Thursday, November 04, 2010


Eno playlist

Thanks again to everyone that came out last night. Brian Eno served as our literal muse. Meaning: songs by or produced or co-written by him. I'm not terribly versed in Eno -- Geeta's tome is still on my to-read list and, well, I simply don't know much about dude -- and the initial idea for picking him was because he released a record Small Craft on a Milk Sea earlier this week; it's actually streaming in its entirety at his site, at least for the time being.

Eno turned out to be a fun choice. Most of his music has a distinct textural quality that can either inform or accompany drawing shapes, shades, lines, etc. His approach to instrumentation and composition feels less tied to traditional theory (e.g., guitar-bass-drums for rock, verse goes here, chorus there, etc.) and more about creating moods or shapes; is it any wonder that he has used instruments like a "snake guitar?" So, whether he's adding subtle flourishes to another band's monster pop hit or stretching and bending a single chord for several minutes on one of his own compositions, he seems more interested in making tangible, sensory experiences than familiar verse-chorus songs.

At this point I'm relegated to mention his Music for Airports album (it's all in the title, people) and the endlessly recounted factoid that he "invented" ambient music. I'm somewhat relieved that I couldn't find my copy of Airports and pulled a broad selection of his catalog -- not just the ambient stuff. In truth, the aforementioned textural quality is a through-line in his work, from his early skronk on Roxy Music's "Ladytron" to the quiet hum floating through the otherwise abominable "Beautiful Day." So, in a way most of his music has an atmospheric quality. Not so much wallpaper, but more intimate and close to the skin, like an ever-present blanket or sweater... gads, Eno makes slanket music. Shudder.

How this relates to the drawing? I'm unsure. The other day Nate and I came to the conclusion that the music at these sessions has been present, but hasn't necessarily informed the drawing. So, we're exploring whether we can make that connection. I think it's happened at times, like last night during the last 20-minute poses when we had jerky cuts from Devo and Talking Heads in the first pose, then moved to the gauzy Slowdive and Eno's Apollo album (music for space!). There was an arc starting with the light mood of the crowd after the break that transitioned into a flow state during the second pose. I still don't think the music made anything in particular, but it certainly helped guide the shape of that transition.

Sidenote: I remembered yesterday that as a teen I used to listen to U2 records when I was sick. At the time I was most into aggressive music, but Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby and Zooropa were in rotation when I was bedridden. At the time I didn't have a clue who was Brian Eno, let alone how he, Daniel Lanois (another great guy for a theme) and Steve Lillywhite crafted U2's sound from the mid-80s to the present. Looking back it makes sense that these albums were a part of a recovery process. What more can I say? Thanks, Eno!

Oh, and I'm going to limit embedding all the videos b/c it takes too long for the site to load when I have 20 videos. Instead here's a YT playlist with the songs that were used last night. Feel free to holler if you have any questions.

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