Brian Eno

From Quotes
Men expect that religion should cost them no pains, that happiness should drop into their laps without any design and endeavor on their part, and that, after they have done what they please while they live, God should snatch them up to heaven when they die. But though the commandments of God be not grievous, yet it is fit to let men know that they are not thus easy.
John Tillotson
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Brian Eno (born May 15, 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), is an electronic musician, producer, and music theorist.


  • I look at the variety of the world, and of the organisms and so on within it, and instead of saying "well, each one of these is an entirely seperate phenomenon," I say, "each one of these is a product of quite a small number of forces and constraints reconfiguring in different ways." So that basic thought about how the universe is made can run through into how I decide to work on music.
  • I'm terribly attracted to women with ocular damage.
  • Well, I've always thought that art is a lie, an interesting lie. And I'll sort of listen to the "lie" and try to imagine the world which makes that lie true... what that world must be like, and what would have to happen for us to get from this world to that one.
  • Although i'm not too skilled in the matter, taxidermy is terribly good fun.
  • I'm afraid to say that admirers can be a tremendous force for conservatism, for consolidation. Of course it's really wonderful to be acclaimed for things you've done - in fact it's the only serious reward, because it makes you think "it worked! I'm not isolated!" or something like that, and it makes you feel gratefully connected to your own culture. But on the other hand, there's a tremendously strong pressure to repeat yourself, to do more of that thing we all liked so much. I can't do that - I don't have the enthusiasm to push through projects that seem familiar to me ( - this isn't so much a question of artistic nobility or high ideals: I just get too bloody bored), but at the same time I do feel guilt for 'deserting my audience' by not doing the things they apparently wanted. I'd rather not feel this guilt, actually, so I avoid finding out about situations that could cause it. The problem is that people nearly always prefer what I was doing a few years earlier - this has always been true. The other problem is that so, often, do I! Discovering things is clumsy and sporadic, and the results don't at first compare well with the glossy and lauded works of the past. You have to keep reminding yourself that they went through that as well, otherwise they become frighteningly accomplished. That's another problem with being made to think about your own past - you forget its genesis and start to feel useless awe towards your earlier self: "How did I do it? Wherever did these ideas come from?". Now, the workaday everyday now, always looks relatively less glamorous than the rose-tinted then (except for those magic hours when your finger is right on the pulse, and those times only happen when you've abandoned the lifeline of your own history).
  • Since the age of 18 I've been in a midlife crisis... I've spent a long time trying to figure out what the point of being an artist is. I'm not intellectually dishonest enough to always come out in my own favour... The element of risk may play some part in our idea of the beautiful. If you're taking a risk, all your antennae are out. One day I'd rent a cello, one day a marimba. I couldn't play any of them. I'd have two ideas, I'm going to dangle a mic from the ceiling and I'm going to hire a trombone.
  • I've actually just finished a new album which is all songs... Songwriting is now actually the most difficult challenge in music... Lyrics are really the last very hard problem in music. Software and hardware have changed the rest of music dramatically in the last thirty or forty years. It's very very easy to make pretty good music... Pretty good isn't very interesting, but pretty good is possible. But writing songs is pretty much in the same place as it was in the days of Chaucer. Apart from hip hop, hip hop is the only breakthrough in a way, rap, because it breaks away from the strict adherence to melody and beat structure and so on... I'd love to try doing this really hard thing [songwriting] and see if I can.
  • An important aspect of design is the degree to which the object involves you in its own completion.

On creating the Windows 95 start-up sound for Microsoft:

  • The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem -- solve it." The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3¼ seconds long." I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.
  • "Rationality is what we do to organize the world, to make it possible to predict. Art is the rehearsal for the inapplicability and failure of that process."

On David Bowie's Low album:

  • It's really a new feeling about urban industrial society. It's hard and tough and thrilling at the same time. It's a picture of a sort of street-level harshness, but exciting. It makes you dance, you know. That's a new feeling.

Defining culture:

  • "Culture is everything that you don't have to do." [1]