Brian Eno – patron introwertyków, twórca ambientu, jeden z najważniejszych – jeśli nie najważniejszy producent XX wieku, w tym tygodniu obchodził urodziny (dokładnie 15 maja). Mimo kluczowej roli w stworzeniu brzmienia współczesnej muzyki nadal jest wiele osób, które nie znają dokonań człowieka, który ze studia uczynił swój główny instrument. Aby przybliżyć muzyczne dokonania Brytyjczyka zapraszam na dedykowane serwisy. Na Spotify znajdziecie najważniejszy dorobek Eno – od psych-glam-rockowych początków w latach 70-tych, gdy grał w Roxy Music, przez wymyślenie ambientu, stworzenie z Bowiem legendarnej trylogii berlińskiej i brzmienia trzech największych albumów Talking Heads, aż współczesne eksperymenty z muzyką generatywną, tworzoną pod aplikacje, które za każdym odsłuchem nieco zmieniają utwór). Tu natomiast zapraszam do bliższego poznania artysty, który jest również świetny w wywiady i odpowiednio podprowadzony (nie cierpi rozmawiać o przeszłości – zwłaszcza o Bowiem – on chce rozmawiać o ideach!) ujawnia imponującą wiedzę, dziecięcą ciekawość i zupełnie unikalne poglądy na każdy temat. Najlepszego, mistrzu!
‚On Some Faraway Beach’. – it wasn’t only inspired – all the words to that occurred in the dream.
I find the dreams are always much more brilliant in their construction than anything I consciously think of. On that particular one, I just woke up with all these words in my head and I wrote them straight down in the dark. When writing from dreams, you don’t feel any responsibility for what you do, which is important to me.
2. O tekstach piosenek (1974)
Another way I write lyrics is to get the backing track down and then play it with a cassette near by and, as it’s playing, I start singing anything to it – like ‚ba-do-de-be-de-n-do-day’. And I do that a lot until I finally end up with a version in scat singing. Then I listen to that again and again until eventually I don’t hear it as nonsense anymore and I start hearing words. Then I write them out and they become the words to the song. I find it absolutely impossible to sit down without music and write lyrics because basically I haven’t got anything to say in a direct way like that. The actual musical context of a song is always so much more expressive than the words are. Lyrics in songs, in nearly 80% of cases, actually make the song less interesting
3. O pornografii (1974)
It’s a burning shame that most people want to keep pornography under cover when it’s such a highly developed art form – which is one of the reasons that I started collecting pornographic playing cards. I’ve got about 50 packs which feature on all my record covers for the astute observer.
There’s something about pornography which has a similarity to rock music. A pornographic photographer aims his camera absolutely directly, at the centre of sexual attention. He’s not interested in the environment of the room.
4. O tworzeniu (1974)
A lot of people are just interested in doing it and if it’s going to sell – you know, once they get it to the point where they know it’s alright, then it’s alright. I think it’s much more important to take it as far as you can possibly go. It doesn’t matter if you’re out at the studio for two months and you’re a wreck and you’re a vegetable and you can’t talk to anybody, if you’ve achieved something. I think it’s really necessary to push yourself that far.
Look closely at the most embarrassing details, and amplify them, – What I meant is that the most embarrassing aspects of the things you do are normally the ones that are most interesting in the long run. The places where you are exposed, where you feel uncertainty are the places where you are normally doing something that’s quite innovative for you – or where you’ve uncovered an aspect of yourself that you previously managed to hide, perhaps.
I know a lot of people think that I’m trying to elevate rock into the Fine Arts, sort of taking it away from what it is, something that people enjoy as a widespread social-tribal activity, into being haute culture. Well, in fact I’m actually more interested in doing the opposite. I’m more interested in relegating the Fine Arts from their sanctified position into something that people enjoy doing and seeing, something which forms a part of their social behaviour and social discourse – in the way that, say, painting doesn’t at the moment. Painting isn’t an art for people now in the way that rock music is.
7. O byciu muzykiem (1979)
I’m not a musician.
