Listen: Brian Eno x Lou Reed With ‘Metal Machine Music for Airports’

Brian Eno and Lou Reed, two timeless masters of the sonic universe—both icons of the musical world for their incredibly influential contribution to their respective genres, both poets of sound and texture. And in a world of ridiculous mashups and nonsensical pairings of music found scattered about the internet, someone managed to take the time to meld Eno’s seminal Music for Airports with Reed’s noise-heaving Metal Machine Music to create a bizarrely hypnotic creation—Metal Machine Music for Airports. And thanks to Dangerous Minds unearthing this cohesion of over-modulated feedback and ethereal ambient tones, you can now listen to almost an hour’s worth of otherworldly goodness below.

And if that’s doesn’t fully satisfy your musical appetite, you can wander through the wonder of Brian Eno HERE.

‘What Difference Does It Make?’ A Film About Music and Madness

The Red Bull Music Academy got creative people from all over the world thinking deep thoughts last night with the global premiere of What Difference Does It Make?— a film about the drive, desire, and the highs and the lows of making music.  Shot at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York and produced by Ralf Schmerberg’s Berlin-based artist collective Mindpirates, the film sheds light on the creative process of those who live a life devoted to music—featuring appearances and personal insights from Brian Eno, Lee Scratch Perry, Seth Troxler, James Murphy, Giorgio Moroder and many more.

Taking a peek inside the mind of all these music legends turns out to be an insightful way to think about one’s own contribution to the world. The film is intentionally about making music, but after an hour and a half of close ups and testimonials it becomes a film about life. “What difference does it make?” is a question that we must ask ourselves often, whenever we dedicate time, effort, and creative energy towards anything. We are here to matter, to love what we do, to create. Luckily, as an artist one is allowed make mistakes and start again. The film explores that idea by showing the constant changes and challenges of life in the music world, as people search for the path to creative freedom and lose themselves in their madness.

Since the RBMA is celebrating its 15th anniversary, the film is free and is now available online. Watch it! Moroder is a legend in it, Murphy is miserable as usual, and Brian Eno probably made the most money out of everyone.

Sink Into the Video Paintings of Brian Eno

“I was delighted to find this other way of using video because at last here’s video which draws from another source, which is painting….” said Brian Eno in December of 1985. “I call them ‘video paintings’ because if you say to people ‘I make videos’, they think of Sting’s new rock video or some really boring, grimy ‘Video Art’. It’s just a way of saying, ‘I make videos that don’t move very fast.” And as an iconic genius of sound, for decades now, Eno has been gifting us with music that captures the most delicious yet ineffable feelings inherent in human nature, exposing us to the sonic world between light and emotion.

With is music, Eno brings forth the hidden textures of existence, and as a pioneer of experimental sound, he crafts music valuing theory over practice as a composer, producer, visual artist who builds landscapes of atmosphere that transport you into a state of mind beyond words. And between 1981 and 1984, he made a series of video installations to be shown at galleries around the world.

The two works are to the video format what his audio pieces were to music; ambient musings on the nature of the medium. They are non linear and have no obvious plotline or direction : ‘video paintings’ as the title suggests, drifting in and out of focus. Luckily for us, the music is there to support what could have been a lifeless exercise; the first piece on the disc is accompanied by Eno’s seminal Thursday Afternoon, a beautiful single hour-long piano track, and the second piece entitled ‘Mistaken Memories of Mediaevil Manhattan’ is set to tracks from Music for Airports and On Land. ‘Thursday Afternoon’ is probably the most accessible, with Eno using film footage taken of his close friend Christine Alicino and cutting it together intimately. It ends up playing a little like a nostalgic diary, a musing on the life or a person now departed. The second piece is less figurative, and features painterly shots of the New York skyline, clouds moving overhead and the colours drifting like a melting palette.

So on this chilly Thursday morning, carve out some time to dive into the absolute wonder of Eno and his 14 Video Paintings HERE. If you could dim the lights and find a large wall on which to project these, that would be most ideal. Enjoy.

Celebrating the Absolute Wonder of Brian Eno on His Birthday

If there was ever a score for all of life’s moments that fall into the realm of the metaphysical, for the ineffable feeling inherent in human nature, and the beauty in the space between light and emotion, it’s in the sounds of Brian Eno. In an almost synesthesiac way, he manages to give us the sonic interpretation of that which we can only see, bringing to life the hidden textures of the world around us. And as the pioneer of experimental sound, he has been working for decades now, crafting music valuing theory over practice as a composer, producer, visual artist who builds landscapes of atmosphere that transport you into a state of mind beyond words. Over the years, he’s collaborated with everyone from David Byrne and David Bowie to to U2 and Paul Simon, as well as various filmmakers and artists, continuing to be as prolific as he is inspirational to an incomparable number of artists. And as today is his 64th birthday, what better way to celebrate than looking back on some of his most brilliant works. Enjoy. 

