Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eno was deified, saw One

There aren't very many people like today's birthday guy. I post plenty of seminal, hugely influential musics on here, but it's not every day I get to do a celebration post for someone who hasn't just shaped how human beings hear music, but how they hear sound itself. Amazingly, this is the first day of two in a row that I get to do that. Fucking Taurean freaks, I tell ya.
This is someone that completely changed my life forever. There's me before and me after, and I'm by no means the only one. I'm not sure I'll ever forget borrowing those records from my friend Irin in college in around 1985... Another Green World and Ambient 1: Music for Airports. I think I'm still afloat on the creative oceans those LPs suggested existed, merely 30 years on from that night in Stony Brook, NY. Those are the two most significant records I have ever -- or likely will ever -- borrow from someone, that's for sure.
Widely regarded as the singlemost important producer in modern music history after 1970, Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno started in Roxy Music in 1971, got too big for a band, went solo and never looked back. There isn't anyone alive that has been involved in more watershed recordings of the last 40 years than Eno. No one.
Who else can say they have produced some of the greatest albums of multiple, heavyweight artists? Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay... it's a mighty long list and it doesn't even scratch the surface of the man's own output, itself among the most revered music of our lifetimes. And he doesn't even really play an instrument, or consider himself to be a musician.
A product of the radical revolutionary art school atmosphere of 1960s Britain, where every single artistic convention was being challenged and reshaped at once, Eno's approach to sound and recording is often considered the very first to intentionally utilize the multi-track, modern recording studio itself as a musical instrument in its own right.  If I had to pick one person who I'd say is the most influential sonic architect of my lifetime, I'd pick Brian Eno and not even really have to agonize over the choice.
You remember the sound that started up Windows 95, back 20 or so years ago? He did that. New age music? He invented it, although he sure didn't mean to. Ambient is a not just a term that covers a myriad of musical styles influenced by him... it's a term coined by the man himself, now used to describe a whole set of genres of modern music. I'll say it again: there is music before him and music after him, period.
So what have we here, what has J cooked up for this most auspicious occasion of Eno's 66th birthday? This is quite a deal here, so let me explain: about 3 years or so ago I found this mp3 compilation online by a guy called DJ Food, who had assembled a bunch of tracks under the title "More Volts: The Funky Eno," attempting to overview the output of funk-oriented tracks Eno has made or been involved with over his career. The DJ Food mix covered roughly 1977-1992 and I thought it was a tremendous idea... I had considered doing the same sort of thing many times -- particularly the concept of assembling all the songs Eno made with 1970s fusion freaks Brand X -- so I recreated his original 18-track sequence exactly from lossless sources and added another 24 necessary ones, extending the period covered from 1975-2011. This has become one of my favorite go-to mixtapes for my headphone travels and I think you're really gonna like it a lot.

Editor's Note: This whole compendium has been expanded and remixed by DJ Food + Nowbodhi in collaboration. See below for a link to the new mixes; the unmixed tracks can be found in this post.
Brian Eno
The Funky Eno

CD1: More Volts
01 I Fall Up
02 R.A.F. (w/Snatch)
03 Regiment (w/David Byrne)
04 Heartbeat (The Grid) (Squelchy mix by Eno)
05 More Volts
06 Ali Click
07 Untitled
08 No One Receiving
09 America Is Waiting (w/David Byrne)
10 Defiant (w/David Byrne)
11 Strong Flashes of Light
12 What Actually Happened?
13 I Zimbra (Talking Heads) (Brian Eno remix)
14 The Jezebel Spirit (w/David Byrne)
15 Fractal Zoom
16 Crosseyed and Painless (Talking Heads)
17 Kurt's Rejoinder
18 Help Me Somebody (w/David Byrne)
19 The Great Curve (Talking Heads)
CD2: Spunk Worship
01 Chemin de Fer
02 Sky Saw 
03 T.N.K. (801)
 04 Abdulmajid (David Bowie)
05 Lot-Into the Spirit World (demo w.David Byrne)
 06 Qu'ran (w/David Byrne) 
 07 Cheeky Hop
08 Itch  (EN Stitch edit) (w.Rick Holland)
 09 Glitch (w.Rick Holland)
10 Tutti Forgetti
 11 Nikkei (w/Rick Holland)
12 Glitterbug 14
13 Fat Nude Dance
 14 Sounds Alien (w.Rick Holland)
15 Spunk Worship
16 Move
17 Monomedia (w.Rick Holland)
 18 Unusual Balance (w.Jah Wobble)
19 Seeded (w.Rick Holland)
 20 Beast
 21 Evil Thoughts
22 Sanctuaries
23 City of Life

CD3: Dust Shuffle
01 Mashujaa (EN edit) (w.Jon Hassell)
02 Dust Shuffle (w.Jon Hopkins & Leo Abrahams)
03 Never Tunnelling
04 Theme from Let's Go Native (w.Passengers)
05 Glitterbug 6
06 4 Août: With Howie B
07 Wire Shock
08 Like Pictures, Part #2 (w.Peter Schwalm)
09 Over Fire Island
10 Reasonable Question
11 United Colours (EN edit) (w.Passengers)
12 Marine Radio (w.Jah Wobble)
13 Heat Beat
14 Radiothesia III
15 Gbenta (w. Edikanfo)
16 War Fetish
17 DBF (w. Karl Hyde)
18 Adedara Rising (EN remix) (w.Jon Hassell)
19 Spinning Away (w. John Cale)

Total time: 3:56:38
just about every funk-related Eno track, assembled by EN
1.36 GB FLAC/
/May 2014 archive link
the DJ Food-mixed version of this compilation can be found here
I included a bunch of really odd and weirdly rare tracks on CD2, with stuff from CD-ROMs from the 1990s and even a demo from My Life In the Bush of Ghosts, itself possibly the alpha-omega, formative record ever to use sampling in a way that pointed the direction to how it's done today. Anyway don't hesitate to pull this one down and funk to it... it's the most danceable Eno tape of all time, for sure. And a fine style in which to celebrate Brian Eno, architect of modern sound, born this day in 1948. --J.