It was a case of taking a position deliberately in opposition to another one. I don’t say it much anymore, but I said it when I said it because there was such an implicit and tacit belief that virtuosity was the sine qua non of music and there was no other way of approaching it. And that seemed to be so transparently false in terms of rock music in particular. I thought that it was well worth saying, ‚Whatever I’m doing, it’s not that,’ and I thought the best way to say that was to say, Look, I’m a nonmusician. If you like what I do, it stands in defiance to that.
8. O wiedzy muzycznej (1979)
One of the interesting things about having little musical knowledge is that you generate surprising results sometimes; you move to places which you wouldn’t do if you knew better, and sometimes that’s just what you need. Most of those melodies are me trying to find out what notes fit, and then hitting ones that don’t fit in a very interesting way.
9. O tekstach piosenek (1979)
David Byrne said to me the other day: ‚Sometimes I write something that I really can’t understand, and that’s what excites me.’ I felt such a sympathy with that position.
10. O tworzeniu (1979)
Nearly all the things I do that are of any merit at all start off all just being good fun, and, I think, um, I’m sort of building up to doing something else quite soon.
11. O „On Land” (1982) (jeden z jego najlepszych ambientowych albumów)
My reputation is far bigger than my sales. I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. The sales have picked up in the past few years, but I mean, that record was such an important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band! So I console myself thinking that some things generate their rewards in a second-hand way.
12. O wyborze drogi (1982)
I struggled for a long time at art college about whether I become a pop musician or whether I become a painter, a fine artist. I really loved things in both of those fields. And then, one of the things the Velvet Underground made me realize, was that actually, they could be the same thing.
13. O innowacjach w sztuce (1982)
It’s like calling someone up and saying, „Look, next Friday we’re going to get together and have a really interesting conversation. Really brilliant now, we’re going to think some really new things!” Then you call a few days later and say, „Don’t forget Friday, this conversation is going to be really interesting.” You build this up and by the time Friday comes of course you’re tongue tied because you daren’t say anything that’s clumsy or familiar. You daren’t do any of the things that are likely to open you up into a new area. New ideas are nearly always slight shifts of things that are already very familiar to you.
14. O przestrzeni (1982)
When I bought my loft in New York, it was large enough to build a large studio and my first feeling was, „Oh, good, now I can have a big room to work in.” Then I thought about it and realized that I actually like small spaces. I can keep a small space tidy and well organized, whereas in a bigger space I end up with heaps of unfinished things sitting in corners and the room loses its quality of being purposeful. So I thought, „There’s three things I need in this city; silence and darkness, and this room I can make totally dark and nearly silent.” The other thing I wanted was to be able to make noise that nobody else could hear. That’s quite important as I hate thinking that people are listening to me make a fool of myself.
I would say the first step–having a solid idea and commitment to begin with. So much of the music I hear has all the right ingredients but none of the soul. The solid idea, the beginning, is soul of some kind. It’s believing that working in this medium will benefit you spiritually and will somehow free a part of your spirit that is otherwise locked up because it can’t find a convenient place to exit in the normal, day-to-day world. I guess it’s what people call conviction. If you have that, you can work with any set of ingredients no matter how rubbishy they are. […] What I hear with so many of the new English synthesizer bands is all the ingredients for contemporary pop respectability. You can check them off: use of the studio in a „creative” way, electronics, modern rhythms, clean productions, slightly meaningful lyrics, correct haircuts, the right ideological stance–the whole bag of bananas. They have all that stuff but they miss because they don’t convey any sense that doing music is really critical to their lives.
16. O pracy w studiu (1982)
This is one of the major problems with contemporary rock records. Studio technology allows people to work with a kind of semi-commitment because they know they can erase their mistakes and try again. That’s all very well but what makes live recordings and old records, where they didn’t have that option, so exciting is the feeling that that person was actually on the line when they did it. That’s a kind of spiritual quality you can’t quantify but I’m convinced you hear it in music and see it in films when it’s there. In listening to the music that I love I’ve come to realize that the common thread that runs through it is the fact that at the moment these people made these noises, that was their reality. They weren’t thinking I can do it again later or fiddle with it in the mix. This was it, this was the moment for them, and that sense that the thing was real when it was being made is what communicates in a piece of work.
17. O inspiracjach (1982)
My idea right now is rather than trying to absorb everything, which is an impossible, tiring and rewardless task, to concentrate on fewer and fewer things. For the past few months I’ve been playing the same three records: gospel music and a record of an Arabic man singing the Koran.
