Brian Eno

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Brian Eno (2008)

Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno (born May 15, 1948 in Woodbridge , Suffolk ) is a British musician , record producer , music theorist and visual artist . He is considered an innovator in many areas of music.



Eno attended St. Joseph's College, Birkfield, Ipswich , the Ipswich Art School and the Winchester School of Art, which he graduated in 1969. In art school, he began using cassette recorders as musical instruments and played in bands for the first time. He was encouraged to do this by one of his teachers, the painter Tom Phillips. This put him in touch with Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra . The first published recording that Eno was involved in was made for Deutsche Grammophon , which brought out Cardew's The Great Learning (recorded in 1971).

The 1970s and 1980s

Brian Eno, 1974

Eno began his career in 1971 as a co-founder of Roxy Music , for which the self-proclaimed "non-musician" played keyboards and synthesizers . Particularly striking was his to the glam rock ajar -Chic campige presentation with feather boa , platform shoes and glitter towels, which he combined with exalted movements on stage. After the second album For Your Pleasure in 1973 he got out of Roxy Music again and took on a number of his own albums, which were strongly influenced by glam rock.

At that time, Eno was a member of the Portsmouth Sinfonia , an ironically serious project in which non-musicians played instruments and musicians played instruments they did not know. Eno played the clarinet there .

Eno's solo albums from 1973 to 1977 ( Here Come the Warm Jets , Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) , Another Green World and Before and After Science ) show him as an adventurous and innovative pop musician who knows almost no boundaries outside of his boyish voice.

With his first ambient work, he popularized a method for sound generation developed by Robert Fripp and known as Frippertronics , by means of which tape recordings of various musicians, especially from the minimal music scene, were modified. In the case of sound generation by means of Frippertronics , two tape recorders are connected to one another in a feedback system like a tape echo , with the distance between the machines determining the frequency of the echo pulse. Together with Fripp, Eno released the albums (No Pussyfooting) (1973) and Evening Star (1975). With Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978), which was allegedly inspired by a negative listening experience at Cologne / Bonn Airport , he christened the ambient and shaped it from then on. Much of his work to this day can be assigned to the ambient .

Eno worked as a musician and producer with various other artists. He can be heard on the "Berlin Trilogy" - Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979) - by David Bowie and can be found here a. a. Co-author of the song “Heroes” . In 1978 he produced Devo's Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo and the legendary compilation of the New York no-wave scene, No New York . He produced three Talking Heads albums : More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), Fear of Music (1979) and Remain in Light (1980) as the climax. His 1981 album with David Byrne (Talking Heads), entitled My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, is one of the first non-rap / hip-hop albums to include extensive sampling .

In 1984 he produced U2's The Unforgettable Fire and later continued working for the band as the producer of The Joshua Tree (1987), Achtung Baby (1991), Zooropa (1993), All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000) and No. Line on the Horizon (2009).

The 1990s

In the 1990s, Eno produced artists as diverse as the real-world artist Geoffrey Oryema to the band James , as well as the singer Jane Siberry and the performance artist Laurie Anderson , with whom he also designed the exhibition Self Storage (1995). In 1994/1995 Eno worked again with David Bowie, this time on his album 1. Outside . Since then, Eno has also been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London .

In 1994 Eno was asked by developers of the Microsoft Chicago project to compose the start melody for Windows 95. Ironically, this happened on his Apple Macintosh . In 1996, Brian Eno was one of the founders of the Long Now Foundation , which aims to promote awareness of the importance of long-term thinking. In 1998 he took up an honorary professorship at the Berlin University of the Arts . In August of the same year, Eno appeared twice at the opening of an exhibition Brian Eno: Future Light - Lounge Proposal in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany , and both appearances were webcast live.

The 2000s

Brian Eno founded the Magnificent Union of Digitally Downloading Artists (Mudda) together with Peter Gabriel in early 2004 .

He is also co-producer of Paul Simon's 2006 album Surprise . In 2006 Brian Eno published the DVD 77 Million Paintings, which was created with a generative computer program. He used the computer - based on real paintings - to generate 77 million visual representations as "originals" by means of cross-fades and combined these with music generated from sound layers.

Sydney Opera House illuminated on May 30, 2009

As a producer he began working on the fourth album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends by the band Coldplay in 2006 , which was produced by Eno together with Markus Dravs and Rik Simpson and was released in spring 2008. U2 announced on their official website in early June 2007 that Eno and Daniel Lanois had come to the studio in Morocco to record a new U2 album . The album No Line on the Horizon resulting from this collaboration was released in February 2009.

In 2006, Eno designed the ringtones and signal tones of the 8800 Sirocco Edition mobile phone exclusively for Nokia . Together with the musician and software designer Peter Chilvers , he developed the two programs Bloom and Trope for the iPhone . Both programs, as well as Air , developed by Chilvers on the basis of Eno's ideas, generate random, infinite pieces of music such as 77 million paintings .

In the same year he wrote the score for the documentary The Pervert's Guide to Cinema by Sophie Fiennes about the philosopher and psychotherapist Slavoj Žižek .

In May and June 2009 he designed the second Sound and Light Festival during which, among other things, the Sydney Opera House was illuminated. In 2009 he provided the soundtrack to Peter Jackson's film In My Heaven (The Lovely Bones). In 2010, the indietronic band MGMT released a piece of music called Brian Eno .

In November 2010, Eno's album Small Craft on a Milk Sea was released on Warp Records . In early July 2011, the album Drums Between the Bells , created in collaboration with the British poet Rick Holland, was also released by Warp.

