Enography: The Collected Writings of (and about) Brian Eno

I’ve been reading texts on artist, producer, and self-proclaimed “non-musician” Brian Eno for years, and thought it might be a good idea to start tracking all of the books examining his work in my library. I extracted a list of all Eno-related texts from moredarkthanshark.org and added a few other rare titles from my own archive. Referencing data from my Goodreads account I built a spreadsheet to catalog which texts I’ve read, which I have in physical form, as well as the ones I have as ebooks. I then used an aggregate book search engine to secure physical copies of most of the texts I was missing to build as complete a library as I was able. There are three titles I’ve yet to claim, but they command higher prices than I was ready to import to the States for this first stage of the project.

Pictured below are thirteen of my favorite titles on the subjects of Eno’s work, and ambient and generative music in general. There was a week delay in the project after book #13 was lost in the post and I had to order another copy, but at last I have them all.

I was particularly excited to secure a copy of Sound Unbound published by MIT Press, which compiles essays on sample/mashup/remix culture collected by Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), and which features a Forward by Cory Doctorow, my favorite essayist on the subjects of digital rights activism and copyleftism. And like the Moondog book I recently ordered, it is packaged with a companion compact disc of the works discussed.

Pictured are the following:

Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports by John T. Lysaker
Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music by Christoph Cox
Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds by David Toop
A Year With Swollen Appendices by Brian Eno
Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond by Michael Nyman
Brian Eno: His Music And The Vertical Color Of Sound by Eric Tamm
The Ambient Century by Mark Prendergast
Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture by Paul D. Miller
On Some Faraway Beach: The Life And Times Of Brian Eno by David Sheppard
Another Green World (33 1/3 Series) by Geeta Dayal
Brian Eno: Visual Music by Christopher Scoates
Brian Eno: Oblique Music by Sean Albiez
Music For Installations (companion book to the ltd ed. 2018 9LP vinyl box set) by Brian Eno

as well as the official Oblique Strategies deck Eno produced with artist, Peter Schmidt.

Also read but not pictured: 

Music Beyond Airports – Appraising Ambient Music by Monty Adkins

I really look forward to diving into the yet-unread titles from this indispensable collection. These books will be wonderful company through the chills of winter and shall serve as an intellectually stimulating start to 2020!

02 Brian Eno Book Collection (sm for web)

Christmas in February – Loads of New Content from Fred Deakin!

Fred Deakin is best-known as half of the playfully eclectic downtempo duo Lemon Jelly, as well as one of the founders of the enormously successful and innovative design studio, Airside.

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Airside’s client base included Coca-Cola, D&AD, EMI, Greenpeace, Live Earth, Mastercard, MTV, Nike, Panasonic, Sony, Visa, Vodafone, the Pet Shop Boys and The Beatles and their iconic style is instantly recognizable.

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Deakin also founded Impotent Fury, Lemon Jelly’s own label, (which was also the name of an infamous club night run by Fred where the music genre was chosen by the spin of a wheel.) The label issued 46 official releases plus a few non-label deluxe custom-packaged boots due to uncleared samples issued with Fred’s telltale typeface. These boots have since become highly-sought-after collectibles among Jellyheads.

The first was 2001’s Soft/Rock, a 7″ blue vinyl single in a screenprinted modified denim sleeve constructed from pairs of jeans with a flavored condom in the pocket. The single was limited to 1,000 copies, 15 of which featured hand embroidery by Laura Lees. The singles contained uncleared samples by Chicago and Black Crowes, hence the private release.

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Then in August of 2003, another self-release surfaced titled Rolled/Oats. The single was spray painted gold and screenprinted once again with the classic Jelly font and housed in a hessian (burlap) sleeve. “Rolled” samples “Feel Like Making Love” by Bad Company and is based on “The Curse Of Ka’zar” from their Lost Horizons double LP. “Oats” uses elements of “Closer” with a sample of George Michael’s “Heal The Pain”.

04 Rolled Oats

Lemon Jelly initially issued three EPs, later collected on the beautifully-packaged lemonjelly.ky double LP in 2000.