18. O chodzeniu (1982)
I like walking and I walk a lot in New York because when I’m walking I can sort of take over and think in a nice slow way. But I also have to look at everything that passes. I wish I weren’t so fascinated by every little phenomenon that comes my way.
19. O ambiencie (1983)
People are frightened of the idea of background music. They think it’s not serious if you call it that.
20. O instrumentach (1984)
Since my work is so dependent on studios and since it couldn’t exist without them, you know it’s not the kind of thing that could be done in some other way – it’s work which is really born of a studio like a piano concerto is born of a piano. And my work is born from whichever studio I happen to be working in… normally I turn up at a studio without any instruments at all (laughs) and I just start using what’s lying around.
21. O studiu (1984)
I’m interested in digital recording for the most boring technical reason, which is that a lot of my music is very quiet and the lack of background hiss you get in a digital studio set-up really makes quite a big difference.
22. O szukaniu mieszkania (1985)
I can’t do simple things like finding a flat. I just don’t seem to be able to focus on those kinds of things so a lot of my time is spent in less than ideal conditions.
23. O wywiadach (1985)
The class one things are really interesting, the class two things are fairly interesting, and the class three things are boring as Hell. People always publish none of the class one things, a few of the class two things, but all of the class three things.
24. O small talkach (1985)
If people ask me, if I’m on a bus or something, I say I’m an artist. That way they don’t ask any further questions. If you say you’re a musician, they say, „Oooh, do you play with a group?”, and I can’t stand those conversations. I often invent occupations. If I don’t feel like talking, I’ll just say something like „import and export”, and that stops people dead. They don’t question you further about what you do, because it sounds so unbelievably boring. „Artist” is like that. It’s the truth, but it sounds boring.
25. O celu jego sztuki (1985)
I want to make things that put me in the position of innocence, that recreate the feeling of innocence in you.
It always seems unlikely that what I end up with has come from the process it has. I use a lot of very cold processes. They seem rather passionless if you describe them, but I think of them as… It’s the same as when you’re growing a garden. There’s a routine part of that. You’ve just got to water it every day, or whatever you have to do, and it’s not particularly glamorous or amazing or cosmic, you just do it. Gardening is an accretion of several processes like that.
And then suddenly, these flowers come out, and they are surprisingly beautiful and complex. What you’ve done is partake in a process, you haven’t really controlled the process… you didn’t make the flower. To see that happen always fascinates me.
27. O przegrywaniu (1985)
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard something that Samuel Becket wrote. In that book, Westward Ho!, he says, „Try again, fail again, fail better.” That’s about the state of it I think. It’s not a case of expecting to make a perfect piece of work, it’s expecting to make a better failure than you did last time.
28. O bałaganie (1985)
I really begin by allowing myself to make a mess, and then seeing if I can get out of it. There’s nothing worse than a „blank canvas”. Picasso said there’s nothing worse than a brilliant beginning, and that’s true. If your first move is brilliant, you’re in trouble. You don’t really know how to follow it; you’re frightened of ruining it. So to make a mess is a good beginning – and I’m quite good at doing that.
29. O The Smiths (1985)
I rather like them, The Smiths. I think they’re a good band. I think Morrissey is an extraordinarily arrogant person, especially considering that he’s probably the most successful tone-deaf singer the world has ever knows. But that being said, I like his singing quite a lot, and I like their records. I could live without some of his studied miserableness, I suppose.
30. O słuchaniu muzyki (1985)
I don’t have a record player, funnily enough. I think life’s too short to listen to records, at the moment. Well, I do listen to some things, but I usually like to listen to the same thing over and over for months.
I’m quite happy to accept that I don’t know most of what’s going on in the world of music. I never have done. You have a choice when you get interested in culture., You have a choice of trying to absorb it all, the American style of „doing the sights” in two days, or else you can just decide: „I’ll stay in this one place, because I like it here anyway, and I’ll really understand this. I’ll really find out about it.” That’s what I do.
31. O turystyce (1985)
Just to sit in one place and to soak up the atmosphere of that place… I mean, all spots have the same atmosphere at a given location, and somehow I think tourist sights have been robbed of their atmosphere by being tourist sights. It’s as if taking too many photographs of something eventually makes it become unreal, become an image of itself. So I like, with music and with everything else, to stay in the same place for a long time… until I feel like moving somewhere else, then I stay there for a long time.
