Friday, May 30, 2008

Brian Eno

I'm really excited about Coldplay's new album "Viva La Vida." First reviews of it are really positive, saying it has the melodic beautiful rock and falsetto that Coldplay has made acceptable for living room loungin' or arena festivals. But what has me really excited is that it's produced by Brian Eno - the "father" of modern ambient music.

Eno started out in a glam rock band called Roxy Music in the 70's that didn't really go anywhere. He took his synthesizer and keyboard and started releasing solo work, both artfully and commercially, releasing albums such as "Music for Airports" that, well, was a soundscape for airports and other commercial settings. Eno has produced work with Paul Simon, Devo, David Bowie, U2, and now Coldplay, among many others.

His fluid ambient wasn't just elevator music, it was, as he puts it, music that "must accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting." (1978) To me that sums up the beauty of true ambient - you can fall into it as deep as you want, or you can use it as soundtrack for everyday life.

We've all heard his contributions to music, commercials, movies, even cell phones (Nokia released a limited edition Eno phone in 2007 that featured his music). One of his most famous compositions is "An Ending (Ascent)" from his 1982 "Apollo" album. This track has been sampled in countless house and techno remixes, but the original is true ambient, so beautiful...

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