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Brian Eno Day (February 12, 1988)

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 11 hrs 15 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

Additional Media Files (click to view)

On February 12, 1988, KPFA dedicated an entire day to take a closer look at the music and career of Brian Eno, one of the most influential composer, performer, producer, and visual artist of our times. Eno joins Charles Amirkhanian in the studios of KPFA to assist in hosting a day of his music. In a number of far ranging interviews, some previously recorded and some live in the studio, Eno discusses his English adolescence and early musical influences, as well as sharing stories about his work as a producer of famous rock bands such as U2, Devo, and the Talking Heads, as well as his own musical collaborations with Harold Budd, David Byrne, and others. A relatively complete review of his work as composer, performer, and producer is heard, including selections from his early rock albums and ambient recordings, along with a discussion of his series of video installations which have been presented at art exhibitions throughout the world. Topics touched upon in over 10 hours of programming include Eno’s outreach efforts with Soviet artists, the band dynamics of U2, his interest in architecture and genetic evolution, and the various techniques he uses in the studio. When talking about his own musical interests and tastes, Eno reveals such tasty tidbits as his dislike for computer keyboards; an admission that even he does not know what his lyrics mean; a preference for the music of Stockhausen’s students rather than that of Stockhausen himself; and the differences between New Age, Minimal, and Ambient music. Eno also takes several hours to answer question from the listeners, including the last half hour of this extended extravagance where a clearly exhausted Eno lightens the mood by declaring that all his responses will be lies, something he then accomplishes with respectful and proper English aplomb and much ensuing hilarity. Throughout it all Eno proves to be not only a great creative artist, but also a remarkably intelligent, curious, humble, and extremely kind individual.

Part 1:

In an interview recorded in 1980, Charles Amirkhanian and Brian Eno discuss phonetic poetry, how Brian writes his lyrics, and the spirit of inquisitiveness at KPFA Radio. The two also listen to some of Brian Eno's pieces, including "After the Heat,” "Everything Merges With the Night,” "Another Green World,” "Spirits Drifting," and sections of other works. Brian Eno also discusses artist Peter Schmidt and their work on the Oblique Strategies Cards, being a record producer, process vs. product, and looping. Part I ends with some thoughts on Steve Reich and his music.

Part 2:

The rebroadcast of the 1980 interview continues with a discussion of "the history of the recording studio as a compositional tool," and Eno’s collaboration with David Byrne on the then yet-to-be-released album, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” Eno also talks about, and listens to, songs by Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Sly Stone, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Jimi Hendrix. Eno then offers some unfinished pieces from the album with David Byrne. Brian Eno Day then continues with the start of a lengthy in-studio interview with Eno in which the composer discusses his newly formed record company Opal, and his recent collaborations with artists from the Soviet Union, and U2, as well as his admiration for British musician and singer, Robert Wyatt.

Part 3:

Eno describes his installation "Latest Flames" which was just then having its opening at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The exhibit featured video and light projection pieces that used various configuration of TVs and spotlights as muted ever-changing colored light sources accompanied by ambient music. Eno discusses his preference to work with simple and cheap technologies as opposed to expensive computers and synthesizers. The phone lines are then opened and listeners call in with an assortment of questions, comments, and heartfelt thanks. Eno reveals his opinions about Karlheinz Stockhausen, the artistic process, and the differences in distribution between the visual and musical arts.

Part 4:

The day's festivities continue with Eno taking calls from an appreciative audience, during which he discusses some of his phonetic poetry like lyrics, offers his opinions on British art schools, and his philosophy about the existence of right and wrong. Amirkhanian then plays a selection of Eno's mostly ambient works, interspersed with appeals for KPFA's fundraising marathon, while also briefly interviewing composer Peter Gena.

Part 5:

Includes the playing of Eno's one hour long ambient work "Thursday Afternoon," as well as numerous selections from Eno's earlier, and very popular, rock albums.

Part 6:

The music continues with excerpts from a combination of Eno's rock and ambient albums. The composer then returns to the KPFA microphone (recorded in November of 1987), voicing his admiration for the San Francisco Exploratorium, before commenting on his work with video installations, advances in Light Art, and his general philosophy about art, particularly its spiritual dimensions. Also discussed is government patronage of art in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The work of Robert Wyatt, and the theremin mastery of Clara Rockmore are also touched upon.

