Brian Eno – Musician, Producer, Ambient Music Pioneer, Deviant?

Brian Eno is known as a producer of some of the greatest albums by Devo, Talking Heads, U2 and David Bowie.

He’s also known as the father of ambient music, having created the genre in the 70’s with his seminal releases, Ambient 1-4. Eno also helped define and popularize the concept of generative music – the idea of music generated by processed designed by the composer.

Chrissie Hynde’s 1974 interview, though, exposes another side of the musician – Brian Eno, deviant.

Unsurprisingly, Eno makes surprisingly insightful connections along the way:

“It’s a burning shame that most people want to keep pornography under cover when it’s such a highly developed art form – which is one of the reasons that I started collecting pornographic playing cards. I’ve got about 50 packs which feature on all my record covers for the astute observer.

“There’s something about pornography which has a similarity to rock music. A pornographic photographer aims his camera absolutely directly, at the centre of sexual attention. He’s not interested in the environment of the room.

“I hate the sort of photography in Penthouse and Playboy which is such a compromise between something to give you a hard-on and something which pretends to be artistic. The straight pornographers aim right there where it’s at.

“Which is analogous to so many other situations where somebody thinks one thing is important, so they focus completely on that and don’t realise they’re unconsciously organizing everything else around it as well. I have such beautiful pornography – I’ll show you my collection sometime.”

Eno goes on to discuss abstraction in pornography, golden showers, Here Come The Warm Jets, shaving his pubic hair, beautiful little girls and “deviation involving candles”.

While the interview exposes an Eno that seems to contrast with his current ascetic image – his openness to experimentation has been a part of his success.

What do you think of Eno’s advocacy of sexuality that many would consider deviant?

Is it a case of too much information – or part of a worldview that contributed to his ability to revolutionize music?

8 thoughts on “Brian Eno – Musician, Producer, Ambient Music Pioneer, Deviant?

  1. Anyone who thinks the modern-day Eno is all straight needs to read his 1995 diary, published as _A Year With Swollen Appendices_.

    Also, anyone who doesn't needs to read it. It's fantastic.

  2. It was the 70's.
    Things were different and people were not yet so jaded as they are today. What you are calling deviant was very "new" and modern at the time. Not like now when anything you can imagine (for good or for ill) is available 24/7 online.

  3. Atomic Shadow –

    FYI – the "deviant" tag was Eno's characterization.

    And there's a little bit of deviant in most interesting electronic artists, don't you think?

  4. Also there's a little deviation to every other interesting artist, even the boring ones. Sometimes I get the impression that the most bland and boring people (be it artistically or otherwise) might be very well the most deviant in some form or another. But I really don't like the word "deviant". It tells you so much more about the person who uses it than the person she talks about.

  5. Why is this even a topic? I thought this was a music website. Who cares what he does when he's not making music?

    And what is so deviant about his liking of pornography? It's out there and it's legal. He's just being honest about it.

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