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BRIAN ENO

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Brian Eno biography
There has never been an artist more mystic (in the prog world, anyway) than Brian Eno. He has had many occupations that have influenced many musicians: he was the founding father of ambient music (though some might give him nosmall amount of flak for starting new age slop), a glam rocker, an expert at the synthesizer and many other strange electronic devices, a producer of hits for U2 and Talking Heads, an explorer of non-western musical themes and, as he was known to everyone who liked him, a "non-musician."

Mr. Eno was born in Woodbridge on May 15, 1948. His birth name was (deep breath...) Brian Peter George St. Jean le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Growing up in the neighboring town of Suffolk (which was close to a American Air Force camp), he became fascinated by music when listening to doo wop and R&B on the Armed Forces radio stations. He later developed an interest towards avant-garde composers like John Cage and Terry Riley. In 1971, he became a member of the seminal rock band ROXY MUSIC. Eno joined them because he knew how to operate a certain synthesizer that none of the other members could. Some rock fans thought that he was gay because he wore makeup and women's clothing. His unusual appearance was offstaging the ROXY MUSIC frontman Bryan Ferry, who began to grow agitated as a result. After several fights with Ferry, Eno quit ROXY MUSIC to record some albums of his own sound.

The first album with Eno's name on it was 1973's "No Pussyfooting", an early ambient venture that he recorded with fellow EG Records recording artist Robert Fripp (most famous as the guitarist of KING CRIMSON). Most of the album was a Gibson Les Paul played by Fripp running through a tape-delay system. This new method would be dubbed "Frippertronics," a system that Fripp would later use in his solo career. (The sampling of sounds later set the stage for electronica and hip-hop.) Eno's first true solo album was 1973's "Here Come The Warm Jets", which managed to make the Top 30 in the UK. This time around, Eno had a glam rock sound that David Bowie and QUEEN had popularized. The album proved so critically popular that Eno (even though he was in poor health) decided to tour. The tour was cancelled shortly because of a collapsed lung.

In 1974, he released "Taking Tiger Mountain" (By Strategy), which was a similar collection of free form rock songs. Shortly after the album was
released, a serious car accident left Eno bedridden for several months. While in t...
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Here Come The Warm JetsHere Come The Warm Jets
Remastered
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$7.75
$6.24 (used)
Another Green WorldAnother Green World
Remastered
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$10.20
$7.94 (used)
Ambient 1:Music For AirportsAmbient 1:Music For Airports
Remastered
Virgin / Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$5.92
$7.99 (used)
Apollo:Atmospheres And SoundtrApollo:Atmospheres And Soundtr
Remastered
Astralwerks 2005
Audio CD$5.92
$7.47 (used)
Discreet MusicDiscreet Music
Remastered
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$9.46
$9.46 (used)
Taking Tiger Mountain By StrategyTaking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
Import
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$8.62
$7.84 (used)
Thursday AfternoonThursday Afternoon
Import
EMI Import 2013
Audio CD$3.39
$3.41 (used)
Before and After ScienceBefore and After Science
Remastered
Astralwerks 2004
Audio CD$9.31
$5.34 (used)
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23h 41m
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BRIAN ENO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BRIAN ENO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 155 ratings
Here Come The Warm Jets
1973
3.59 | 135 ratings
Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
1974
3.97 | 250 ratings
Another Green World
1975
3.31 | 84 ratings
Discreet Music
1975
3.76 | 161 ratings
Before and After Science
1977
3.29 | 73 ratings
Music For Films
1978
3.66 | 144 ratings
Ambient 1 - Music For Airports
1978
3.75 | 57 ratings
After The Heat (with Dieter Moebius & Hans-Joachim Roedelius)
1978
3.93 | 113 ratings
My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with David Byrne)
1981
4.01 | 137 ratings
Ambient 4 : On Land
1982
3.74 | 90 ratings
Apollo : Atmospheres & Soundtracks
1983
2.81 | 21 ratings
Music For Films Vol.2
1983
3.32 | 47 ratings
Thursday Afternoon
1985
2.37 | 15 ratings
Music for Films, Vol. 3
1988
2.73 | 35 ratings
Wrong Way Up (with John Cale)
1990
2.10 | 33 ratings
Nerve Net
1992
2.75 | 25 ratings
The Shutov Assembly
1992
3.13 | 26 ratings
: Neroli :
1993
2.00 | 6 ratings
Headcandy
1994
2.86 | 13 ratings
Spinner (with Jah Wobble)
1995
2.62 | 24 ratings
The Drop
1997
2.40 | 5 ratings
Lightness
1997
3.38 | 8 ratings
I Dormienti
1999
3.59 | 22 ratings
Drawn from Life (with J. Peter Schwalm)
2001
2.10 | 10 ratings
January 07003: Bell Studies For The Clock Of The Long Now
2003
3.75 | 56 ratings
Another Day on Earth
2005
3.93 | 73 ratings
Small Craft on a Milk Sea
2010
3.64 | 27 ratings
Drums Between the Bells (with Rick Holland)
2011
3.26 | 16 ratings
Lux
2012
3.10 | 13 ratings
Someday World (With Karl Hyde)
2014
3.00 | 10 ratings
High Life (With Karl Hyde)
2014
3.00 | 1 ratings
My Squelchy Life
2015