32. O wywiadach (1985)
Well, actually I don’t particularly like talking about myself. I’m not that interesting to me, because I live with me all the time. So there’s no glamour in me for me. But I like talking about ideas. I find them terribly interesting.
33. O rzemiośle (1985)
Craft is what enables you to be successful when you’re not inspired.
34. O narzędziach (1985)
I like simple instruments, I always have. I’ve always used very simple synthesizers actually, and I prefer them because I don’t particularly care to be faced with limitless possibilities. I prefer a slightly more constrained situation
35. O technologii (1985)
I think that one of the most interesting ways to approach any technology is not to read the handbook, and to maintain that mental attitude of not reading the handbook. Now, I use that as a kind of metaphor for an approach; of course you can read the handbook.
36. O duchowości (1985)
I think the Western male is a very unspiritual creature. He’s been told to be unspiritual. The nadir of the unspiritual human being is where, first of all, two things are important in the world view; that’s the ‚me generation’ type of feeling; and the other is that you have the capacity to completely control [things]. Now, any kind of spiritual life that I’m interested in leads me further and further away from either of those notions. I can’t see myself being at the centre of anything, really. I’m part of a network of things: they affect me and I affect them, and they are so closely interconnected that the second notion, the notion of being in control of them, is completely absurd as well.
37. O praktyce duchowej (1985)
I’ve more and more developed my feeling for music. The reason I can’t stop it is because it’s the place that I can use to work things out in, that’s all. It’s my practice. Like other people have practices of various kinds, and for some it’s a formal, religious practice if you like. For me it happens to be music
One of the consistent directions I’ve had for the last few years is toward a kind of music that was more and more to do with a sense of place and with a sense of some kind of psychic environment that one might choose to find oneself in. And it was also to do with the quality of feeling alone in a place. It’s a quality that I like very, very much and it’s a feeling I enjoy when I find it in music.
39. O samotności (1985)
I’m fairly solitary, I suppose. I really don’t stay in touch with anyone very much. I sit at home most of the time so I never get in touch with anyone, except for a couple of close friends, unless I have something particular to propose to them.
40. O tekstach w piosenkach (1985)
One of the difficulties with singing, or with having lyrics, is that, as soon as you do that, there’s another person in the piece. So the listener is not alone in that piece of music, he’s watching the performance of a personality. I felt more and more that I wanted to make music where the listener became that person in the piece, where they weren’t told where to go.
41. O występach na żywo (1985)
First of all, I really don’t have many talents that are particularly geared to performing live. And the other thing is that most of the work I’ve been doing is really recorded work. It’s to do with the studio and to do with somebody listening to it in their own place.
42. O pracy w studiu (1985)
The studio is a place where music is made. Forget about high fidelity, forget about anything, think about sound. It’s a place for developing texture, and texture is the thing that pop music has given to music more than any other innovation. This is something you really couldn’t play with very much before the recording studio. It was like having a paint box where you could never mix the colours very much. Now you’re in a position where you can design your own colours, musically. Which is an amazing breakthrough, it makes it a new art form, actually.
43. O muzyce i malarstwie (1985)
You’re working directly with sound, and there’s no transmission loss between you and the sound – you handle it. It puts the composer in the identical position of the painter – working directly with a material, working directly onto a substance, and he always retains the options to chop and change, to paint a bit out, add a piece, etc.
44. O Mozarcie (1985)
I agree with Salieri in the film Amadeus, who said, „Too many notes”
45. O drodze artystycznej (1985)
I’d gone from making very loud, intricate, witty sorts of things, with anagrams and funny references to other pop records and little pop versions of Duchampian tricks and so on, into this music that had people in general saying, „Oh well, he’s gone soft.” I was really moving into a kind of landscape sensibility of music, the idea being that one is listening to a body of sound presented as being in a particular type of space, a location of some sort.
46. O pejzażach (1985)
An aspect of this landscape concern is to do with the removal of personality from the picture. You know how different a landscape painting is when there is a figure in it. Even if the figure is small, it automatically becomes the focus — all questions of scale and depth are related to it. When I stopped writing songs I took the figure out of the landscape.
