Kataweb Music APRIL 30, 2002 - by Alfredo d'Agnese


From the production of U2's new record, to the release on the internet of albums tied to his video-installations and avant-garde performances, to his involvement in Wim Wenders' latest film, Brian Eno, master of the ambient and the electronic, is anything but absent from the scene.

Even though it's been three years since his last official public release (the last one to appear in stores was The Drop), Brian has never stopped his three hundred and sixty degrees of artistic activity. The producer, talent scout, philosopher of sound and sage has continued to compose and record incessantly. But these days he sells his work by personal correspondence or via the internet. These past few weeks have seen the appearance of Kite Stories and I Dormienti, aural testimonies from two installations between 1999 and 2000. I Dormienti is the title of an exhibition in the basement of The Roundhouse in London, put together in tandem with the artist, Mimmo Paladino. At the centre of a labyrinth of tunnels Paladino has organised a series of sculptures illuminated by emergency lights and surrounded by electronic noises and sequences of notes composed for the occasion. The experiment satisfied Eno so much that it induced him to enter the hallway. The same thing happened with Kite Stories, an installation constructed from rock, sand and light that the artist prepared for the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki in Finland for display from December 11, 1999 to February 6 of this year.

Records like I Dormienti and the preceding Lightness in 1997 continue a series of albums of generative music, the last experimental frontier for Eno, occupied in his studio with the interaction between space and sound. Additionally, in the last few days the import stores have been selling Music For Onmy-Oji, a double-CD composed by Eno in collaboration with J. Peter Schwalm. The album, released by JVC only in Japan, is the result of an encounter between the two musicians two years ago at Sushi! Roti-Reibekuchen. A curiosity: the first five thousand copies of the album will come in a cover bearing a three-dimensional hologram.

Digging below appearances one discovers that Eno's activities are in fact frenetic. In the stores today is the soundtrack of Wim Wenders film, The Million Dollar Hotel, in which Eno is not only credited as a composer but also plays keyboards in the super-group Million Dollar Hotel Band with, amongst others, Bill Frisell, Daniel Lanois, Jon Hassell and Bono, the voice of U2. On the production front, the release-date for the new U2 album, produced by Eno naturally, is still to be finalised while he has also been in the midst of working on his own album of songs, promised for over a year. In the meantime he can content himself with the single, We're Going To Miss You by James, product and missive of the ideology of ambient music and the much-anticipated collaboration on Bryan Ferry's next album.

Our hero's oblique strategies don't finish here. Eno has involved himself in David Toop's project, Sonic Boom: The Art Of Sound, an exhibition being hosted between April 27 and June 18 at the Howard Gallery in London. Described as the largest art and sound exhibition ever held in Great Britain, this super-installation is intended as a vector of words, music and noise and includes the participation of Russell Mills and Lee Renaldo of Sonic Youth with post-rave, post-ambient and post-techno sonorousness taken from the club scene and transferred to an art gallery. For the occasion Eno will present a video and sound installation.

Another project in which Eno is involved is Longplayer, a bizarre opera presented on the web by Jem Finer. Commissioned and produced by Artangel, the proposal is to generate music from January 1 of this year till the end of 2999, that is till the end of the millennium. More conventional, on the other hand, is the initiative put forth by, which has acquired Brian Eno as a musical consultant, along with Steve Earle, Steve Lillywhite, DJ Lethal and George Massenburg. Included in this turbulent activity is the almost banal inclusion of his song, Spinning Away, on the soundtrack of The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. The version is by Sugar Ray. Eno, it seems, appreciated the intention.