Brian Eno Wrote Every Song I Listen To

Ok, so he didn’t. He did, though, have a hand or two in the architecture of today’s music culture. Brian Eno is a musician, producer, singer/songwriter, visual artist, innovator, and teacher, among other talents. He has an astonishing resume, from his early work with the more-popular-in-Europe experimental 1970′s band Roxy Music to his accredited “invention” of ambient music to his current production work with bands that I promise you’ve heard of.
What is so wonderful about his creative prowess, in my opinion, is that it has happened almost completely “below the radar.”

I consider myself a music enthusiast, but I don’t think I’m posh enough to have found out about Brian Eno on my own. He stays backstage in most scenarios. I know about him because of my dad who knows everything there is to know about music (except that one time I told him about BB Mak…anyone?).

Here’s what I learned about Brian Eno from my dad:
– He doesn’t consider himself a good singer.
– The way his first band, Roxy Music, created its sound was to meet up for months at a time, travel to a different area of the world, and develop a new sound that was influenced by that area.
– When NASA wanted a soundtrack for the moon landing footage, they contacted Eno. Same goes for the Microsoft Windows startup sound. (Eno: “I wrote it on a Mac. I’ve never used a PC in my life; I don’t like them.”)

The Eno CD I’ve found most enjoyable has been Another Green World. There are lots of reasons, from its memorable and poppy numbers such as “I’ll Come Running” to its melodic, beautiful, unique instrumental breaks. What’s more interesting, though, is how many songs I hear in every song. “That makes no sense,” you might say. Let me explain.

This CD encompasses most of the novel sounds that bands today are “inventing.” Feedback, loops, overlays, auto-tune, soundscapes, design…yep, it’s all there, and he did it in the 70′s. What we’ve discussed as “creative” so far in class is pretty much covered by his use of new and exciting elements in music creation. He gets bonus creativity points for the impact his music has had on the community as a whole. Today’s bands adapt Eno’s techniques and sounds to enhance their own music (This article is titled: Five Things Your Favorite Indie Band Owes to Brian Eno).

As I learn more about Eno’s unique ideas and methods, I am constantly impressed by his ability to nearly transcend creativity; to expose it for what it is, to pop the mystery of creativity. Specifically, I can point to Eno’s Oblique Strategies music production tool, also known as a card set that helps one hurdle writers’ block. These strategies range from “go outside. shut the door.” to “change specifics to ambiguities.”

I don’t like to think that there is a “most creative” person in the world. Rather, there are different types of creative people that set things in motion. Brian Eno has set myriad musical innovations and creations in motion. His influence on the music world has been loud, but his physical presence is quiet. This is the mark of ultimate creativity, in my mind – creation without fanfare and a contribution to society that purely exists. Once truly discovered, though, it absolutely blows your mind.
 
Read on: Eno everything – http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/

  • Ariel

    What’s Brian Eno up to these days? Oh, not much, just composing musical algorithms for the world’s longest running clock. This clock, built to run for ten thousand years, is inventor Danny Hillis’s way of reminding the world that, in order to succeed into the future, we need to have a “long view” of the future. Eno is charged with the task of composing the melodies so that the chime will never repeat itself, for as long as the clock shall chime…

    http://longnow.org/clock/