47. O muzyce i malarstwie (1985)
In the early 20th century painters were saying that they wanted their work to be like music, to have the freedom to be as abstract as music. Now what’s interesting to me is that music can actually be like painting — figurative, landscape
One thing it can do is give us an instant sense of location. When I was traveling a lot, I used to carry four or five cassettes that I knew could reliably produce a certain condition for me. If I wanted to write letters, I’d put one particular cassette on, and that piece of music would make the letter-writing space for me. That would be for serious letters – you know, letters to friends and others in which I wanted to really think about things. if I wanted to do a business letter there’d be another tape for that – Aretha Franklin, or something „up” that would keep me busy writing. I realized while I was living this nomadic life, the one thing that was really keeping me in place, or giving me a sense of place, was music.
I’d like people to have the expectations of music that they presently have of painting. If a painting is hanging on a wall where we live, we don’t feel that we’re missing something by not paying attention to it. It’s just there — probably we’ll look at it a little today, and probably tomorrow again. It’s a sort of continuous part of the environment. These are the kind of expectations we have of paintings.
50. O minimalizmie (1985)
Minimalism is an approach to working that became a rigid esthetic; it came to mean something geometrical, hard, and colorless. There’s no reason that “minimalism” should mean that. It’s a way of doing things, a decision to see what can be achieved by reducing rather than by adding. Both the music and the video in my pieces are made by allowing a small number of elements to recombine in a large number of ways. I’m happy to admit that Steve Reich’s music showed me something.
51. O popie (1985)
In pop nobody has any embarrassment about copying. In fact, that’s how it works: „That’s a good sound. How do we do that?” They don’t chuck one sound out to take another. They let it in. When I’m producing someone’s record, sometimes they’ll come into a studio with a record and say, „Hear that bass drum sound, that’s what I want” … that kind of thing. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
52. O Reichu (1985)
Reich’s idea was to use a technology designed for faithful and consistent reproduction as a means of constantly generating variety.
53. O słuchu (1985)
One of the interesting things about ears is that they work in the same way as a frog’s eye works. There’s an essay called “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain” by Warren McCulloch, who discovered that a frog’s eyes don’t work like ours. Ours are always moving: we blink. We scan. We move our heads. But a frog fixes its eyes on a scene and leaves them there. It stops seeing all the static parts of the environment, which become invisible, but as soon as one element moves, which could be what it wants to eat — the fly — it is seen in very high contrast to the rest of the environment. It’s the only thing the frog sees and the tongue comes out and takes it.
54. O sztuce (1985)
I remember first seeing a Mondrian painting when I was nine. It was the very first picture that really affected me. […]I don’t just want to see a good idea or a clever use of materials. One of the motives for being an artist is to recreate a condition where you’re actually out of your depth, where you’re uncertain, no longer controlling yourself, yet you’re generating something, like surfing as opposed to digging a tunnel. Tunnel-digging activity is necessary activity, but what artists like, if they still like what they’re doing, is the surfing.
55. O popie (1986)
Musicologists who say that everything pop musicians are doing was really known by about 1820 may be correct in terms of compositions written down on paper, but they ignore where the true innovation is taking place. The interest today isn’t in developing serial music or polyphony or anything like that. It is in constantly dealing with new textures. One of the interesting things about pop music is that you can quite often identify a record from a fifth of a second of it. You hear the briefest snatch of sound and know, „Oh, that’s ‚Good Vibrations,’ ” or whatever. A fact of almost any successful pop record is that its sound is more of a characteristic than its melody or its chord structure or anything else. The sound is the thing that you recognize.
My thinking about ambient music is traceable to one incident. I had an accident — I was hit by a taxi and I couldn’t move. I was in bed for a while recovering, and at the end of a visitor’s stay I said, „As you’re leaving can you put a record on for me.” My friend put on a record she’d just brought me of virtuoso harp music from the 18th century. My stereo was a bit rough at the time. Only one speaker was working, and the volume was down so low I could hardly hear the sound. It was raining outside and I thought, „How annoying, I can’t hear it” But I couldn’t switch it off. I just had to wait till it played through. As I was lying there listening to the rain I could just hear the loudest moments, just single notes every so often, or little flurries of notes. I started to think that it sounded all right — it was really nice to listen to — and I wondered why no music like this existed. Why couldn’t we buy records that made this beautiful random mixture of things like the raindrops, with little flurries of things within it like icebergs? Listening, I had the sense of hearing the tip of something, and the knowledge that there was more beneath it. And I wanted my music to do this. It was immediately after this, in 1975, that I recorded Discreet Music, the first of my records conceived as Ambient music.