Ambient 1: Music for Airports

 
 

Thursday Afternoon

 

 Textures

 

Before and After Silence

 

Lightness: Music for the Marble Palace

 

The Shutov Assembly

 

The Drop

 

Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks

 

Another Day on Earth

 

More Music for Films

 

Another Green World

 

Ambient 4: On Land

 

Nerve Net

 

Music for Civic Recovery Centre

 

Extracts from Music for White Cube, London 1997 

Kite Stories 

 

 

Neroli

Wrong Way Up

Everything That Happens Will

Curiosities Volume II

Opening Tonight: Brian Eno’s Kaleidoscopic ‘77 Million Paintings’

It does seem that our most ambitious artists are never content with a single medium, doesn’t it? But while on the one hand you have James Franco publishing a short story collection without so much as a second revision, on the other you get the East Coast debut of Brian Eno’s immersive 77 Million Paintings exhibit at New York’s Café Rouge, beginning at the stroke of midnight this evening. I’ll let you be the judge of which is cooler.

The works in Eno’s project are “generative,” which is to say nothing like the static paintings at the Met or MoMA: these are alive, forming themselves according to randomized music. Eno being the godfather of ambient music, these sounds are all gentle in the extreme, harmonizing but occasionally creating dissonance. In truth there are not millions but only 296 abstract images in the program, juxtaposed or overlaid on one another up to four at a time to create unexpected patterns.
 
Starting at midnight, the exhibit (part of the ongoing Red Bull Music Academy series) will be open for a full 24 hours—so this is really your best chance to include a gallery stop in your bar-hopping. How highbrow! Alternatively, you could wait till May 6 to hear an “Illustrated Talk” from Eno. If you’re not in a big rush to zone the hell out, that is.

Airhead Streams ‘Autumn,’ Announces Debut LP

Airhead is Rob McAndrews, a childhood friend of James Blake who has jammed in the studio with James and Brian Eno. In other words, yes, he is a musician. And he’s putting out a debut album, For Years on June 11 with R&S Records. Take a listen to the winsome first single, “Autumn,” below.

Matching all the pretty melancholia of the season, “Autumn” is composed of cloudy picked guitar and coy, childlike vocals. Its success is in how it sounds like something recorded outside, with the sun coming through red and golden leaves.

Airhead’s roots, however, as discussed, go far beyond the pastoral lilt and Nick Drake naturalism. Here, for example, is an old fifteen-minute mix for BBC Radio1 he put together with long-time collaborator James Blake, who is forging a new strange path through dubstep.  

Shut Up And Listen To Music About Fog

I know, I know, we’d all prefer to see the sun at least once every fortnight, but the fog blanketing New York today is pretty cool, so just enjoy these foggy-sounding fog songs. (Note: definitely includes John Carpenter’s main theme from beloved horror flick The Fog.)

All Fogged Up And Nowhere To Go 

Beat Happening — "Foggy Eyes"

Craft Spells — "The Fog Rose High"

The Fresh & Onlys — "Fog Machine"

Tim Hecker — "In The Fog I"

Brian Eno — "Events In Dense Fog"

John Carpenter — "Theme from The Fog"

Nosaj Thing — "Fog"

Fossil Collective — "Fog"

Kate Bush — "The Fog"

Azure Ray — "In The Fog"

Parov Stelar, Jerry Di Monza — "The Fog"

Robot Science — "Fog"

For those in a more minimalist mood, here’s all three movements of Tim Hecker’s "In The Fog" together as they flow on the excellent album Ravedeath, 1972. Now go get fogged.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter. Photo by Bex Schwartz.

How To Dress Well Makes Thought-Provoking R&B That Stands On Its Own

Tom Krell is a Colorado-born singer and producer whose haunting vocals, emotionally driven lyrics, and experimental beats can only heard when channeled through his R&B-loving alter-ego, How To Dress Well. He’s an artist who is very concerned about how his music is perceived, and his eagerness for a seal of approval comes across in every track as he pours his heart and soul into every note in the process. We caught up with him to discuss his new album, Total Loss, being compared to Jamie Woon and James Blake, and where he stands in the R&B world.

