EOld ENews

The stories that hit our admittedly parochial headlines in 1997

Brian contributes to Robert Wyatt's excellent new album Shleep, which has garnered rave reviews everywhere the EnoWeb looks (and was declared the best rock album of 1997 by The Independent). Brian arranged the track "Heaps of Sheeps", on which he also sings and plays synth. He plays synth on two other tracks as well. Buy it, if not for Brian's input then for Wyatt's virtuoso performances. In the UK it's on Hannibal Records, a Rykodisc label, HNCD 1418. In the US it is scheduled for release in early 1998 on the Thirsty Ear label. More information about Robert can be found here.

The Bowie-Eno track "I'm Afraid Of Americans" from EARTHLING was released as a single on 14th October 1997 in Ye Unyted Staytes. The single includes five mixes by Nine Inch Nails and one by Photek.

Brian appeared live on stage with U2 to sing "Miss Sarajevo" at the supergroup's concert in Sarajevo on 23rd September 1997. The concert was recorded, so if it hasn't been broadcast in your area yet you may get lucky and hear this unique live rendition yourself.

The September 1997 issue of ICE magazine (you can subscribe from the ICE Magazine site) reports that the soundtrack from the Wim Wenders film The End Of Violence includes the song "You May Feel Me Crying" -- a collaboration between the late Roy Orbison and Brian Eno. The vocals were recorded by Roy Orbison in 1987 but never released; now, ten years later, Brian has completed the song. The soundtrack album, The End Of Violence: Songs From The Motion Picture, was released on the Outpost Records label (a subsidiary of Geffen) on 9th September 1997 in the U.S. and is also available in the U.K. Watch out, though, because there are two albums related to the film -- the other one's entirely by Ry Cooder.

An 11-track tribute album entitled A Tribute To The Music & Works Of Brian Eno was released on 29th July 1997 -- by Various Artists excluding Brian but including Controlled Bleeding, Surface 10 and Chrome. The album is on the Hypnotic label, part of the Cleopatra Labels Group and is priced around $14.98 [Catalog(ue) number CLP 0016-2]. Tracks include "Becalmed", "Here Come The Warm Jets" and "An Ending".

Brian contributed to the Meltdown Festival in London in June & July 1997. As far as the EnoWeb can make out, he took part in 100 Violins on 22nd June and the final gala concert in aid of War Child on 5th July. He stayed put in St Petersburg, and so his appearances were probably via the exciting new-fangled technology pioneered by Mr Alexander Graham Bell. More information may possibly appear at the Meltdown web site and there was detailed information at the Royal Festival Hall web site.

While he was resident in St Petersburg, during 1997, Brian wrote an occasional column for The Observer newspaper.

B5 records - an independent record company with a fine name founded by John Taylor and Hein Hoven - is about to release a tribute album of Roxy Music covers. They tell us that they have samples of the tracks here.

Brian was one of the interviewees in "Art goes Pop, Pop goes Art", a programme presented by Ian Dury exploring "the explosion of talent that came from British art schools in the sixties". The programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 at 23:00 on Sunday 3rd August.

Stewart Brand's BBC2 television series, How Buildings Learn, featured music by Brian - some tracks from The Drop, others apparently new. The 6-part half-hour programmes were broadcast in the UK on Thursdays.

On 6th April 1997, Brian launched Advent Millennium, a calendar that counts down the days until the year 2000. All proceeds go to War Child, the charity which works with child victims of war. Take a look at our page about the calendar - you can see some of the striking pictures that appear in it, and get full UK and international ordering information, here.

Other Enews stories

The Bernard Butler Website reports that Bernard Butler has played on covers of "Baby's on Fire" and three Roxy Music songs ("2HB", "Ladytron" & "Bittersweet") forVelvet Goldmine, a film starring Ewan McGregor set in the glam New York of the '70's.