BRIAN ENO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Dali's Car (with Winkies and 801)
1999

BRIAN ENO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.91 | 4 ratings
Thursday Afternoon
1984
4.04 | 4 ratings
14 Video Paintings
2005
4.09 | 3 ratings
77 Million Paintings
2006

BRIAN ENO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Working Backwards: 1983-1973
1983
3.58 | 7 ratings
Begegnungen (with Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Conrad Plank)
1984
2.30 | 4 ratings
Begegnungen II (with Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Conrad Plank)
1985
2.53 | 5 ratings
Desert Island Selection
1986
3.67 | 3 ratings
Textures
1989
3.09 | 4 ratings
Eno Box II: Vocals
1993
4.12 | 6 ratings
Eno Box I: Instrumentals
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Generative Music 1
1996
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sonora Portraits
1999
3.09 | 3 ratings
Curiosities, Vol. 1
2003
3.44 | 3 ratings
Curiosities Vol. 2
2004
3.96 | 4 ratings
More Music For Films
2005

BRIAN ENO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Robert Sheckley's In A Land Of Clear Colors (with Pete Sinfield)
1979
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ali Click
1992
1.05 | 3 ratings
Fractal Zoom
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
Music For White Cube
1997
3.00 | 5 ratings
Kite Stories
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Music For Onmyo-Ji
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Music For Civic Recovery Centre
2000
2.33 | 3 ratings
Compact Forest Proposal
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
How Many Worlds
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
This
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Making Space
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
Panic Of Looking
2011

BRIAN ENO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Small Craft on a Milk Sea by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 73 ratings

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Small Craft on a Milk Sea
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whee, another Eno collaboration. This one drew a decent amount amount of attention in the run-up to its release, for two main reasons. The first reason was that this was Eno's first project after he'd been signed to Warp records, a longstanding British label specializing in electronic music, and it was interesting to speculate on how one of the forefathers of electronic music would fare upon joining a label focused on the cutting edge of it. The second reason had to do with Eno's collaborators; Leo Abrahams (who had contributed some guitar to Drawn From Life and had worked on a few albums Eno had produced) and Jon Hopkins (who had helped out on Another Day on Earth and had worked with Eno on some other projects) had established themselves as important figures in their own right in the world of electronic music, and these were definitely the biggest non-Fripp names that Eno had collaborated with on a non-song-centric album since his work with Harold Budd and with Cluster (the trio had also recently collaborated on the soundtrack to the Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones). If Eno was ever going to make another non-song-centric album that "mattered," then this was the best opportunity he'd had in a while.

It took me a few listens to settle on how I felt about this, but I ultimately came to the conclusion that this is one of Eno's better instrumental albums. Unfortunately, my near total ignorance of contemporary (circa the 2010s) electronic music is a hindrance for me in making sense of my feelings towards music of this sort (generally, I get the sense that I would probably enjoy a lot of it if I allocated significant time towards getting acquainted with it, but unfortunately I just don't have the time to go down that road without giving up something else); this lack of context means that I can't make assessments that go much beyond "gee that sounds real good yup." Well, sometimes "gee that sounds real good yup" is all somebody needs in life, and this album satisfies me just fine along those lines. It's hard for me to distinguish which parts belong more to Eno than to the others; a lot of the music on here came from improvisations that were edited down and spliced together, and it's hard to say that any particular member is dominant at a given point. That said, there are some tracks that at least sound like they come from familiar territory for long-time Eno listeners; the opening "Emerald and Lime" (and the later reprise, "Emerald and Stone") is rather pretty (based around a slow rolling piano line over assorted other keyboards), "Bone Jump" sounds a lot like a typical track from The Drop in terms of the various keyboard sounds used, and "Lesser Heaven" doesn't sound that different from something that could have been on Ambient 4 or the like. The closing 8-minute "Late Anthropocene" definitely sounds like it could have been on Ambient 4, thanks to its repeated slowly ascending synth line and all of the various burblings happening underneath it, and it's a highlight as well.