How To Dress Well—interesting name you’ve got there. How did you come up with it?
When I first starting recording music, I was filing it away in my laptop at a friend’s house. iTunes asked for a name, and there, on the coffee table, were two old books my friend had copped from the bookstore below our flat: How To Photograph Women Beautifully and How To Dress Well. I just picked one, and, since then, everything I’ve recorded has been filed under that name. I can see how some people would find it off-putting or arrogant, but it’s definitely not intended to be. It’s really just a random name.

Random, but cool! As a youngster growing up, which musicians did you draw influence from as you were finding your musical feet?
Like, as a kid, kid? I’d say Michael Jackson, Tevin Campbell, and so on. But then it’s like Brian Eno, Grouper, Feist, Kate Bush, Babyface, Mount Eerie, Nine Inch Nails, Antony, The KLF… Yeah, I’ve been into a lot of different shit.

And you would describe your music how?
Regardless of what genre it’s closest to, I consider HTDW spiritually experimental music. The voice and harmonies are the foundation.

You’ve been compared to the likes of U.K. crooners Jamie Woon and James Blake. What are your honest thoughts on that?
Some comparisons are a bit knee-jerk. I mean, most of them I can certainly understand. However, I do find my music to be more in the plane of Maxwell, Tracy Chapman, Grouper, and Kate Bush, rather than Woon or Blake.

Thanks for clearing that one up! It seems many artists today are almost afraid to put themselves under the R&B bracket, but you don’t seem to mind. What do you think you bring to the genre that is, perhaps, currently missing?
Well, I’m not too quick to place myself under that bracket, either, but I do love a very wide range of R&B artists. And, to that genre, I hope I can bring something thought provoking and heartfelt. I do think that pop-R&B often misses those elements. 

Although you released music before 2010’s Love Remains album, that particular LP got the music world talking a lot. What was it about Love Remains that you think people connected with so much?
I’m glad that a lot of people connected with it. It’s an album about melancholy, and the goal was to portray melancholy, not simply by singing about it, but actually trying to present the affective terrain of melancholy sonically. I think people heard, understood, and felt that intention.

Tell me about your latest project, Total Loss. What was the thought process behind this album?
It’s an album about mourning: mourning the loss of loved ones, love, faith, desire, and hope. And when I say mourning, I mean coming to grips with loss, not getting over it—as I do feel like that’s an impossible task, particularly with death—but learning to live with and grow from it.

Very deep. All right, honestly, do you feel that the mainstream’s ready for what you’re about? 
Man, I really don’t know. I mean, I hope so! I genuinely do. I would love for more people to listen to and find solace in Total Loss.

On a totally different note, who are you listening to right now? Anyone out there who you could see yourself working with down the line?
Right now, as we’re speaking, I’m listening to And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead [laughs]. I was listening to Jeremih before that. Collabs are super exciting, and I hope I get to do some sick ones, but I’m more looking to work with artists, filmmakers, etc.

You’re already off to a great start, but what are your hopes for the future?
I hope these upcoming tours go well, and that people can take something special away from the shows. I want to record, record, record! I’m constantly writing new music. I also hope that I can live fully and love, be in love, and be loved for the rest of my life.

Follow Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson on Twitter.

The Otherworldly, Sensory Experience of William Basinski’s ‘The Disintegration Loops’

The apex of a summer’s magic hour when everything is covered in a haze of sedation—the wee hours of the night as you speed down the highway with nothing but the static sounds of the world buzzing around you, the afternoon you sit atop a roof in September and watch the world fall to pieces—are moments in time that fall in the realm of the ineffable. You live through them and remember them in feelings rather than words, in tastes and textures, occupied by smells and sounds that live inside you in a way that’s beyond comprehension. And it’s in those moments, existing on that alpha wave of existence, that William Basinski’s music lives and breathes. But as all things do, as it lives and breathes it’s also dying one moment at a time. As you fall under the spell of his looped melodies, you can almost see dust collecting and falling down around you like ash. It’s as beautiful and profound as it is heartbreaking and melancholic, and there’s never enough.

For over twenty years now, avant-garde electronic composer William Basinski has been creating his own unique world of sound, but it’s only in last decade that the world has been taken captive. “It took a while for people to get it,” he says, “I tried to release things in the ‘80s but there were no takers. When The Disintegration Loops happened, it just hit. It was something for critics to dig into and launched everything.” Growing up in Texas, Basinski attended prestigious music schools and was classically trained in clarinet and jazz sax but quit to “play around with tape loops.” After being greatly inspired by Brian Eno’s melancholic Music for Airports and the work of Steve Reich, Basinski began experimenting, investigating just how far he could go. “When I started to get encouraging results, I just kept going,” he says. “The piano variations pieces, really…all those loops came from a really bad composition I was trying to do on the piano. I did cut ups randomly looped them and then I started experimenting with those on the machine and just layering. Then I really started getting the results I was dreaming of.”