Brian has re-mixed a track by Can for a record called Sacrilege which was released in early May by Mute Records. It's a remix of "Pnoom" from Cannibalism 2, lasts 57 seconds, and is in the Drop Music style. Other remixes are provided by A Guy Called Gerald, Francois Kevorkian, Sonic Youth and The Orb, amongst others. (Thanks to Bommel, Richard Joly & Nerve Net for additional information).

David Bowie's album EART HL I NG includes the track "I'm Afraid of Americans", co-written by Brian. The album is on the BMG label in Europe (7432144944 2).

Brian has moved to St Petersburg. Mojo reports him as saying: " I feel like living somewhere else for a while. Since London is now the hippest city in the world, I thought I'd get out for a bit." A bit of what, the EnoWeb would like to know... Apparently Brian lives in fear of becoming a comfortable celebrity but thinks there's less chance of this in St Petersburg. He never stays in one place for long; in fact, one might reasonably suggest that wherever he lays his hat, that's his home.

Brian has remixed the 808state's single Lopez (Metaphorically). The single features James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) on vocals, and was co-written by Nicky Wire (also from the Manic Street Preachers). The running time of Eno's mix is 6:23. There are also mixes from The Propellerheads and 808state. Released on ZTT records, the single is currently only available in the UK, and at the risk of some eye-strain I can make out "ZANG87CD/0630-17584-2" on the sleeve. There's also a promo version of this CD which only has a 3:50 version of Eno's mix on it - "ZANG87CDDJ".

Philip Glass' "Heroes" Symphony is out on the Point Music label (454-388-2). It's like a combination of Glass' Low Symphony and Mishima.

There are strong grounds for optimism that Brian's one-off "White Light/White Heat" single, purchased at auction for a knock-down price of £40,000, may well be released to a wider audience.

Peter Gabriel's CD-ROM EVE is now available (Real World - ISBN 1-888104-03-1). Whilst this isn't exactly Eno-related it may give an indication of some of the scope of Peter's potential contribution to the frozen Gabriel-Anderson-Eno Theme Park.

Also out on the Real World label now (CDRW64) is Joseph Arthur's long-awaited debut album Big City Secrets. This time Brian does make some sort of contribution (perhaps he supplied the chocolate biscuits). No, actually he sings backing vocals on the track "Mercedes". RealWorld records are released on the Caroline label in the U.S.

You may have read here that Brian and David Bowie were going to work on 2.Contamination this summer. Sorry - we relied on rumour for this story, and (as with the best rumours) there was no truth in it. Sorry. Presumably they'll get around to it in the future sometime. Obviously I'd like to keep typing this paragraph, but it's a bit tricky with broken fingers. I never knew thwarted Eno fans could get so violent... I think I'll switch to Heavy Metal, it's safer.

July-December 1997

What would it sound like if Brian Eno covered substantial parts of On Land with Tarmac, invited some traffic along for the ride, recorded the result and then sculpted the resultant sound?

The answer might be Music for White Cube, a sound installation by Brian which runs until May 31st (see strange opening times below) at London's White Cube. This gallery describes itself as "possibly the smallest exhibition space in Europe", and consists of a square white room painted white, with concealed lighting leaking out from the edges of a suspended ceiling and white blinds covering the two windows on one wall. The doorway is half the normal width. There is a square white seat in the middle of the room, backless, about half the size of a double mattress. Mounted on each wall is a CD-player with two speakers either side.

In contrast with the whiteness of the exhibition space, the sound is predominantly shades of darker or lighter grey. To create it, Brian visited various parts of London within a one-mile radius of the White Cube and recorded himself singing a single falsetto note at each, holding the microphone some distance from his mouth so as to get as much background ambient noise as possible. Back at the studio, he applied various processes (compression, equalization, reverberation), to alter the recordings out of immediate recognition. Brian explains: "I was thinking of the sound less as music and more as sculpture, space, landscape, and of the experience as a process of immersion rather than just of listening."

The tracks were then put on CD, with each player set to "random" mode. The installation notes say there are 8-16 tracks on each CD, but one player was frequently making that "swit-swit- whizz" track-seeking sound and playing short tracks with numbers like 47 and 50...