Part 7:

Stephen Hill, an expert on ambient and New Age music and host of the "Hearts of Space" radio program, joins Charles Amirkhanian for a discussion of Eno's foray into environmental electronic music and how Eno’s efforts differs from Muzak and other forms of background music. This discussion is accompanied by selections of Eno's ambient music including his half-hour long piece, "Discreet Music." Towards the end of this part Eno returns to the KPFA studio and joins the conversation about ambient music.

Part 8:

Stephen Hill, Brian Eno, Peter Gena, and Charles Amirkhanian have a fascinating and lengthy discussion about the rise in popularity of ambient music and the role of music in environmental design. Eno tries to delineate his music from the more commercial New Age music, as well as commenting on the fact that this current trend has less to do with what composers are producing than how the audience is listening to music. The music then continues with a nearly 20 minute excerpt from Jon Hassell's "Charm: Over Burundi Cloud."

Part 9:

Brian Eno Day concludes with Eno reminiscing about working with the Talking Heads, as well as engaging in a impromptu improvisation using prepared microphone stands. After over 10 hours of music and extended interviews, the participants are clearly a little punch drunk, and once the phone lines are opened yet again, Eno ends this extraordinary day by declaring that all his remaining comments will be lies. A pledge that he fulfills with hilarious results, thus serving as a fitting end for this marvelously informative and entertaining program.

