Re-Thinking Brian Eno

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Brian Eno‘s recent comments about Israel are forcing me to reevaluate my support of one of my favorite artist/producers. My introduction to his music and philosophies about ten years later was through the Talking Heads albums he produced. I have been an ardent fan since, but the following political statements have forced me to question my fandom. In the upper reaches of my personal chart, the artists seem like good people too. I have not written off the great artist, but Eno’s political views present a few questions I’m thinking about.

Eno’s speech against Israel

Eno’s spiels enhanced reception of his ambient music especially, which appeared simple on the surface but had a strong ethical foundation as well as serious musicianship. In fact, Brian Eno’s words inspired me to pursue a career in music, when he told Musician magazine (long gone) that just because some types of work seem easy and fun doesn’t make them less valuable endeavors, it just shows you are more suited to them. (They asked why he wasn’t making rock albums.)

“U2 build from their strengths as well as their limitations and that’s a very strong principle.” – typical Eno quote taken from the Unforgettable Fire documentary which I recently saw again. He had the ability to add to the listener’s understanding of music and expand our consciousness. People make mistakes and Eno himself is all about “serendipity.” I hope he re-thinks his position, because ripping on Israel is one hell of an oblique strategy to me! And coincidentally, his former partner in Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, is releasing his first album since making positive remarks about Leni Reifenstahl’s films about Hitler.

Eno’s new album, Small Craft on a Milk Sea (with John Hopkins and Leo Abrahams) has just hit his elegant website with three song samples. It has been interesting to see how the man has responded to the ups and downs of the music business and technology over the years, but in this case, he and Warp Records seem to be mostly interested in creating a “coffee table” cd package.

What’s surprising is not Eno’s sense of humor (you’d have to have one locked in a room with people for months), but that he displays his awards and even a Grammy in the background. And those aren’t just any awards, they are actually for GOOD albums.

“Destroy – nothing – the most important thing.” – Oblique Strategy card chosen randomly just now.

Eno also participated in a recent Rolex promotion that involved having a protege/mentor relationship with Ben Frost, a young musician. To follow the results, click here. I’m not surprised the Swiss don’t care about his politics.

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