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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Roxy Music's Eno makes solo return
Brian Eno
Eno invented ambient music while bed-ridden after an accident
Brian Eno - one of the most influential producers of his generation - has told the BBC how the advent of new technology persuaded him to make his first solo vocal album for 15 years.

Eno's career dates back to the 1970s, when he was a member of Roxy Music, and he is renowned as the creator of ambient music popular in documentaries and advertising.

He told BBC World Service's The Music Biz that he "gave up" writing songs for a long period after he "lost faith in the form" - period dating from the early 1990s until his new release, Another Day On Earth.

But recently he was inspired by new technology which enables voices to be used and manipulated in a way that had not previously been possible.

He describes these "auto-tuning devices" as "altering the gender and the pitch of the voice, so that you could sound like a high-pitched female instead of a man with a cold - which is what I actually am."

"So suddenly, singing started to become interesting to me again."

"Instead of the singer being somebody presenting their own personality, you could be like a playwright who invents a character and then has them play a part."

Recording technology

Eno, who has collaborated with U2, Talking Heads and David Bowie in a career spanning over 30 years, said that working on a vocal album has shed light on how important the instrumental role is.

David Bowie
Bowie has collaborated with producer Eno in the past

"For me the recording studio is such an amazing invention," he said.

He believes most people do not realise how a studio works, imagining that people "walk into a room with lots of microphones and sing and play - and that's how the record is made".

But Eno argues that this only happens with about 20% of records.

"They're more like paintings - they're made over a long period of time," he said.

"They're not single performances, and they're made by people sticking things together, adjusting things and changing things."

Strict deadlines

He also spoke about the "craft" of creating the record.

While the first song on the album was made in less than a day, another was worked on periodically over six years.

"In order to ever release anything, you have to say to yourself, 'by that date, I will have a record out' - otherwise I'd never release anything."

"Sometimes you just happen to hit lucky, and the ingredients all fall into place, and you've got enough excitement to carry the thing through," he said.

Grace Jones
Eno is set to work with singer and actress Grace Jones

Eno has huge numbers of CDs containing tracks he has never released, and estimates he has only released four percent of everything he has recorded.

"I have a huge rejection rate - so when I die, they're going to have a party, with all those posthumous albums," said Eno.

The producer is now working with singer Grace Jones and Tony Allan, a drummer who Eno described as "the most important musician of the last 50 years" who "invented" Afro-beat.

He also believes Arabic pop music will be the "next reggae".

"It will be the next outside-type music that sweeps the culture," he added.

"Everyone will be listening to it, thinking it's cool."

Eno's musical evolution
23 Apr 01 |  Entertainment
Roxy Music to reform
26 Jan 01 |  Entertainment


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