Some other tracks sound vaguely like could have come from Music For Films, but with some unsettling atmospheric wrinkles; my favorite examples of this kind of track (but not the only examples) are "Complex Heaven" (which puts nagging bits of guitar over wandering keyboard plinks and fascinating other noises) and "Calcium Needles" (full of echoey chime-like noises that would work terrifically as a soundtrack in a scene that involved exploration of a misty cave). Much of the rest has a more distinctly modern feel to it, such as "Flint March" (full of jittery percussion loops), "Horse" (which sounds like the backing track to an angrier-than-usual Radiohead song), "2 Forms of Anger" (much the same), "Paleosonic" (all sorts of processed guitar-and- otherwise noise on top of a percussion loop that would sound goofy on its own), and a few others.

It's not really worth it to mention every other track, but they fit in well with the rest of the album, providing both variety and a sense of sheer competence that make them enjoyable on their own and in context. Overall, then, this album strikes me as pretty remarkable, and I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who considers themselves a fan of Eno's instrumental work and even to some who don't. As a "keeping up with the youngsters" exercise, it beats the snot out of (for instance) Nerve Net, and there's enough diversity in sound and style to keep it from getting as monotonous as some of Eno's solo work can sometimes get. Hats off to Eno for working on his game at such a late date.

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 Another Green World  by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.97 | 250 ratings

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Another Green World
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by RussellChap

4 stars Originally starting out as an experiment Brian Eno ended up creating one of his most praised albums. For the first few days the creation of Another Green World was frustrating for Eno as he struggled to produce any workable ideas, compounded by the fact he had nothing written or prepared beforehand. So he turned to his 'Oblique Strategies' for direction. These cards with instructions and prompts allowed Eno to get over his creative block and work the resulting ideas into Another Green Word with the help of guest musicians. Robert Fripp of King Crimson, who had collaborated with Eno on No Pussy Footing and Evening Star (both excellent albums), Ex Velvet Underground member John Cale and Phil Collins on drums! (yes Phil Collins the unlikely eighties pop star who ruined The Supremes wonderful 'You Can't Hurry Love') played on about half of the tracks, while Eno performed solo on the others utilizing such fanciful instruments as the Leslie piano and Snake Guitar.

Eno later said of Another Green World "People tend to think of that as a song record. But it isn't, it's an instrumental record with the odd bit of vocal." The songs are witty with a very English playfulness (check out these lyrics from 'Sky Saw' "Mau Mau starter ching ching da da/Daughter daughter dumpling data/Pack and pick the ping-pong starter") which he shared with contemporaries such as Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt. His songs feature characters who seem to be caught in fixed freezes (like the figures on the album sleeve), with the world moving past, as in 'I'll Come Running' "I'm gonna waste the rest of my days/Just watching patiently from the window" or "Several times I've seen the evening slide away" on 'Golden Hours'. While the instrumentals are like the environments the static characters watch, they unfurl slowly like midweek afternoons when there's nothing to do or evenings when sights and sounds are muted. They are imaginary soundscapes with evocative titles such as my personal fav 'In Dark Trees' (as mysterious as the title suggests), 'Somber Reptiles' (that brings up images of disconsolate dying dinosaurs) and the restful title track which was used as the theme for the BBC2 arts series Arena.

Another Green World is interesting precisely because it is the point between Eno the song writer and Brian Eno the ambient composer. His next album would be purely instrumental fittingly titled Discreet Music.

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 Ambient 4 : On Land by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.01 | 137 ratings

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Ambient 4 : On Land
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is clearly the darkest of the four 'Ambient' works from the series, It's a moodier, more organic, darker Eno who plays with a creepy Halloween mask wrapped around his bald egg head. Ready to scare any children who approach.