In November 2012, again with Warp, the album Lux was Brian Eno's first solo work in seven years. The almost 75-minute composition was conceived as part of an installation in the Reggia di Venaria Reale near Turin and was heard there for the first time before it was released a few days before its commercial release (and with reference to the album Music for Airports ) at Tokyo 's Haneda Airport was premiered. The album received mostly positive reviews, and parallels were made with Eno's early ambient works, particularly Thursday Afternoon .

Brian Eno is a member of the Democracy in Europe 2025 (DIEM25) movement founded in 2016 .


With Roxy Music

Eno / Brian Eno

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1973 Here come the warm jets - UK26 (2 weeks)
1978 Music for Films - UK55 (1 week)
Ambient 1: Music for Airports - UK-
1982 Ambient 4: On Land - UK93 (1 week)
1992 Nerve Net - UK70 (1 week)
2005 Another Day on Earth - UK75 (1 week)
2012 lux - UK77 (1 week)
2016 The Ship - UK28 (1 week)
2017 Reflection - UK78 (2 weeks)
2018 Music for installations DE44 (1 week)
2020 Mixing colors DE69 (1 week)
with Roger Eno

More solo albums

  • 1974: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
  • 1975: Discreet Music
  • 1975: Another Green World
  • 1977: Before and After Science
  • 1983: More Music for Films
  • 1984: Prophecy Theme (Dune from David Lynch)
  • 1985: Thursday Afternoon
  • 1986: More Blank than Frank (Desert Island Selection)
  • 1992: The Shutov Assembly
  • 1993: Neroli
  • 1994: Headcandy
  • 1994: Glitterbug (soundtrack)
  • 1995: Windows 95 (Soundtrack, The Microsoft Sound )
  • 1996: Textures
  • 1996: Generative Music 1
  • 1997: The Drop
  • 2006: 77 million paintings
  • 2010: The Lovely Bones
  • 2017: Sisters

Music projects and musical collaboration with other artists

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1981 My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - UK29 (8 weeks)
1983 Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks DE61 (1 week)

(1 week)UK
with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno
chart entry only in 2019
1994 Wah-wah - UK11 (2 weeks)
with James
1995 crackhead - UK71 (1 week)
with Jah Wobble
2010 Small craft on a milk sea - UK82 (1 week)
with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams
2011 Drums Between the Bells DE100 (1 week)
with the poet Rick Holland
2014 Someday World - UK46 (2 weeks)
with Karl Hyde
High life - UK94 (1 week)
with Karl Hyde

More albums

As a producer, remixer or fellow musician (selection)

Awards for music sales

Country / Region Silver record icon.svg silver Gold record icon.svg gold Platinum record icon.svg platinum Sales swell
Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
Australia (ARIA) Australia (ARIA) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 4 × gold4th Platinum record icon.svg 9 × platinum9 770,000
Belgium (BEA) Belgium (BEA) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 70,000
Brazil (PMB) Brazil (PMB) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 5 × platinum5 430,000
Denmark (IFPI) Denmark (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 5 × gold5 Platinum record icon.svg 5 × platinum5 330,000
Germany (BVMI) Germany (BVMI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 3 × gold3 0! P- 550,000
Finland (IFPI) Finland (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 0! P- 5,875
France (SNEP) France (SNEP) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 3 × gold3 0! P- 350,000
Italy (FIMI) Italy (FIMI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 4 × gold4th Platinum record icon.svg 7 × platinum7th 330,000
Japan (RIAJ) Japan (RIAJ) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 2 × gold2 0! P- 200,000
Canada (MC) Canada (MC) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 4 × gold4th Platinum record icon.svg 3 × platinum3 410,000
Mexico (AMPROFON) Mexico (AMPROFON) 0! S.- 0! G- Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 60,000
New Zealand (RMNZ) New Zealand (RMNZ) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg 3 × gold3 Platinum record icon.svg 3 × platinum3 67,500
Sweden (IFPI) Sweden (IFPI) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 4 × platinum4th 175,000
Switzerland (IFPI) Switzerland (IFPI) 0! S.- 0! G- Platinum record icon.svg platinum1 30,000
Spain (Promusicae) Spain (Promusicae) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 4 × platinum4th 185,000
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) 0! S.- Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 5 × platinum5 5,500,000
United Kingdom (BPI) United Kingdom (BPI) Silver record icon.svg 10 × silver10 Gold record icon.svg 3 × gold3 Platinum record icon.svg 7 × platinum7th 7,180,000
All in all Silver record icon.svg 10 × silver10 Gold record icon.svg 38 × gold38 Platinum record icon.svg 55 × platinum55

Exhibitions (selection)


  • Brian Eno: A year with swollen appendices . Diary Entries and Articles, Faber and Faber, 1996, ISBN 0-571-17995-9 .


Web links

Commons : Brian Eno  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Brian Eno - "Ambient 1: Music For Airports" (on August 11, 1999, accessed February 27, 2015 .
  2. Project (on August 27, 1998, accessed February 27, 2015 .
  3. ^ Brian Eno - Drums Between the Bells. De: Bug , April 20, 2011, accessed April 21, 2011 .
  4. ^ Brian Eno - Lux , on
  5. ^ Movement website (DiEM25).
  6. a b Chart sources: DE / UK
  7. Music Sales Awards: UK
  8. Lemmy Kilmister : White Line Fever , Munich 2016, p. 88.
  9. ^ Brian Eno in the Small-Body Database of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (English).Template: JPL Small-Body Database Browser / Maintenance / Alt