With so many random tracks, the installation has a high "generative" element. The music can be loud one minute, and the room totally silent the next. In an unusual move, Brian has produced a catalogue to accompany the installation, in the form of a CD entitled Extracts from Music For White Cube. The CD is a limited edition of 500 in all, accompanied by a short essay on the inlay card. The CD has a running length of just over 68 minutes; because each of its 9 tracks is an extract from the same installation, there are similarities between them. The price of the CD is twenty pounds.

Also on display in the White Cube's office area (opposite the gallery on the other side of the stairs) was another set of Eno CDs. Continuing the trend of one-off CDs he began with his White Light/White Heat single, he made a set of one-off CDs, each with a single take of his Koan Generative Music composition Contra 1.2 (1997). Because of the parameters of the piece, the length of each unique CD varies between 20 and 50 minutes (and purchasers don't get to choose...). Each CD has a unique cover created using generative principles using BLISS. Price for each unique CD is 100 pounds plus VAT @ 17.5%. This is again a limited edition, and may be sold out by now.

If you have a web browser that can handle frames and the ability to play .WAV files, visit the gallery's own web site at http://www.whitecube.com. This has the full text of Eno's essay and short sound clips of the installation and Contra. There is also a diagram showing how the CDs and speakers are set up.

The White Cube is on the 1st floor (2nd storey to non-UK vistors) of 44 Duke Street, St James', London SW1Y 6DD.

Hurry! The installation is only open Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 until 18:00, and runs until 31st May 1997.

White Cube phone: +44 (0)171 930 5373, White Cube fax: +44 (0)171 930 9973. You can also e-mail them from their web site.

April/May 1997

New album!

Is this a NEW ALBUM by Brian Eno I see before me, the title toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee, Swanky. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still, now entitled Today On Earth. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation now called The Drop proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

Yes, this summer will see the release of Brian Eno's new album, which appears to have a new name every week. Now That's What I Call Generative Music! Current rumours suggest that it's over 70 minutes and the music is a mixture of ambient and "Unwelcome Jazz". The EnoWeb is confident that by the time the album is released in June, it will in fact have become a 3-minute single of "Baby's On Fire" played by a school orchestra.

Over a plate of bangers and mash at his local Greasy Spoon, Brian confided that his new work is "like living now - this music makes me feel alive." Ambient music we all know about; Unwelcome Jazz is next step on for ideas that first emerged on Nerve Net with tracks like "Juju Space Jazz"; the "hidden" track on Spinner also falls into this category. People who have learnt Brian's Diary off by heart will recall that he enthused about "the 'stretched' space" of some of his Unwelcome Jazz: "that AD 2008 club feeling we got on the Outside sessions". The Eno Corporation's image consultants, who so famously persuaded Brian to lose his shoulder-length mane of hair a few years back, are of the opinion that "Unwelcome" is too negative a word, and this new product appears to be in the throes of being re-branded "Outsider Jazz".

Two of the tracks from the new album, "Swanky" and "Blissed", have been released on the new All Saints sampler, Glitters Is Gold (ASCD31), which is currently available exclusively from Virgin Megastores and will be on general release everywhere else from 14th May. These pieces follow a similar structure to that of the Spinner track, characterised by strong rhythm and weird-sounding melody. Glitters Is Gold also includes tracks by Harold Budd, Jah Wobble, Biosphere, Kate St John and Roger Eno.

The EnoWeb has an exclusive English-language version of an interview conducted by Michael Engelbrecht for Jazzthetik magazine in March 1996, in which Brian discussed his plans for this album before its release was delayed. Click here to read it.

The Drop will be released in the UK on the All Saints Label (ASCD32) on June 30th, around that date in the US on the Thirsty Ear label, and distributed in Europe by the Rough Trade label (RTD CD 310.0032.2). Brian keeps applying his buttock-enlarging software to the title and that's why it keeps changing. (Thanks to Bommel for additional information).

