INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The Stool Pigeon APRIL 11, 2011 - by John Doran
BRIAN ENO - 1971-1977: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
The music documentary makers Sexy Intellectual do a much better job than most others at making these unofficial films. Coming after a well-realised film on Kraftwerk, they've turned to another shining outlier of the '70s, Brian Peter George St. John Le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. They may not have direct access to his nibs, but they have sourced some solid footage and roped in some great talking heads (Geeta Dayal, Simon Reynolds and Robert Christgau in particular). A story in three parts, the film does a good job of pointing out exactly how strange it was having a non-musician, avant garde artist as a full member of a glam rock band in the early 1970s. Indeed, his strongly alien/androgynous image and his skill in manipulating the band's sound ensured that he quickly became the focal point of Roxy Music gigs with fans chanting his - not Bryan Ferry's - name. The second act looks behind the myth of the non-musician kick-starting a solo career. Above and beyond having chums in the avant garde and such hoots as the Oblique Strategy Cards that randomised some of his studio procedures, we see Eno as more of a punk rock risk-taker. After a lukewarm reception to his first solo album, Here Come The Warm Jets, Eno hired a band he saw playing in his local pub, The Winkies, and went on tour with them before releasing the now-forgotten novelty yodel-rock single called Seven Deadly Finns. It was probably this impulsiveness as much as his intellectualism that made him such a visionary. Given that Eno had already released his post punk album (Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)) in 1974, he changed gear again for the second half of the '70s by popularising ambient music. A satisfying and thorough introduction to a monumental figure in modern popular music.