Part 1 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Power Spot [excerpt, talked over] (ca. 1986) (3:30) / Jon Hassell -- I Zimbra [text based on poem by Hugo Ball] (3:08) / Talking Heads -- Kurt's Rejoinder [excerpts] / Brian Eno -- Everything Merges With the Night [excerpts] (3:04) / Brian Eno -- Spirits Drifting [excerpt] (1:56) / Brian Eno -- It's Gonna Rain [excerpts] (1965) / Steve Reich -- Regiment [excerpt, talked over] / Brian Eno and David Byrne
Performers:  Jon Hassell, trumpet, etc. (Power)
Talking Heads: (I ; Mind)
Brian Eno, voice, electronics, etc. (I ; Kurt’s ; Everything ; Spirits ; Regiment)
David Byrne, electronics, etc. (Regiment)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Schmidt, Peter, 1931-1980; New music; Popular music; Rock music; Sound poetry; Text-sound compositions; Oblique Strategies Cards; Ambient music; Electronic music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Leber, Janice; Jennings, Russ; Hassell, Jon, 1937- ; Ball, Hugo, 1886-1927 ; Reich, Steve, 1936-; Byrne, David, 1952-
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 2 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Heartbreak Hotel (ca. 1955) (2:08) / Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton -- [unidentified dub piece, excerpt] (2:41) / Lee "Scratch" Perry -- Star Spangled Banner [text by Francis Scott Key] / John Stafford Smith -- Reflections / Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Edward Holland, Jr. -- Everyday People / Sly Stone -- [unidentified funk excerpt] / Larry Graham -- Eight Miles High [excerpt] / The Byrds -- [unidentified Arabic song excerpt] (2:53) -- [unidentified Slavic folk music] (1:40) -- Garbage Disco [a.k.a. America is Waiting] (1:55) / Brian Eno & David Byrne -- [outtake from “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”] / Brian Eno & David Byrne -- Mea Culpa [excerpt] / Brian Eno & David Byrne -- Their Memories [excerpt] (ca. 1984) (1:38) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- America is Waiting [excerpt] (ca. 1981) (0:40) / David Byrne & Brian Eno -- Advice to the Old (Including Myself) [a poem] (0:51) / Kay Boyle -- Their Memories [excerpt] (ca. 1984) (0:52) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- In God’s Country (ca. 1987) (2:56) / U2 -- The United States Of Amnesia [excerpt] (ca. 1985) (2:57) / Robert Wyatt
Performers:  Elvis Presley, voice and guitar (Heartbreak)
Lee "Scratch" Perry, electronics, etc. (unidentified dub)
Jimi Hendrix, guitar (Star)
Diana Ross & The Supremes, voices (Reflections)
Sly and the Family Stone: (Everyday)
Graham Central Station: (unidentified funk)
The Byrds: (Eight)
Farīd Al-Atrash, voice (unidentified Arabic)
David Byrne, electronics, etc. (Garbage ; outtake ; Mea ; America)
Brian Eno, electronics, etc. (all, except where noted)
Harold Budd, piano (Their)
Kay Boyle, reader (Advice)
U2 (In God’s)
Robert Wyatt, voice, etc. (United)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music; Electronic music; Rock music; New wave music; Reggae music; World music; Ambient music; Piano music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Durden, Tommy ; Axton, Mae Boren ; Presley, Elvis, 1935-1977; Perry, Lee, 1936-; Key, Francis Scott, 1779-1843 ; Smith, John Stafford, 1750-1836 ; Hendrix, Jimi; Dozier, Lamont ; Holland, Brian; Holland, Eddie; Ross, Diana, 1944-; Stone, Sly ; Aṭrash, Farīd; Byrne, David, 1952-; Budd, Harold; Jennings, Russ; Leber, Janice; Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992; Wyatt, Robert
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 3 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  [soundtrack for the “Latest Flames” installation, excerpt, talked over] / Brian Eno -- Foreign Affairs [excerpt] (ca. 1978) (1:30) / Brian Eno, Roedelius, & Dieter Moebius -- Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hill) [excerpt] (ca. 1982) (1:58) / Brian Eno -- A Clearing [excerpt] (ca. 1982) (2:38) / Brian Eno -- Here He Comes (ca. 1977) (5:33) / Brian Eno -- Everything Merges With The Night [excerpt, talked over] (ca. 1975) (3:20) / Brian Eno -- I’ll Come Running [excerpt] (ca. 1975) (1:07) / Brian Eno -- The True Wheel [excerpt, talked over] (ca. 1974) (3:39) / Brian Eno -- Kurt's Rejoinder [excerpt] (ca. 1977) (1:23) / Brian Eno -- Power Spot [excerpt, talked over] (ca. 1986) (3:50) / Jon Hassell
Performers:  Brian Eno, electronics, etc. (all)
Roedelius, synthesizers, etc. (Foreign)
Dieter Moebius, synthesizers, etc. (Foreign)
Jon Hassell, trumpet, etc. (Power)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music; Electronic music; Ambient music; Rock music; Video art; Light art
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Roedelius, Hans-Joachim ; Moebius, Dieter ; Hassell, Jon, 1937-
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 4 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Power Spot [excerpts, talked over] (ca. 1986) / Jon Hassell -- Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hill) [excerpt] (ca. 1982) (3:23) / Brian Eno -- Wing Melodies [excerpt] (ca. 1986) (5:00) / Jon Hassell -- I’ll Come Running (ca. 1975) (3:35) / Brian Eno -- Aragon (ca. 1975-78) (1:37) / Brian Eno -- From The Same Hill [excerpt] (1:03) / Brian Eno -- Inland Sea [excerpt] (0:30) / Brian Eno -- Two Rapid Formations [excerpt] (1:45) / Brian Eno -- Slow Water [excerpt] (2:18) / Brian Eno -- Sparrowfall [excerpt] (ca. 1975-78) (0:20) / Brian Eno
Performers:  Brian Eno, electronics, etc. (all)
