INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Kataweb Music MAY 9, 2001 - by Alfredo d'Agnese
BRIAN ENO: TOWARDS THE INFINITE
The most notable non-musician in the history of rock music returns to the scene with an album, Drawn From Life. It was created in collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm, with whom he will play on-stage at the Fuji Rock Festival. In his role as producer Eno has recently completed work on the new album by James and is currently involved in the follow-up to David Bowie's 1.Outside.
Towards the infinite and beyond: an authorative periodical thus characterised the work of Brian Eno four years ago, as the man who had revolutionised the language of sound of the past fifty years. Non-musician, producer, video-artist, philosopher, sculptor, singer, talent-scout, poly-instrumentalist and the great thinker of popular culture: Eno has acquitted himself brilliantly in many areas. But his first love, music, is again occupying his thoughts. And thus, since a few days ago, his new album, Drawn From Life, written, played and produced with J. Peter Schwalm, a DJ and musician from Frankfurt, has been in the stores. Their collaboration began three years ago when they met in Bonn. They have already released Music For Onmy-Oji last year, but only in Japan.
Drawn From Life is the result of months of work together, with the addition of the voice of Laurie Anderson: eleven pieces in continual oscillation between jazz harmonies, the chamber-music of the first half of the twentieth century, and trip-hop. I always try to make music that I'd like to listen to - said Eno to The Telegraph - The process begins with a series of listenings during which I think, 'I'd like it to be a little like this and a little like that.' Thus, in this way I design in my head the type of music that I wish to compose. In this period I haven't listened to much jazz or refined European music but they have suggested a fertile territory, an area which I think has not been completely 'mined'. The other way was to return to those feelings that I had uncovered on the music like a type of landscape. I have tried to take all this towards a type of composition that is both rhythmic and melodic because for a long time I composed pieces without obvious rhythms or thin melodic traces.
Drawn From Life has already produced a notable result, bringing Eno back to the live stage. On July 29 he will be performing live with Schwalm in Japan, at the Fuji Rock Festival. The bill also features Patti Smith, Neil Young, Oasis and Neil Young, New Order, amongst others. It's a period of hyperactivity for Eno, who is developing a theory on the connection between music and science. By the summer the shops will have Space, the new James recording which he defines as the best since the group has been together. Naturally it's marked by his production.
On April 30, Warner in Japan released Aiming For Zero Landmines - The First Prayer Of The 21st Century, the theme of a Japanese TV show presented by Ryuichi Sakamoto that proposes the abolition of landmines. Eno, along with Kraftwerk and David Sylvian, features amongst the contributing artists.
If music has a solid place amongst his interests, art is at the centre of his thinking. Compact Forest Proposal will be exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art until July 8, part of a show that celebrates digital technology and art, entitled 101010. Eno's project, in this case, is to create a musical ambience without words, without melody, without rhythms and that never plays the same way twice across eleven CD-players that transmit music, noises, distant voices and the peeling of bells.
In the end, his ultimate dream: to obtain permission from the authorities at Heathrow Airport to create a room for travellers where it will be possible to listen to actual music for a modern airport. It would be the end of the search: twenty years ago Music For Airports was the basis for ambient music.
After having said no to the Roxy Music reunion (I don't love repeats), he is working with monkish patience on a new album of songs and, with David Bowie, planning a sequel to 1.Outside, a happy collaboration with a short commercial existence: That album began as a series of improvisations that I have recently listened to again and that impressed me. David improvises tracks constructed upon complex harmonies, he changes character by modifying his voice. He is part of the world avant-garde in terms of his imagination and expression. I hope the sequel is made rapidly, as by now we already have our days numbered.