is full of the author's famous "oblique strategies,"
aphorisms to help and challenge the creative, non-complacent artist:
be afraid of using your own ideas."
. .think of a context in which the problem would be an asset."
to make things that can become better in other peoples' minds
than they were in yours."
is also full of love for his family, gusto for food and deep intellectual
reflection on the creative process.
bumps into a great gang of friends such as Pavarotti, Tom Stoppard,
Laurie Anderson, Bono of U2, Paul McCartney, Carol King, Julian
Schnabel and Paul Simon, among many.
the world's foremost collaborator, Eno has been a major creative
force behind such music groups as The Velvet Underground, the
Talking Heads and U2, has made highly influential recordings with
Robert Fripp, Paul Hassell, Moebius, David Bowie and others, and
is widely regarded as the founder and guiding light of New Age
and/or ambient music, a title he's not the least bit interested
and Miles Davis were more prolific and produced many revolutions
as well as many masterpieces in the 20th Century, but in the second
half of the century the two most influential musicians have been
the late John Cage and Brian Eno, the former probably proud of
not having produced much, if any, beautiful music, and the latter
probably proud of "chancing" upon the notion that from
simple things unpredictable complexity can emerge. But if Cage
was the minimalist father of experimental and Pop (as in Art)
music, Eno is the wry progenitor of generative, evolving, mutating
music whose theories do not overwhelm his ability to produce memorable
beauty (as in side one of the 1975 masterpiece, "Evening
Song," with Robert Fripp, and "The Shutov Assembly,
recorded between 1985 and 1990 and released in 1992.)
August, 1997, Eno released a new album entitled "The Drop"
that, unfortunately, has no album notes, but is one of his better
ones, especially the last long cut. The album has a fair
bit of very nice piano playing that is "treated" with
a marvelous reverb effect.)
and Eno share a Spartan simplicity and a yearning for immediacy.
On a traipse
through Egypt, he recounts encountering a boy on a bike passing
by repeating, "I am here." Eno observes: "Perhaps
the central and single message of humanity."
is much in evidence in his reflections on Bob Geldorf's historic
Live Aid concert and in his trips to and anguish over the more
recent Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian catastrophe.
incisive and brilliant, Eno's diary not only offers fascinating
insights into music-making, but also hilarity:
to think that all of the world's major problems can be solved
with either oyster sauce or backing vocals."
proposal that car-horns be tunable by their owners. Interesting
to see what social harmony or discord would then develop."
are many futures and one status quo."
a long walk this morning - down 7th Avenue to 42nd street. Such
nostalgic air - cool but clear, straight up Manhattan fresh off
the Atlantic, having crossed the Sargasso Sea, then accented with
all those residual traces of faint fishiness, cinnamon muffins,
subway urine, women's perfumes, bacon, coffee, newsprint."
Japanese calligraphers who spend "a whole day spent grinding
inks and preparing brushes and paper, and then, as the sun begins
to go down, a single burst of fast and inspired action. . .more
and more I want to try that Japanese model: to get everything
in place (including your mind, of course) first, and then to just
give yourself one chance. It seems thrilling."
in the title refer, of course, to the quite lengthy and important
notes, as in an appendix, at the back (third, or so) of the book.
was in Manny's Music store on west 48th Street buying a synthesizer
and talking to my guru there, Rick Stevenson, when Eno came in.
Rick offered to introduce me, but I shuddered and declined, telling
myself I would never disturb an important artist contemplating
a new instrument. Hypocrite that I am, I did talk briefly to Pat
Metheny once at Manny's, but while I really like Metheny, I idolize
Eno for he changed my life. I have loved jazz since staying up
late at night when I was still a teenager to listen to Mort Fega
and Symphony Sid with their great jazz radio programs that started
at midnight trying to sort out Coltrane's "My Favorite Things,"
and dancing holes in my socks to Miles's "Sketches of Spain,"
but I always felt I had no creative talent.
however, I happened by chance to hear the title track of his best
album with Fripp, "Evening Star." I was so transported
that I made my first visit to the music stores on West 48th Street,
asked to see synthesizers and bought a brand new Moog Source for
about $1,100, which was a great deal of money for me, then and
now. I had never seen a synthesizer, which Eno was listed as using
on the album, and could not, then and still now, read music. Since
then, I've added at least 20 more to my sonic arsenal and have
been pretty happy ever since no matter how severe economic realities
have been. I am not thrilled with all of Eno's recordings, but
I just relistened to "Evening Star" and was thrilled.
finding something increasingly unsatisfactory about putting a
record on - knowing that someone else knows exactly what's going
to happen next," Eno muses in his diary, adding, at another
point, that in the future some child will gasp at an adult and
ask if it was really true that people once listened to the same
piece of music "over and over again."
sees an end to "the era of reproduction" and finds the
computer revolution very disappointing so far, he is nonetheless
an optimist: "the good news is that the simple ideas have
not all been used up."
To my great
delight, I happened about a major talk by Eno on the Internet
at the Hotwired web site that consists of about a 50-minute lecture,
brilliant and funny, of course, that can be heard directly on
the Web with Real Audio. The site starts with an introduction
to a conference on Imagination held in June, 1996, and also features
extended remarks by Laurie Anderson and Spike Lee. Go to
the conference index site by clicking here and scroll down to
the Interview with Brian Eno link, and also look at the conference's
bio site on Eno.