57. O teksturze dźwięku (1986)
I begin to hear sound as the texture of an environment, to want a sense of a distant horizon that couldn’t be heard, and elements that were out of earshot. Quite often people tell me, „You’ve made a big move from being a pop musician. You don’t do anything like that any more.” In a sense that’s true, but in another way what I’ve done focuses on what I believe to be the key issue in pop music. I’ve left out the tunes, the chord patterns, the beats, and so on, in order to deal with texture — the one innovation that really characterizes this period of music.
58. O Hendriksie (1988)
Hendrix was a musician who understood the system that he was dealing with. And the system wasn’t just six strings. It was six strings, some electronics, an amplifier, some big speakers, an auditorium, a public, and the accumulated resonance of pop music up til that time.
I thought, how ridiculous that this particular … pisspot gets carried around the world at—it costs about thirty or forty thousand dollars to insure it every time it travels. I thought, How absolutely stupid, the whole message of this work is, “You can take any object and put it in a gallery.” It doesn’t have to be that one, that’s losing the point completely. And this seemed to me an example of the art world once again covering itself by drawing a fence around that thing, saying, “This isn’t just any ordinary piss pot, this is THE one, the special one, the one that is worth all this money.
So I thought, somebody should piss in that thing, to sort of bring it back to where it belonged. So I decided it had to be me.
60. O kulturze (1993)
culture is the way that we constantly rehearse this process of being able to understand other world pictures, being able to be other identities for a while.
61. O wierze (1995)
Well, I’m an atheist, and the concept of god for me is all part of what I call the last illusion. The last illusion is someone knows what is going on. That’s the last illusion. Nearly everyone has that illusion somewhere, and it manifests not only in the terms of the idea that there is a god but that knows what’s going on but that the planets know what’s going on. Astrology is part of the last illusion. The obsession with health is part of the last illusion, the idea that there’s that if only we could spend time on it and sit down and stop being unreasonable with each other we’d all find that there was a structure and a solution underlying plan to it all, for most people the short answer to that is God.
62. O karierze (2016)
Nie myślę też za wiele o mojej ‚karierze’, o moim publicznym wizerunku. I wcale nie chodzi tu o skromność. Chodzi o znudzenie samym sobą. Znudzenie myśleniem o sobie, czytaniem o sobie, słuchaniem o sobie. Nie mam do tego cierpliwości.
63. O słuchaniu muzyki (2017)
I don’t listen to that much music that isn’t mine; the only problem with being a composer is you don’t get to listen to very much music.
64. O ambiencie (2017)
It’s interesting what part of ambient they took as being the center of it. For me, the central idea was about music as a place you go to. Not a narrative, not a sequence that has some sort of teleological direction to it—verse, chorus, this, that, and the other. It’s really based on abstract expressionism: Instead of the picture being a structured perspective, where your eye is expected to go in certain directions, it’s a field, and you wander sonically over the field. And it’s a field that is deliberately devoid of personalities, because if there’s a personality there, that’s who you’ll follow. So there’s not somebody in that field leading you around; you find your own way.
65. O społeczeństwie (2017)
It is possible to have a society that doesn’t have pre-existing rules and structures. And you can use the social structures of bands, theatre groups, dance groups, all the things we now call culture. You can say: ‘Well, it works here. Why shouldn’t it work elsewhere?
I think generally playing live is a crap idea. So much of stage work is the presentation of personality, and I’ve never been interested in that
I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness, and a better sense of humor.
It’s pathetic. Classical music in Europe is pathetic. It’s like yards of wall-to-wall carpeting.
A big ego means that you have some confidence in your abilities, really, and that you’re prepared to take the risk of trying them out.
I’ve got a feeling that music might not be the most interesting place to be in the world of things.