INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Record Collector DECEMBER 2016 - by Phil Smith
BRIAN ENO: OBLIQUE MUSIC
Sean Albiez and David Pattie have edited this selection of essays on Brian Eno, to add to the mountain of work on him.
Eno doesn't need validation, academics sometimes get pop wrong, and the anthology approach here means points are repeated, so this threatens to be overthought or boring. Chapter titles such as Between The Avant-Garde And The Popular: The Discursive Economy of Brian Eno's Musical Practices certainly don't bode well for anyone seeking out Bono anecdotes, though there are some good Devo stories elsewhere. However, with that chapter title being written by long-term improviser Chris Atton, one recognises that these writers aren't cultural butteries, but Eno's academic bedfellows.
Other contributions include meticulous descriptions of compositions; a chapter about Eno's ambient oeuvre (which quirkily compares him to Tolkien at great length); one on Eno's documenting of no wave; and one about his perceived cultural appropriations. Albiez contributes to the best piece on precursors to Eno's use of the studio to create new sounds.
Them academics don't half spread what could be said succinctly over an article or three, and the book could largely be reduced to one point: that Eno likes collaborations that aren't entirely preordained. Not a page-turner then, but intellectually stimulating.