There's a lot more going on than displayed in the previous three outings. However, it's still very minimal and quiet. There's only hints of melody amongst the sea of bleak tranquility. This is the album where he states in the liner notes that - 'I find the synthesiser to be of limited usefulness due to it having a non organic quality'. Make of that what you will, as I'm sure I can hear many synths used throughout.

Funny little squishes and watery bloops recur on 'Tal Coat' as all the while splutters of analogue tones flitter around like fairies waving wands at the bottom of your garden. This one's on a totally different plane from previous releases. It's more distant and less cosy. In all there appear to be five musicians present which is surprising considering the starkness of sound.

While I much prefer the beautiful 'Ambient 2' with Harold Budd, this reveals a solo Eno, displaying all the talent he undoubtedly had. It's not his best, but I'd have to call it it has one of the progenitors of 'Dark Ambient'.

The best is left till last with the ultra-bleak 'Dunwich Beach, Autumn'. Beautiful decayed piano sounds play a mournful but attractive tune. It's miserable, yet desperately pretty at the same time. I guess most of Eno's work can be described in this way.

Oh and by the way, the frog recordings are brilliant.

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 Wrong Way Up (with John Cale) by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.73 | 35 ratings

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Wrong Way Up (with John Cale)
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars BRIAN ENO has worn many hats as producer, songwriter and designer but he was first and foremost a musician who embarked on many paths simultaneously since his first albums arose in the early 70s. Although he is most known for all the innovative ambient albums that he has released, he has also put out a ridiculous number of collaborative albums over the years as well beginning on "No Pussyfooting" with Robert Fripp back in 1973. WRONG WAY UP sees him collaborating for the second time with Velvet Underground legend John Cale (the first album was "June 1, 1971" with Nico). While you would expect two eccentric art rock and experimental pioneers in the musical world to create some highly original music that takes you somewhere completely new, it is not really the case on this one as it sounds somewhat like a lost Talking Heads album.

WRONG WAY UP is one of the more accessible albums by ENO and friends. The dominant focus is on catchy melodies accompanied by a huge assortment of instruments but only acting as subordinate entities never stealing the limelight. There is plenty of electronic art pop going on here but there are also lush string sections that include violin and viola. Other than the melodic pop song approach there is strong emphasis on percussion as well making this sound like an experimental 80s new wave style at times. The percussion list is long and includes dumbeks, Shinto bells, tablas and other Indian drums. The tracks are mostly mid-tempo but some like "Cordoba" are slowed down. The piano blues can also be heard on "Crime In The Desert." The finale "The River" sounds like it should be on a Chris Isaak album!

ENO's discography is a hit-and-miss collection of everything ranging from early experimental glam rock to bizarre ambient worlds so i was honestly expecting a little more from this one given John Cale's legacy as one who likes to go to new places as well. On WRONG WAY UP there is an ethnic flavor to many of the tracks given the instruments on board but the vocals and the overall sound really remind me of synth pop bands of the 80s like Level 42 or even Thomas Dolby. Not really a bad thing as the album comes off well and there really aren't any particularly bad tracks, but this album doesn't blow me away either and doesn't have enough hooks for me to want to return to it often despite the groovy rhythms, symphonic backings and passionate dual harmonies. I like it but don't love it.

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 Someday World (With Karl Hyde) by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.10 | 13 ratings

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Someday World (With Karl Hyde)
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars Well, all good things must come to an end, and after a serious 2 year tear of purchasing 4-5 star recordings , my lucky streak has screeched to a sudden and noisy halt, much to my chagrin! Long-time hero Brian Eno has always held my admiration, ever since he spiced things up with nascent Roxy Music and going on to fame and fortune as producer and artist. I had fallen off the cart after 1995's "Spinner", a lackluster collaboration with PIL's Jah Wobble and relied on his early stuff to keep me happy. Seeing a collaboration with Underworld's Karl Hyde seemed to have some merit and I was expecting a crafty and shimmering set of electronic genius. I am crestfallen in reporting that there are only 3 tracks worthy of adulation out of a total of 9 and I find myself somewhat disappointed, especially when taking into consideration the recent discographic brilliance of my other electro heroes John Foxx and Midge Ure, both releasing spectacular works in the last 2 years.

