Brian Eno

Brian Eno Artistfacts

  • May 15, 1948
  • His full name is Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno.
  • His initial entrance to music performance was with his school bands, using a tape recorder as a musical instrument. He was with the band Roxy Music from 1971-1973.
  • He has historically been an advocate for pornography, and in a 1974 interview called it a "burning shame" that people hide it when "it's such a highly developed art form." The name for his 1973 album with Robert Fripp, (No Pussyfooting), came from a page of a pornographic film magazine, which was later stuck onto the recording console.
  • He feels uncomfortable in the spotlight, preferring to be behind the scenes where he feels more free.
  • Many of the lyrics in Eno's first two solo albums, Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), were generated randomly or pieced together from lines in his own notebooks.
  • The recording for his third solo album, Another Green World (1975), began without Eno having written any material. Instead, he hired musicians to improvise before editing the material into something coherent.
  • In 1976 Eno formed the experimental rock band, 801, with previous Roxy Music bandmate Phil Manzanera. The name came from the refrain of Eno's song "The True Wheel," which includes the lyric, "we are the 801, we are the central shaft."
  • Eno is very interested in smells, and in mixing perfumes. Since art college he has mixed concoctions of oils and liquids, and in his 1982 interview with Complete Music said that he would have happily made a career of it if he were no longer a musician.
  • Two of Eno's biggest influences were composers Erik Satie (thought to have composed the first ambient music, known as "furniture music") and John Cage. Cage's use of chance in composition was a precursor to Eno's "Oblique Strategies," a set of cards with printed suggestions to help rid creative block; some of the suggestions are cryptic (e.g. "Honour thy error as a hidden intention") and are so designed to encourage lateral thinking.
  • Eno coined the term "generative music," to describe music composed either partially or wholly by a system, meaning that each performance will rarely be the same twice. His first release using generative composition was Discreet Music, released in November, 1975. On its B-side are three variations on Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, in which each of the performers were given brief excerpts from the score to be repeated and altered.
  • He contributed to the 2008 video game, Spore, providing a largely generative soundtrack. One instance occurs when visiting a planet, where generative music plays dependent how able it is to support life. Eno has also developed generative music apps - Bloom (2008), Trope (2009) and Scape (2012) - with Peter Chilvers, whom he also worked with on Spore.
  • He won the award for best producer in both the 1994 and 1996 BRIT Awards. In 2012 he won the BAFTA award for Original Music for his contributions to the soundtrack of Channel 4 series, Top Boy.
  • He has seven Grammy Awards to his name as producer. Various U2 albums and singles on which he was the producer - The Joshua Tree (1988), "Beautiful Day" (2001), "Walk On" (2002), How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2006) — won awards for Record or Album of the Year, with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb also winning Best Rock Album. Coldplay's Viva la Vida won Best Rock Album in 2009, and Eno won for Producer of the Year in 1993 along with his partner Daniel Lanois.
  • Eno is not keen on performing live, as the music he composes is first and foremost a studio recording. He compares his music to a painting in that it is not a performance art, but more an installation that "you sometimes look at."
  • Eno cannot read sheet music, and claims to not use any knowledge of music theory (chords, keys, etc.) when composing music.
  • He was appointed youth affairs adviser in 2007 to the then-leader of the UK's Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg.
  • In 2013, Eno designed two light and sound installations for Montefiore Hospital in Sussex, UK. An installation in the reception area, entitled "77 Million Paintings for Montefiore," consists of generative music (i.e. that which is constantly changing) and a corresponding light show aimed at evoking a "serene atmosphere" for patients and staff. A space downstairs also holds an installation, but one that is designed more as an "escape," using a unique yet non-generative soundtrack.
  • During the run-up to the 2016 referendum on Britain leaving the EU, Eno was outspoken about staying in. In a Facebook post, he claimed to feel that it "could be doing a better job," but ultimately that the "net force for good" that it provides needs support in order to work properly.
  • Eno's favorite albums include Joni Mitchell's Court And Spark, Owen Pallett's Heartland, My Bloody Valentine's Glider, Steve Reich's Early Works, The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground, and albums by international artists Farid El Atrache, Arif Sag, Me'Shell NdegéOcello and the Chœur Bulgare Svetoslav Obretenov.
  • Eno is a big fan of "YouTube ephemera," and one of his favorite internet distractions is the "War!" sketch from Chris Morris' mock news program, The Day Today.


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