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This was followed by their debut full-length LP, Lost Horizons in 2002. Each album featured striking packaging design named among countless “greatest album art” lists as well as being featured in Grant Scott’s book, The Greatest Album Covers of All Time. Both of these releases showcased the duo’s spirited, whimsical, and ultra-chilled downtempo style.

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In 2005 a box set of four 10″ LPs was issued titled ’64-’95, with each track prefixed with the year of the sample incorporated into the single. The album is rather different from their previous two releases in that it has a darker sound and is influenced by more modern sounding music. To avoid confusion over the matter, the band included a sticker on the sleeve stating, “This is our new album, it’s not like our old album.” The album closer, “Go” featured vocals by William Shatner.

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Fred also produced over one hundred mixes and DJ sessions during and after his time with Lemon Jelly, many of which were featured by BBC 6 Music and the Breezeblock. Each set seamlessly wove together deep cuts and musical oddities of Balearica, funk, hip hop, soul, dub, reggae, swing, and an array of leftfield oddities which always kept the listener engaged and guessing as to what was around the next sonic corner.

An official release of this nature was eventually issued in 2007 by Impotent Fury – Fred Deakin Presents: The Triptych, a three-CD set of everything from folk rock to break/broken beat, jazzdance, country, deep and Euro house, neo-soul, gospel, and more.

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And the following year, a two-CD set premiered titled Nu Balearica packed with Balearic Beat and Nu-Disco choons.

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I spent the early 2000s compiling about one hundred and ten of the various mixes and sessions Fred had touched, right down to the demo cassette he’d recorded in the late nineties when running the club Impotent Fury. And in 2011 and 12 Fred resurfaced under the pseudonym Frank Eddie (once again due to uncleared samples) and issued five limited 7″ singles in geometrically designed screenprinted sleeves.

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The complete set was issued as a CD album called, Let’s Be Frank in 2012.

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Fred also applied the Frank Eddie moniker to a special remix of English boy band, East 17’s “Stay Another Day” for a heartwarming farewell music video to mark the retirement of their Airside design company. A gorgeous 296pp coffee table book, Airside by Airside was published by Gestalten telling the story of their evolution and is certainly on my wish list for this year.

12 Airside by Airside book

This project tapered off after the Jellyhead forum went dormant and things quieted down for a few years, until a few days ago when, on a whim, I revisited Fred’s page on Rateyourmusic.com. There I noticed a curious title I’d not previously encountered – Come Dance With Me Sweetheart dated 2016. I did a little searching around and by the day’s end, (thanks to a fellow Jellyhead who has been archiving all Lemon Jelly material from the source tapes for nearly two decades), had 19 additional DJ sessions which had surfaced since I’d last stopped collecting. It was like Christmas! I quickly assembled a 25-hour playlist of all the new-to-me Jelly content and am having a blast exploring it all!

And revisiting The Triptych, I began to research the deeper cuts from the mix and found one funky track, Billy Hawk’s “O’ Baby (I Believe I’m Losing You)” appears on a sublabel comp of BGP (Beat Goes Public) Records. The label has issued three series that look worth a listen.

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Super Breaks is a set of six double LPs and albums showcasing essential funk, soul, jazz samples, and breakbeats. There is also the SuperFunk series of twelve releases and a third set of four albums branded as Funk Soul Sisters. These might be just what I’m after for more deep cuts.

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Another of my favorite classic Jelly mixes, Breezeblock – 20th September 1999, includes the Public Enemy / Herb Alpert mashup, “Rebel Without A Pause (Whipped Cream Mix)” which a quick search revealed was by The Evolution Control Committee, Mark Gunderson’s plunderphonics project. Mark collaborated with The Bran Flakes on the Raymond Scott Rewired project issued by Basta Records which I absolutely must check out, along with a deeper exploration of other related artists like Emergency Broadcast Network, Escape Mechanism, The Tape-beatles, as well as my complete archives of the works of Negativland, John Oswald, and selected works from People Like Us (who collaborated with Matmos and Wobbly).

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It’s truly remarkable to live in a time when a few simple Google searches yield days of rewarding listening. Here’s my Lemon Jelly and related album collection to date, in addition to the 129 digital albums and DJ sessions I’ve collected that are so generously shared among fellow Jellyheads.

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17 Lemon Jelly and Sundae Club Collecton (2 of 2).jpg