit of a surprise to me – was "You poor thing. That must be what it's like being a member of the Royal Family." It was at a reception before Icebreaker's premiere of Apollo at the Science Museum in London; there was a seemingly endless line of people needing to be introduced to Eno, including me, and Jane had the skill to ensure that each person got enough face-time with him while still ensuring that he was protected and not overwhelmed by the attention. Brian had returned from Australia harbouring a virulent bug, and after a while he disappeared to the toilet. When he did not reappear for an unfeasible amount of time, Jane checked out the assets in the room and identified Tim Booth from James as the safest person to go and check up on him (and yes, I know that all sounds like peculiar dream, but it's what happened).
Jane wanted all her possessions to be sold to raise funds for the Martlets Hospice, via eBay.
Brian illuminated the Jodrell Bank Telescope for the Bluedot Festival in July, and it recently won the Mind Blowing Spectacle award.
Brian sings on "Radio", a track on Bronagh Gallagher's new album Gather Your Greatness.
Brian wrote Bells of Berriew to celebrate the 25th birthday of the Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture.
Brian sings on and co-wrote "Love Without Violins" for The Gift.
Brian received "The Man with the Golden Ear" Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music Production at the Soundedit Festival in Lodz, Poland.
Brian has contributed to Rethinking the BBC: Public Media in the 21st Century. He wants a show called What Actually Happened, presumably because 20+ years ago he wrote a track by that name which he reckons would be an ideal theme tune, particularly as the Arena revenues aren't anything like as high as they used to be.
- Rethinking the BBC (it's free)
EnoWeb readers will recall that in 2012, Brian parked his tanks on the lawn of the detergent industry, calling his new album LUX and loudly proclaiming, "I'm gonna clean up!"
Now the forces of Soap Powder have hit back -- and hit back hard, with the release of Ambience detergent. Who knows what plans Brian has bubbling under for his retaliation?
Here's a load of links from the last six months in some kind of sequence.
Vij and Auj.
- La Reppublica reports on Brian in Bari in December 2015 & Googlenglish version (includes video – "don't eat the fish eyes")
- Tim Booth talks to Culture Collide about James' new video and Brian and the same topics crop up for news.com.au
- Psychic Temple Plays Music For Airports
- Artapartofculture talked to Brian at the Galleria Valentina Bonomo & Googlenglish version
- Wired: Stephon Alexander talks about meeting Brian
- Die Zeit interviews Brian & Binglish version
- Rockerilla has a feature on Brian (not available online)
- David Wilson's book Left Field has been published
- Bryan Ferry has designed a wristwatch (similar to what Peter Gabriel did with Swatch many years ago, but not similar at all really) and mentions early Roxy tracks will be released sometime
- Mark Mothersbaugh talks about his art and Brian Eno
- Billboard reports on Brian's talk at the Sonar +D festival in Barcelona
- La Vanguardia interviews Brian & Googlenglish version
- La Reppublica d'Attualita interviews Brian & Googlenglish version
- Gazzetta di Mantova does the same & Googlenglish version
- Fastcocreate reports on Brian's Cannes Lions talk
- Corriere della Sera has photos of the Palazzo Te decorated in 77 Million Paintings, as does Gazzetta di Mantova
- Enovations used to produce an Eno-themed calendar; here is the 1979 vintage scanned by Glenn Sogge
- Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis co-write an article about Brexit
- The Guardian mentions Brian's Starmus lecture, as does Janet Anscombe (5th paragraph)
- Brian speaks to the Daily Telegraph
- Galleria Valentina Bonomo photos
- Short Rolling Stone article on 1.Outside
- Robin Ince ruminates on a talk by Brian Eno and Raoul Martinez
- Q&A with the editors of Brian Eno: Oblique Music, out now
- MTV News – Brian's Virtual Professorship
- Peter Chilvers marks 10 years of working with Brian
- Brian's Keynote talk at Campfire Convention #001
- Brian Eno and Yanis Varoufakis at the 2016 Dalkey Bookfest and a clip of video or two
- Another short clip from Dalkey
- Brian Eno & Bjarke Ingels discuss Instruments of Change at Heartland Festival 2016
- Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson & Ebe Oke at Dokument#2, Copenhagen Library on 14th November Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3
- Brian at Moogfest in 2011
- Bit of video from Sonar +D
- Video clip from Cannes Lions
- Extracts from the 1995 Self Storage installation by Laurie Anderson & Brian Eno
- Palazzo Te Artribune video, Twitter video, YouTube, Outsiders video, Mantova 2016 video, Jam TV press conference video
- Brian on Brexit
- Brian on the Chilcot Enquiry and again
- Brian speaks in support of Julian Assange
- Brian at Stop The War in Liverpool
- Uniek materiaal van Brian Eno. Nooit eerder on air! Broadcast in 2015 but the music doesn't sound that recent.