Eno handles the synths and computers but rarely comes up with anything exciting, Hyde provides rather scrawny vocals and silly putty guitar, the only positive being Coldplay's Will Champion doing a fab job on drums. The opener "Satellites" is what hooked me into ordering this CD, a thoroughly palpitating opener that has a serious amount of intelligence in its musical adventurism, for a second I was hopeful. Sadly the next four short tracks are dreary, wimpy, simplistic and devoid of any genius. "Mother of a Dog" appears through the mist of mediocrity and gets the juices flowing again with a clever electronic-pop thingy which, incredibly is followed by another good one in "Who Rings the Bell". Regret rears its forlorn head with the final two cuts that offer nothing special or attractive. I guess giving this multiple listens will not improve my disappointment and after doing so, my position is even more concrete. Nice cover art, but this one is going into the massive collection bookcase with little chance of reappearing in my lifetime. "Someday World" indeed, should have called it "Under Whelm World" instead.

2 cantankerous spurs

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 High Life (With Karl Hyde) by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.00 | 10 ratings

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High Life (With Karl Hyde)
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Too much, too soon!

After all the 3 months ago first release by Brian Eno & Karl Hyde "Someday World" 2014, included an additional "bonus"disc. So, this second (?) release "High Life", 3 months later, seems and feels like an album of songs which came in third in their personal pickings .

The album repertoire (6 songs) sounds more like an Eno's self-tribute, than a 2 musician collaboration. Yeah! Maybe Hyde's "electronic funky" fondness matches that of Eno's, but as far as new proposals, there are really none.

Maybe with a bit more time, they could actually have found some new "music lines", who knows?

Ok ! It is not bad, but it just reinforces the quiet well established Brian Eno's "sonic" discoveries. Like his endeavors with Daniel Lanois and U2's electric guitar "fast-droning" sound, in their 'Joshua Tree's" (1987) record, as sound engineers and collaborators (i,e. track one "Return" ). I suppose it is focused more for Underworld's not-knowledgeable of his existence audiences, than for more aquainted with his work followers .

Anyway, this effort in fact should have been the "Someday's World's" bonus disc, and that release, a one disc release! As such, it all seems quiet greedy, therefore deceiving and somehow dissapointing!

***3 flat PA stars. (The five star song, because there is one, is "Cells & Bells", track 6.)

PD. The PA's guy who labels "First Review of This Album", somehow always misses mine, but this is that!

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 Ambient 4 : On Land by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.01 | 137 ratings

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Ambient 4 : On Land
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Without question this is my favourite Brian Eno Electronic album. All eight tracks are dark and atmospheric with a lot of attention to detail from Mr. Eno. Headphone music at it's best as we drift along in this spacey and haunting trip. TANGERINE DREAM's "Zeit" is maybe a good comparison although this isn't as sparse or as long a journey as what the Germans created some ten years earlier.

I can't really pick out a favourite track as this album really seems like your listening to one long suite even though each song is slightly different, the mood though isn't. Again I love the attention to detail as we hear these sounds that are often manipulated or processed in one way or another while the dark atmosphere floats and shimmers constantly. I just can't give anything less than 5 stars for this innovative and very interesting series of soundscapes. This is one of my favourite Electronic albums of all time.

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 Someday World (With Karl Hyde) by ENO, BRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.10 | 13 ratings

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Someday World (With Karl Hyde)
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars A futuristic retrospective.

Inevitably Brian Eno and Karl Hyde (half of "Underworld", a progressive dance/trance duo, not included here in PA, because you can dance to it, I suppose), recorded an album together. Inevitably due to the later spontaneous collaborations, both musicians have had in the past 3 years (give n' take). All of these encounters were brief and reduced to the use of Eno's studio in a recording of an Underworld's track and a recorded song between the 3 musicians (Rick Smith the other half of UW). The song in question appears in UW's "Athens" a tribute album to their influences and mentors.

Ok enough with the history lesson. "SOMEDAY WORLD" this 2014 project, has a distintive, up-front and shameless vision of the 70-80's synth-pop territories (from Devo, to Ultravox, to O.M.D. to Gary Numan to Shankar & Caroline, and the whole scope in between).

It blends the playful spirit of Eno's early, elegantly "silly-like" melodies , (without the early, raw experimentation), with Hyde's deeper yet still plenty of fun song writing. The outcome is a very well balanced exchange of styles, influences and personal findings. The virtues of each musician are enhanced by the other's talents, a perfect match!

