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Arena Eno Documentary.
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Jim Tones
Jim Tones
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Re: Arena Eno Documentary.
Jan 24, 2010, 11:45
Deepinder Cheema wrote:
I really enjoyed the programme about Eno. I enjoyed the now reknowned Arena treatment of the subject, with intercut references to the intense interests his family members held. I liked particularly the way how Eno speaks about his approach to work, embracing 'complexity from simplicity', game theory, making chance and taking chance etc, which he certainly has popularised, or brought it to the attention of ordinary folk from urban backgrounds. Of his work that was illustrated I found his collaborations with David Byrne as interesting as his work with U2 and Coldplay dull and boring. The moment I enjoyed most was his description of battling with the ego's present in a band - he described how a non guitarist could make a sound with the guitar that the guitarist couldn't replicate, and his job was diplomacy to make the personalities understand the possibilities of his (I believe) oblique strategies. This reminded me of the inspired direction Miles Davis gave to guitarist John Mclaughlin. He wanted the guitarist to play like he didn't know how to play the guitar. Just a single direction like that creates great possibilities. It was disappointing that working with Fripp was left out of the programme.


As I mentioned in another post, I really liked the way he spoke about his grandfather (a Church-Organ restorer) i.e. when he said about him working in an old church as his workshop, the various parts and pipes of Organs which were everywhere and linked to one keyboard, then the whole building becoming like one instrument!
This could have planted one of many seeds in Eno's young mind, which may have brought about the idea which he was most vocal about in the early 70s, of the 'recording studio being seen as one instrument'.

He certainly did bring a lot of experimental ideas into the mainstream, he also championed a very big proportion of the german underground scene, this first started around the time of his first couple of solo albums and he was very instrumental in getting various names into the UK music papers via his interviews.

As for the 'battling egos' etc., I remember reading an interview with Phil Manzanera just after Eno left Roxy, he was saying how at some early gigs, he could still hear his guitar sound going on into orbit, this would be about 3 minutes after he had stopped playing! This of course would have been outrageous for a new 'pop' band playing the circuit at the time.
I'm not sure if Manzanera was fully complaining though, as he subsequently stuck by Eno and always seemed to be on hand as another piece of plasticine ;-)

I think Eno must have taken a few notes as to the way Miles Davis worked with his players etc., this may have come via Fripp, who was a big admirer of McLaughlin and in touch with many a british jazzer via his production work with Keith Tippett.

I think it was the track 'In A Silent Way' (it's on one of those MD DVDs), where he told JM to play as if he were a beginner.
Still, it's only McLaughlin that can make picking the standard chord shape of E sound like sheer beauty!

I'm surprised there was no focus on either Fripp or Byrne, two major collaborators, when you think some of the stuff they produced together, commercial or otherwise.
It would have been good to have had the odd comment from the likes of Robert Wyatt as well, as regards to how Eno worked as a 'guest' on other people's music.

At this rate the programme would have been four hours long ;-o
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