MORE DARK THAN SHARK - FEATURE
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BRIAN ENO
David Sheppard's biography of everybody's favourite "non-musician".
For many a lightening rod for directions in popular music and art over the last four decades; for others a pretentious dilettante who produces 'instrumental doodles' or 'jazz that nobody asked for' - what is for sure is that Brian Eno continues to divide opinion, even as he enters his seventh decade.
A sonic alchemist to the stars, his address book is a veritable who's who of rock and pop and his credit adorns an outrageous nukmber of benchmark albums. Tellingly, Eno's work with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, U2 and Coldplay has coincided with those artists producing their most challenging and critically revered work. Few contemporary record collections remain untouched by Eno's aesthetic DNA: from ambient soundscapes and world music hybrids to cut'n'paste vocal samples and amniotic chill-out rooms, Eno is all around us.
A product of libertarian 1960s English art schools and the wider avant-garde, Eno remains ever the iconoclast. His innovative approaches have invigorated everything from the Turner Prize to the Stop The War campaign, while his CV blithely embraces the blending of aphrodisicac perfumes and lecturing on cake decoration.
On Some Faraway Beach is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno. From an idiosyncratic Suffolk childhood to the sharp end of the international pop charts. Eno's journey has been lengthy and colourful. David Sheppard has cornered many who have strayed into Eno's orbit, interviewing such key collaborators as David Byrne, Robert Wyatt, John Cale, Bryan Ferry and Gavin Bryars. The book has also been written with the considerable assistance and input of Brian and Anthea Eno, but retains an edge and independence of spirit entirely in keeping with its subject.
David Sheppard is a practising musician, critic and writer on music and culture. He has been a regular contributor to Mojo magazine for a decade, has written for Q, The Observer, The Glasgow Herald, The Mail On Sunday and www.popmatters.com, amongst innumerable others, and is co-editor of Art & Music magazine. He has previously written 'primer' biographies of Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello. He lives in Camberwell, SE5, coincidentally just a stone's throw from Brian Eno's first London home.
Selected Reviews: ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BRIAN ENO by Robert Sandall / The Sunday Times MAY 2008 - PROFESSOR BRAINSTORM by Mark Paytress / Mojo JULY 2008 - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BRIAN ENO by Andy Miller / The Telegraph JULY 2008 - DAVID SHEPPARD: ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH by Robert Webb / The Independent JULY 2008 - FATHER OF INVENTION by Owen Hatherley / New Statesman JULY 2008
PREVIOUS FEATURE: 77 MILLION PAINTINGS BY BRIAN ENO - SECOND, REVISED EDITION