Speaking to the ineffable quality of his work, namely The Disintegration Loops, and expressing the deeply sensory and emotional effects, he replied, “I don’t know if that’s my music or your synesthesia, but when it’s working, it should work like that. It blows my mind. I don’t know how I did any of this stuff.” Listening to Basinski’s work, whether it be his piano variations, El Camino Real, or The Disintegration Loops, you realize that he plays with time in such away that it almost has an amnesiac effect—you loose a sense of place and time, falling down into an abyss. “That’s what we want to get to, the time machine, the space station,” he says. “In the concerts, I usually do one long set because the whole point is to try and get out of this body and this worry and this nonsense and just take a little vacation, fall in. And forty minutes can go by and it feels like five, so that’s the ideal situation. It’s like meditation, you have some relief, you sort of go back into the womb.”

But for all his creations, it’s The Disintegration Loops and the stunning process from whence they came that has shed light on his years of creation. “I was at a point where I didn’t have any work and I was agonizing over the fact that I was about to be evicted and had no money but it was a beautiful day and I said just get back in there, use this time and continue where you left off with archiving these loops,” admits Basinski on the process. But what happened next was as much as an accident as it was an act of fate. “So this loop comes up and I said, ‘This is perfect and just what I need right now,’ and went to the synthesizer and set up a counter melody and random arpeggiating French horn sounds. It was working really nicely, and I started recording it and sitting there monitoring it, and I went to make some coffee and when I came back, I noticed something was changing.

What happened next was purely accidental. “I looked at the tape deck and could see dust on the tape pad, and the tape was disintegrating as it was going around and around and around,” Basisnki explains. “So I was just like, Oh my God, what’s going to happen? I checked to make sure it was recording; it was, and by the end of the CD, it had pretty much disintegrated. I was pretty blown away so I put the next one on and in it’s own time and it’s own way the same thing started happening.” The result was a massive five-hour work that in itself was a work of nature—a sonic apparition of death and decay of what once was, transforming and giving birth to something new. “I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I called all my friends and said, ‘Get over her! You won’t believe what happened.’ They came over, and my one friend Howard Schwartzburg said, in his Coney Island accent, ‘Billy, oh my gawd! This is it, you’ve done it!’ We just kind of jumped for joy.”

All this occurred late into the summer of 2001, a time of silence just before the world was about to change. On September 11, Basinski was planning on heading down to the World Trade Center to apply for a job when he awoke to see that the towers had been hit. “Everyone that was in New York knows what it was like to be there and not just see it on television. It was shocking and horrifying, and it just got worse and worse. A friend of mine and I had just quit smoking, but that afternoon, after we sat there on the roof and watched both towers collapse, we said, ‘The world was ending. We’re going to get cigarettes.’ So I went to go get some cigarettes and I also bought a videotape. My friend had her camera up on the roof, so we came home and put the loops on really loud and just listened to it and watched what was happening. We didn’t know what was going on, so we listened to the music.”

The next morning, Basinski paired the music—“dlp 1.1”—with the tape his friend had shot. “It was just this incredible elegy,” Basinski says. “I decided I couldn’t make sandwiches; I couldn’t do anything except my work. This is all I can do.” The four frames from the film wound up as the four album covers as Basinski released the pieces one by one. His Disintegration Loops, although not made in direct correlation of 9/11, possess within them a sense of hopelessness and fear as well as the feeling of something grand—something happening in the world that’s bigger than everyone else.

Last year, for the tenth anniversary of September 11, the music was used as part of a commemorative performance held at the Temple of Dendur in the Met and has since been translated into further orchestral pieces by Maxim Moston. This fall, the piece will be inducted into the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. Now, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Disintegration LoopsTemporary Residence has put out a massive limited-edition box set containing all four volumes, rare recordings of the live orchestral performances, the piece remastered on vinyl for the first time, the extremely rare The Disintegration Loops film, and a 144-page full-color coffee table book. And when you think about it, Basinski’s work is essentially the ghost of something that once was, and as it evolves and takes shape in these different forms, it’s as if it just keeps haunting, creating an endless loop of its own.