“I like to discover what you can do with gear that it wasn’t designed for”, says Brian Eno
In a new op-ed, Eno talks about pushing the possibilities of instruments, exploring new gear, and working in 3D audio.
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British electronic producer and ambient legend Brian Eno has revealed the ways in which he uses music tech in new ways to inspire him.
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The revelation was made as part of a new op-ed feature for the Financial Times. In it, Eno writes about how new technology has inspired him throughout his career, how he finds new ways to use gear and how technology such as 3D audio is opening up new production possibilities for him today.
“Most equipment is invented to do an existing job faster, or cheaper, more cleanly, or more easily,” he says. “What I like to do is to discover what you can do with it that isn’t historical – something that it wasn’t designed for, something new (I’m sure the inventors of early microphones didn’t anticipate that their tools would lead to totally new ways of singing, just as the inventors of multitrack recording probably didn’t imagine Bohemian Rhapsody).”
Eno goes on to emphasise the excitement of music creation, writing that it lies not in meeting expectations but in the unexpected synergy of familiar elements, leading to something bigger and more surprising.
“The feeling at that moment – “now I’m somewhere new” – is the sense of freshness you get in creative art,” he says. “For me alertness, being attentive, is the key state for creative behaviour. And the key to a long life. Or one that feels long . . . ”
Also in the piece, he talks about how 3D audio is opening up newfound possibilities in audio recording, providing “another step away from traditional listening”.
“It turns out that our ears are much more directional than we usually allow for. Working in 3D as opposed to stereo (which is how we have been listening to recorded music until recently) it’s possible to have much more, and more subtle, information. You can hide things in corners for people to find. You can make the listener’s movements a way of “mixing” the piece. Sitting in one corner of such a space gives a different impression from being in the opposite corner. This is another extension of listener engagement, another step away from traditional listening.”
Brian Eno is to perform four rare shows with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra in October. Find out more at brian-eno.net.
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