- Contact plays a bit of "Discreet Music"
- A 1997 interview
- Speaker Flowers in 2016 and 2010
- Galleria Valentina Bonomo video
- Brian leads the Copenhagen Library in song 1 -- 2 -- 3 (it's a tradition there)
Links for associated artists.
- The Quietus interviews Rick Holland about Pattern Man, his new book of poetry available here and as a musical extravaganza with Chrononautz here
- The Quietus interviews David Toop, as does Red Bull
- Jon Hassell on RBMA radio and an old article on Fourth World music
- Laurie Anderson and Jean-Michel Jarre talk about the artistic response to tragedy on RBMA radio
- Hans-Joachim Roedelius talks to Electronic Beats
- Daniel Lanois talks songs as he has a new album out, Goodbye to Language, with Rocco Deluca
- Malcolm Le Grice talks about Berlin Horse
- A Russell Mills lecture
- Harold Budd Aurora Teardrops track and Harold Budd, Bradford Ellis & Veda Hille perform Aurora Teardrops in full
- Harold Budd talks about his music in 1985
Non-associated artist info: in August Marconi Union released a new album, Ghost Stations. It features their trademark organic structures of melancholy-through-gauze mood, with perhaps a little more upbeat resolution here and there.
- Marconi Union includes some sound samples
Our previous update was on 22nd June when we wrote:
Interim update: Brian has sent out the following letter regarding 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.
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!
- Galleria Bonomo
- La Repubblica interview and Binglish version
- Arte (or Binglish version)
- Corriere della Sera (or Googlenglish version) has extracts from a press conference: "Synthetic in feedback, fulminating in his eyes and in the speeches, the brevity invites journalists who overdo themselves in the questions, encouraging them to make use of Italian. Offers the audience of prosecco glasses, jokes, he sound manipulator, with the noise of a plane flying over the Ghetto makes incomprehensible his answers. Close your mouth recorders and syllable his thinking."
Mustard The Tortoise: If that text doesn't make it into "Fickle Sun (II) (Subsection B)", I'll be disappointed.
Brian appeared on the BBC a few times to talk about The Ship.
Brian 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.
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.
- Until 3rd July: The Ship at Alt in Istanbul
- Until 28th May: The Sound of Creation at Perve Galeria in Lisbon
- 25th-28th May: last days of Light Music at Paul Stolper
- 21st May to 30th September: Light Music at Galleria Bonomo in Rome
- 27th May to 4th September: Found exhibit at The Foundling Museum
- 10th-11th June: The Ship is shown in Denmark and Brian talks at the Heartland Festival
- 16th June: A conference talk at the Sónar+D Festival, Barcelona, Spain
- 25th or 26th June: Eno has a light and sound installation at the Palazzo Te in Mantova, Italy (we're guessing that might be The Ship)
- 27th June to 2nd July: Keynote speech and party music at STARMUS III in Tenerife, Spain
- 22-24 July: Zenith installation at the Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK
- November: Brian appears in Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, a television documentary series by George & Giles Martin
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
- 10th May: Brian delivers this year’s free Andrew Carnegie Lecture at Edinburgh University’s George Square Lecture Theatre
- 10th-11th June: The Ship is shown in Denmark and Brian talks at the Heartland Festival
- 16th June: A conference talk at the Sónar+D Festival, Barcelona, Spain
- 25th or 26th June: Eno participates in some unclear event at the Palazzo Te in Mantova, Italy
- 22-24 July: Light projections at the Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK
- November: Brian appears in Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, a documentary series by George & Giles Martin
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."
- DiEm25 (advisory: plays automatically)
Until 28th May, the Beezy Bailey & Brian Eno show The Sound of Creation is running at the Perve Galeria in Lisbon.
- Perve Galeria -- includes PDF catalogue
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!
- Alex Haas' "SANCTUM Revisited" with music by Brian
- Sophie Clements' One Side 2004 with music by Brian and J. Peter Schwalm
- The Ticket (2005) -- Brian is interviewed at the start*
- Meridian (1995) -- Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson are interviewed about Self Storage in 1995, 16 minutes in*
- Front Row (2010) -- Brian is interviewed*
*May not work on some mobile devices
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.
Brian'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:
(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."
- Tributes to David Bowie at the BBC
- Eno talks about Bowie in 1997 (audio)
- Working on 1.Outside in 1995 -- part 1 and part 2
- J. Peter Schwalm's "Heroes" - "Heaven or Hell" Remix
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.
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.