April-June 1997

A single single for War Child

Crazy rock star Brian Eno has worked out a plan to make sure his new single takes the Number One slot - by releasing only one copy of it!!!

Sorry about that lapse into tabloidese. The news that Eno was making music again had me quite excited for a second or two...

Eno's one-off single was created for Musical Milestones, which is an exhibition and auction in aid of War Child. Twenty-three artists and musicians designed and contributed artworks in tribute to musicians who have played a major part in inspiring them.

Eno's single is a seven-minute version of White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground. Interviewed by Emma Daly in The Independent on 24th January 1997, he explained:

"I'm playing some kind of a game in making the song: what I've done is reverse something that Lou Reed does. He sings the verses and then throws away the choruses - they're sort of throw-away scat choruses and you can't understand what he's saying at all. I've tried to decode what he was saying there, which is close to nonsense actually, and I've arranged them so that they are sung by a choir..."

The solo CD comes complete with a cover designed by Eno. Although it is the only copy in existence, the person who purchased it at the auction got full exploitation rights, which means that they can release it and take the profits from sales if they wish; in that eventuality, Eno's royalties would go direct to War Child.

The exhibition

The artworks have now been sold. They can be viewed at The Economist Plaza, 25 St James Street, London SW1, Great Britain from Thursday 6th February 1997 to Sunday 16th February 1997 (10am to 7pm). Prior to the auction, they were on public display at The Lichfield Studios, 133 Oxford Gardens, London W10, Great Britain (from Thursday 30th January 1997 to Monday 4th February 1997, 10am to 5pm, fact-lovers).

The auction - and the amazing bid

The Musical Milestones auction and dinner in aid of War Child took place on Tuesday 4th February at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Tickets cost £120. According to the Radio 4 arts review programme Kaleidoscope, the final bid for Eno's single was forty thousand pounds! Great news for War Child, and apparently Eno was rather happy about it too (let's just hope it doesn't give him any ideas about the price-tag for any future albums he might make...)

The contributors and their Milestones

Dave Stewart on Bob Dylan ... Kate Bush on Billie Holiday ... Bryan Ferry on Charlie Parker ... Tim Booth (James) on Patti Smith ... Gary Barlow on Elton John ... Sinead O'Connor on Bob Marley ... Brian Eno on The Velvet Underground ... Karl Hyde (Underworld) on Captain Beefheart ... Yoko Ono on John Lennon ... Holly Johnson on The Beatles ... 3D (Massive Attack) on The Clash ... Pavarotti on Enrico Caruso ... John Squire (ex-Stone Roses) on The Beach Boys ... Graham Coxon (Blur) on Syd Barrett ... Bob Geldof on The Rolling Stones ... David Bowie on The Walker Brothers ... Bono on Frank Sinatra ... Lou Reed on Ornette Coleman ... Paul McCartney on Buddy Holly ... Pet Shop Boys on The Bee Gees ... Iggy Pop on John Coltrane ... Linda McCartney on Jimi Hendrix ... Andrew Logan on Divine

February 1997

Further information

Fusion Interactive has donated its time and expertise to create the on-line Musical Milestones exhibition, with quotations from the artists and photographs of many of the exhibits. You'll be able to make on-line donations to War Child there soon as well.

Visit the War Child site.

News - this just in...

In an unrelated development, Brian has done a remix of the new single by 808state: Lopez (Metaphorically). The single features James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) on vocals, and was co-written by Nicky Wire (also from the Manic Street Preachers). The running time of Eno's mix is 6:23. There are also mixes from The Propellerheads and 808state. Released on ZTT records, the single is currently only available in the UK, and at the risk of some eye-strain I can make out "ZANG87CD/0630-17584-2" on the sleeve. There's also a promo version of this CD which only has a 3:50 version of Eno's mix on it - "ZANG87CDDJ".

Page by Tom Boon, with thanks to James Topham, Lin Barkass, Bommel and Robert Phan.

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