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Technology is the name we give to things that don’t work yet
November 7, 2011 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Brian Eno on technology and music.
posted by Sebmojo (36 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
There is a man who clearly loves his synthesizers.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on November 7, 2011


Hmm... the EMS VCS 3 is apparently beloved of a long list of people you'd except... and also Ice T?

(And nuns, clearly a big market.)
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of entranced by the 200 ton Telharmonium from 1906, that was carried on 30 railway carriages and plugged into the local phone exchange.

I don't want to google it in case he's joking.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is a documentary!
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really interesting, and for once the comments were worth reading, at least when I got there.
posted by immlass at 3:46 PM on November 7, 2011


I've been wanting (as in WANT) a VCS3 for years. Those things are fantastic.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:52 PM on November 7, 2011


For anyone who's interested, Eno was on Sound Opinions this past week.
posted by banwa at 4:11 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing about musical instruments, especially in the age of affordable electronics is you can absolutely go the DIY route. Nobody says you shouldn't. You can wait to score a VDS3, or you can build your own version of a VCS3 - these days, the barrier is neither money, nor knowledge. Of course, time is always a limit, but hey, nobody says that you'll learn nothing while building - experimentation can have its own serendipitous rewards. And isn't it easier to build a synth than to to build your own violin by hand?
posted by VikingSword at 4:12 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was also in TapeOp. Great interview there, not online afaik.
posted by nutate at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eno playing the VCS3 on "Ladytron" (about four minutes in).
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:29 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is relevant to my interests as I am just now getting around to exploring the music of Eno. I shouldn't have waited so long. You can hear the inspiration for tons of 80s/90s bands in the work he did before 1975. Methinks Johnny Marr drew inspiration from this song.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:30 PM on November 7, 2011


Eno is God.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Two great Synthi videos.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:37 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


From this other open thread:

“THE BRIAN ENO”

8 oz. Water
Serve neat.
posted by azarbayejani at 5:22 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you ever get a chance to see him talk - do not miss it. I saw him give a lecture in Jan in Vancouver, BC and it was everything you'd think: smart, accessible, historical, futuristic, entertaining, charming, etc.

I was once wondered out loud why artist statements by anybody else sound like horrible MFA-babble, but when Eno talks like that it sounds like incredibly god-like profundity. Without blinking my friend said "Because everyone else is imitating the way he was authentically describing the artistic process in 1974."

I am just now getting around to exploring the music of Eno

Another Green World (the album)
posted by victors at 5:34 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Another Green World (the book)
posted by b1tr0t at 5:44 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a theory that Eno's relevance and insight into the culture at large directly parallels his personal struggles with, and ultimate acceptance of, male pattern baldness. Less hair = more insight.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:47 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well that just leads into the great Alan Moore Vs Grant Morrison debate...
posted by Artw at 5:51 PM on November 7, 2011


Eno is God.

No. But he is One (spelled backward)
posted by philip-random at 6:02 PM on November 7, 2011


Brian Eno - The Dick Flash Interview
posted by philip-random at 6:04 PM on November 7, 2011


Eno speaks in FPPs.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:10 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brian Eno - The Dick Flash Interview

Keep your Squelchy Life to yourself there, pal.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:22 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Less hair = more insight.

I do so want to believe that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eno speaks in FPPs.
Posted by bonobothegreat at 6:10 PM on November 7 [+] [!]


"Asking whether cultures have values is like asking whether telephones have conversations".

If you ever see his 1998 diary, 'Year with Swollen Appendices' around then grab it - it's brilliant, but is out of print and hellishly hard to find.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:01 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


...you can build your own version of a VCS3 - these days, the barrier is neither money, nor knowledge.

As respectfully as I can, I have to disagree.
posted by luckynerd at 8:23 PM on November 7, 2011


As respectfully as I can, I have to disagree.
Gearslutz agrees that there is no substitute for an actual VCS3.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:32 PM on November 7, 2011


>Gearslutz agrees that there is no substitute for an actual VCS3.<

Probably not, but I was just using this moments ago, and it doesn’t suck;
http://www.xils-lab.com/pages/XILS-3.html

I’m actually using the lite version, which is really cheap, because it doesn’t require ilok.
posted by bongo_x at 9:53 PM on November 7, 2011


Eno is a lot smaller than you think.

No, even smaller than that.
posted by Grangousier at 12:48 AM on November 8, 2011


Gearslutz agrees that there is no substitute for an actual VCS3.

While that may be true, I contend that building a synth akin to a VCS3 is no small task. Restoring them is easier, and that's no picnic! (Sadly, a lot of coveted synths have not aged well.)
posted by luckynerd at 1:23 AM on November 8, 2011


Back when I was younger I wore out my copy of "Zero Time" by Tonto's Expanding Headband, just ordered it on CD. What with this exhibition and the Da Vinci I see it is time to go to London again.
posted by epo at 6:08 AM on November 8, 2011


I bet Brian Eno loves getting paid 5 figures to waffle about music. It's like getting paid to walk around the park and throw stones at cans for him.
posted by Not Supplied at 7:12 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or doing acoustic testing, 500' underground. (probably for the Long Now clock)
posted by b1tr0t at 8:02 AM on November 8, 2011


I think that Brain One was using a bit of hyperbole here. Clearly, technology provides innovation in music and visa versa, however the relationship is anything but "perfectly circular". Many guitarists could be considered inevitable creators of music using the technology made available to them without providing any sort of contribution to the technologies themselves.
posted by onesidys at 2:28 PM on November 8, 2011


And isn't it easier to build a synth than to to build your own violin by hand?

almost certainly. I've built my own drum sequencer... There are plenty of homebrew synth projects out there, lots of how-tos and circuit diagrams. It's even easier when you consider that computers are not just fast enough to run effective softsynths, but fast enough that a total newbie can write one badly, and it will still play in real time.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:10 PM on November 8, 2011


And isn't it easier to build a synth than to to build your own violin by hand?
almost certainly. I've built my own drum sequencer...
I'm not sure I agree that it is obviously easier to build your own synth than to build your own violin. I've built a few synths myself, but I've also done a lot of electronics projects and have the sort of solid debugging skills that you develop working in the tech industry for a long time.

There are violin kits too, and I'm not sure they would be harder to construct for a person with woodworking skills similar to my electronics skills.

At the high end, it may be harder to build a synth than a violin. Dave Smith can do it with a fairly small team, probably comparable in size to Carleen Hutchins' shop. But I doubt that the product team for a big digital synth like the Virus is less than a dozen people.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:41 PM on November 8, 2011


Sorry, late to the party. Here is Brian's randomly chosen Oblique Strategy, inspiration for whatever you are working on at the moment:

Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
posted by Meatbomb at 11:07 PM on November 13, 2011


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