Unpretentious all in all, it relies mostly on its mutual, exceptional and fresh song writing approach and results, and its perfect-pitch studio-engineering. (Both are extraordinary sound engineers in their respective fields).

So there is a bit of Eno and a bit of Hyde respectfully disposed. A bit of "Here Come the Warm Jets" & "Before and After Science" like songs & the later vocal songs of "Another Day on Earth", with Hyde's solo project "Edgeland" like songs, and a subtle touch of UW's ELECTRONIC-dance/trance legacy.

To close things down, not for all prog audiophiles (as P/E usually is), it is more for those who enjoy one of this sub-genre's masterminds. And a must if you also follow UW.

****4 Progressive/Electronic, PA stars.

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 Curiosities Vol. 2 by ENO, BRIAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
3.44 | 3 ratings

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Curiosities Vol. 2
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The next set of assorted outtakes, dead-ends, and other sonic flotsam from the studio dustbin of Brian Eno continues more or less where "Volume 1' left off, in the spirit of his famous set of oracle cards presenting a dozen oblique strategies and worthwhile musical dilemmas. But keep in mind these are second-round draft picks, and may not have the immediate appeal of the first edition.

At their best the selections resemble instrumental backing tracks from an unfinished song project ('Watch the World' needs only a few verses to complete it), or another chapter in the author's periodic 'Music for Films' cycle, minus only whatever passes for celluloid these days. Now in his mid- sixties, Eno remains an artist who insists, first and foremost, that every sound he generates has to be interesting, even when consigned to his discard pile. This collection is no different, although it may help to have an ear for ambient music: the set grows quieter as it continues, reaching an arctic climax in the aptly named ten-minute drift study 'Fields of Ice'.

The inner sleeve of the CD includes a long list of 'future curiosities', at this date already long overdue. The first two installments in the series were released within a year of each other, but the project seems to be stalled, with no further entries in the decade since then. Maybe someday we'll be able to hear exactly what inspired such evocative titles like 'Drums with Quack', or 'Sordid Purple Death Sausage', or (a personal favorite) 'Ten Undervalued Female Assets'. Until then, do what Eno himself so often does, and use your imagination.

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 Curiosities, Vol. 1 by ENO, BRIAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Curiosities, Vol. 1
Brian Eno Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm not sure how much input, if any, Eno himself had in this collection, beyond the artwork and layout (and obviously the music). The set was "researched and compiled" by his technical assistant Marlon Weyeneth, as the first in a promised series of "unreleased, unrealistic, and unfinished" scraps left on the floor of the Eno lab. But the album certainly meets his ideals of chance, hazard, and spontaneous design, the latter not an oxymoron in Brian Eno's musical universe.

And humor, too. You only have to look at the track names ("Slow Lump With Strings"; "Select a Bonk") to appreciate the very human, very quirky mind behind the recording equipment. Some of these samples must have prompted a lot of uncontrolled giggling in the engineer's booth, even a wistful tune like "My Lonely Organ", a sad title from an artist who once described himself as "an onanist" (it's actually an unaccompanied keyboard solo).

These aren't really compositions in the traditional sense, but more like stray thoughts and casual doodles: sounds or rhythms stumbled across in passing, quickly explored, and easily discarded. All of them are fairly short (only two break the five-minute mark), and most are instrumental, although a few contain weirdly processed vocals, almost like parodies of the ironic pop tunes from Eno's precocious, post-ROXY MUSIC adolescence. In songs like "War Fetish" and (in particular) "Draw One Animal", it sounds like Eno got his machines drunk on absinthe and recorded the dipsomaniacal results (after taking a few swigs himself).

Some of the pieces are purely atmospheric; others are more beat-driven; all of them offer fascinating glimpses into a unique creative intelligence. They may have been thrown away in the studio, but these aren't throwaway efforts: the pin-trumpet sustain of ROBERT FRIPP's guitar even appears, in the album finale "Manila Folder".

Expect a generous plate of ambient noodles, electro-funk appetizers, primordial soup, and assorted alien cocktails...but no main course, this being strictly a doggy bag of leftovers. The title of the series was chosen well. But if you think about it, Eno's entire career has been a curiosity.

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