Thursday, August 10, 2017

Connect the Dots

Fripp Eno Bowie
And so, if you take Eno, put him in the middle and connect the dots, you've got an array like the best spider web you've ever seen. Roxy off to one side, then reconnecting with Phil Manzanera for 801 and Warm Jets; a little west and you've got Exposure which adds Fripp and Peter Gabriel, with whom he also worked with on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Fripp was also there with Fear of Music. Remain in Light shares a connection with Adrian Belew who was also on Lodger, and Belew leads to Trent Reznor and The Downward Spiral. There’s U2 in the mix, of course, in one of the most critically acclaimed LPs of all time (The Joshua Tree) and then there's Laurie Anderson and Coldplay and even the notion that Eno would join XTC in 1980. Brian Eno is the six degrees of separation.

In recent years, Eno has paired with Peter Gabriel to form a musicians' alliance called MUDDA, that cut against the industry grain by letting artists sell their music online instead of only through record labels. With the Internet transforming how people buy and listen to songs, musicians need to act to claim digital music’s future. "Unless artists quickly grasp the possibilities that are available to them, then the rules will get written, and they’ll get written without much input from artists," said Eno, who has a long history of experimenting with technology.

Though Eno or Bowie or Gabriel possess the name, if anyone has a web more complex than Eno's it's Flood (Mark Ellis). Put Flood in the middle, connect the dots and by the time you're finished the paper’s black; there is no "separation." Flood connects most readily with Eno as The Joshua Tree's engineer, with, of course, Eno and Daniel Lanois producing. Nice to start a career as the assistant engineer for New Order's Movement (the most underrated LP in the band’s oeuvre. He was engineer to Nick Cave, finally producing his first LP for Erasure, Wonderland, in 1986 (same year as The Joshua Tree). He'd go on to produce two of the seminal albums of the 80s, Depeche Mode's Violator and Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine. The 90s would prove even more prolific with The Downward Spiral, Achtung, Baby, DM's Songs of Faith and Devotion, Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Killer's Sam's Town and Sigur Rós' Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. With these the connections reach into the new millennium, along the way connecting to Steve Lillywhite, Alan Wilder, Barry Adamson and Steven Wilson.