Jon Hassell, trumpet, etc. (Power ; Wing)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music; Ambient music; Electronic music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Hassell, Jon, 1937- ; Gena, Peter; Leber, Janice
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 5 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Thursday Afternoon (ca. 1984) (54:29) / Brian Eno -- Spirits Drifting [excerpt] (ca. 1975) (2:10) / Brian Eno -- The Fat Lady Of Limbourg (ca. 1974) (4:43) / Brian Eno -- On Some Faraway Beach [excerpt] (ca. 1974) (1:29) / Brian Eno -- No One Receiving (ca. 1977) (3:37) / Brian Eno -- The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch (ca. 1974) (2:58) / Brian Eno -- Backwater [talked over] (ca. 1977) (3:26) / Brian Eno -- Baby’s On Fire [excerpt] (ca. 1974) (1:39) / Brian Eno -- Sombre Reptiles (ca. 1975) (2:21) / Brian Eno -- King’s Lead Hat (ca. 1977) (3:45) / Brian Eno -- Golden Hours [excerpt] (ca. 1975) (0:50) / Brian Eno -- Some Of Them Are Old (ca. 1974) (4:38) / Brian Eno -- I’ll Come Running (ca. 1975) (3:30) / Brian Eno
Performers:  Brian Eno, electronics, etc (all)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music; Ambient music; Electronic music; Rock music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Leber, Janice; Scott, Bari
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 6 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Under Stars [excerpt] (ca. 1983) (1:33) / Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois -- The Secret Place [talked over] (ca. 1983) (3:31) / Daniel Lanois [arr. by Brian Eno] -- Here Come The Warm Jets (ca. 1974) (3:50) / Brian Eno -- Sky Saw (ca. 1975) (3:21) / Brian Eno -- Advice to the Old (Including Myself) [a poem] (0:51) / Kay Boyle -- Alliance [excerpt] (ca. 1985) (0:55) / Robert Wyatt -- Vocalise, Op 34, No. 14, for theremin and piano [excerpt] (1912, rev. 1915) (1:24) / Sergei Rachmaninoff [arr. by Clara Rockmore] -- Born Under Punches [talked over] (ca. 1980) (5:49) / Talking Heads
Performers:  Brian Eno, electronics, etc. (all, except Advice and Alliance)
David Lanois, guitar, etc. (Under ; The Secret)
Kay Boyle, reader (Advice)
Robert Wyatt, voice, etc. (Alliance)
Clara Rockmore, theremin (Vocalise)
Nadia Reisenberg, piano (Vocalise)
Talking Heads: (Born)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Exploratorium (Organization); Popular music; New music; Electronic music; Ambient music; Rock music; Art, Modern; Video art; Light art ; Art -- Philosophy; Government aid to music; Theremin and piano music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Lanois, Daniel ; Leber, Janice; Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992; Wyatt, Robert; Rachmaninoff, Sergei, 1873-1943 ; Rockmore, Clara; Reisenberg, Nadia
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 7 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Hai Sai Oji-San (2:37) / Shoukichi Kina -- The Plateaux Of Mirror [excerpt] (1979) (4:00) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- Above Chiangmai (1979) (2:55) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- An Arc of Doves (1979) (6:29) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- Not Yet Remembered [excerpt] (1979) (2:07) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- The Chill Air (1979) (2:13) / Harold Budd & Brian Eno -- Discreet Music [briefly talked over in middle] (1975) (30:11) / Brian Eno -- Variation On 'The Canon In D Major' By Johann Pachelbel (1975) (1:35) / [arr. by Brian Eno & Gavin Bryars]
Performers:  French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson: (Hai)
John French, drums (Hai)
Fred Frith, bass guitar, violin (Hai)
Henry Kaiser, guitar, sanshin (Hai)
Richard Thompson, guitar, vocals (Hai)
Harold Budd, piano (Plateaux ; Above ; Arc ; Not ; Chill)
Brian Eno, synthesizer, etc. (Plateaux ; Above ; Arc ; Not ; Chill ; Discreet)
The Cockpit Ensemble (Variation)
Gavin Bryars, conductor (Variation)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; New music; Popular music; Rock music; Ambient music; Piano music; Electronic music; New Age music; Canons, fugues, etc. (Electronics)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Kina, Shōkichi, 1948- ; French, John, 1948- ; Frith, Fred; Kaiser, Henry ; Thompson, Richard, 1949- ; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Budd, Harold; Hill, Stephen; Gena, Peter; Bryars, Gavin
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 8 of 9:  
Musical Selections:  Charm: Over Burundi Cloud [excerpt] (ca. 1980) (19:17) / Jon Hassell & Brian Eno -- The Great Curve [excerpt] (ca. 1980) (3:21) / Talking Heads -- Born Under Punches [talked over] (ca. 1980) (5:40) / Talking Heads
Performers:  Ayibe Dieng, congas (Charm)
Nana Vasconcelos, ghatam, drums (Charm)
Jon Hassell, trumpet (Charm)
Talking Heads: (Great ; Born)
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music; Trumpet with jazz ensemble ; Rock music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Hill, Stephen; Gena, Peter; Dieng, Aiyb; Vasconcelos, Nana ; Hassell, Jon, 1937-
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
Part 9 of 9:  
Genres:  Popular Music; New Music
Subject:  Eno, Brian, 1948-; Popular music; New music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Eno, Brian, 1948-; Hill, Stephen; Gena, Peter
Recording Date:  2/12/1988
First Broadcast Date:  2/12/1988
 
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