Do what you like
At World Headquarters we love Brian Eno. It’s really hard to know where to begin in speaking about him, as he has been such a massive & pivotal influence on us.
It’s not overstating it in the slightest, to say that without Brian’s influence & inspiration, there might never have even been a World Headquarters Club in the first place.
Make it seem simple
Have you any idea what massive job the creation of this website has been..?
We've had such a laugh doing it & that's 'cos we're approached it how we think Brian would.
We did it in layers. Draft text first, then image selection, then captions, then text edits, then endless layers of text tweaks, etc., etc. We build the layers one on top of the other. So we never know exactly what we will end up with, until it's finished & hopefully a real lasting, unconventional, artistic thing.
So, what we will do here, is start (our worship) at the beginning of Brian's illustrious career.
For those of you who like us, are already Brian fans, please bear with us. There are still a lot of people who are not in tune his work & we are gonna share what he means to us with them, to turn them on to him too.
Brian & Roxy Music
Roxy Music were not always the cod, mainstream band that they ended up as. When they first came out, they were far out & totally fresh & new. Think of them & you’ll think of Brian Ferry…
When we think of them & the records they made that we hold dear & that have truly stood the test of time, we think of Brian Eno.
As a founder member of the band, he gave them that glam, art school experimental attitude, that they rocked in the early days when they actually mattered.
Once he left in 1973, he took the experimental vision of the band with him, going on to change the face of modern music & art.
Meanwhile Mr Ferry & chums, simply plodded off towards mainstream success. These days drifting off into their current location, totally irrelevant & languishing in divorcee, Mother’s Day compilationland.
Another Green World
Post Roxy Music, Brian then embarked on a truly remarkable solo career. Throughout the rest of the 70’s, he recorded arty type albums & stuff that was at all times interesting, far out & experimental.
Our favourite album from around this golden & prolific period, is called Another Green World.
We listen to it every day in Summertime every year & have heard it thousands of times without ever tiring of it. It’s totally beautiful & unlike anything else you will ever hear.
It’s a great album to get into, especially if you find yourself facing the difficulty of breaking up with a friend you really love. It’s reflective, has plenty of space & there is always – Another Green World.
It's an album that is kinda fascinating in a sonic way, with so many layers & textures. Honestly, give this a listen & turn it up. Right from the opening track, it's astounding..!
Brian is a rubbish singer & he sings on a lot of his early albums, in a way that on tracks like on 'Sky Saw' makes them sound really odd. But he’s a genius, so he’s allowed.
Brian & Ambient Music
Ambient music has made acts like Aphex Twin & numerous other half-baked chancers, wads of loot in recent times. It was Brian Eno who single handedly pioneered this concept in the 1970’s.
His revolutionary masterworks in this field include both the seminal & timeless – Ambient One : Music for Airports & the astoundingly lush & beautiful, Ambient Two : The Plateaux of Mirror which also features twiddly piano bits by Harold Budd.
These are essential records & if you do not own them then you are only living half a life. Of the two, Plateaux of Mirror is our favourite one & we listen to this recording all of the time, as it is on continuous repeat in our kitchen 24 hours a day.
Both of these landmark recordings are as ignorable as they are listenable & they provide the ultimate, in calm, reflective music, that would most probably be pigeonholed as Chill Out, were these two outstanding records released today.
They paint our world & colour in our lives. They also calm excitable animals & they soothe your soul.
Brian did a lot more ambient works, collaborating with many great artists, but we are not overstating things when we say that we & our dog, could not live without those two particular recordings.
We have literally heard them thousands & thousands of times & will continue to listen to one or the other of them, at the very least daily, most probably right up until the minute we drop dead.
Brian & David Bowie
Let’s face it kids, the whole Bowie thing is a page in itself & we have to be allowed to eat & sleep sometime, so we will take a raincheck & cover that one another day…
In relation to our Brian though, he worked, collaborating with David Bowie on some of his finest & most groundbreaking albums, the genre defying & era defining… Low, Heroes & Lodger.
He didn’t do all the production on them, as Tony Visconti was also involved, but he contributes to them greatly & his influence is quite literally, smeared all over all three of them.
Low especially, can only really be seen as a Bowie / Eno album, such is the influence of Brian on it. Brian brought new sound treatments & joined up the dots, between the experimental Berlin sounds of bands like Kraftwerk & David’s mad take on things. These 3 albums are properly out there.
The group of artists involved in these recordings, included the revolutionary guitar players Robert Fripp & Adrian Belew, who crop up throughout Brian’s work around this time & during his astoundingly far out, Talking Heads period.
Brian & Talking Heads
For many people this band were their first conscious point of contact with Brian. From the late 70’s he’d produced Talking Heads albums, including the seminal Fear of Music which includes Life During Wartime a WHQ anthem.
Also on there were the first rumblings of this collaboration’s soon to come intricate funk fascinations, the outrageous groove – I Zimbra.
The production on Fear of Music was a major step up for the Talking Heads & it is no coincidence, that this took place because they had hooked up with Brian.
Remain in Light changes music forever
The critics loved it & went ballistic, but it was with Remain in Light in 1980, that with Brian’s production guidance, Talking Heads hit the point of superstardom. As a record it was just so different to anything that had ever gone before…
Brian was producing like a fiend at this point & took the band into a multilayered world of African beats & stunningly mind blowing intricate funk.
The crazy thing was, he did it all by layering beats & rhythmic patterns in quite simplistic ways, creating grooves that were earth shatteringly complex.
Everyone has heard the album’s biggest smash, Once in a Lifetime & as you listen to it again now, with fresh ears, it’s hard to imagine any way it could be improved upon even now, with all the technology that exists, forty whole years since it’s release.
Other tracks like Born under Punches & The Great Curve add to & take this record & Brian’s production of it into hyperspace.
As with so many of the projects Brian has been involved in, he collaborates with the band on the production duties, acting as judge & catalyst, to make the magic happen.
Check out this far-out live version of The Great Curve with the insane Adrian Belew on guitar...
Have a listen to Remain In Light today & you’ll be stunned. When you do, make sure you keep your ears open for Listening Wind, which was apparently, originally a comment on Native American resistance.
Given how appropriate it also is to the current state of affairs in Iraq & Afghanistan today, the lyrics are so prophetic, as to be bonafide spooky.
Brian & other collaborators
Brian has also produced many other acts, as diverse as Robert Fripp, Grace Jones & Devo.
He produced all of U2’s best albums & more recently the Coldplay bedwetters had their musical credibility restored, by the magical hand of Saint Brian. Check this panel's assessment & advice re their earlier recordings...
So even though you might never have realised it, you probably already dig at least some of Brian’s varied & more widely known work.
The Clock of the Long Now
A few years ago we saw an interview with Brian where he was discussing his involvement with a clock that is being built. We paid attention, as it sounded like a really mad idea. It was called the Clock of the Long Now.
This clock isn’t going to measure time in just the normal denominations that we’re all used to, like minutes, hours & days. Instead it is going to be in years & decades, right up to millennia. The idea is to challenge the kind of short term thinking people have today, where they get bored if they’re asked to focus on things longer than a 3 minute pop video.
He made the point that few people think beyond the life of a government & that this was a major factor in our destruction of the natural world. Thinking & living in the moment has advantages at times, but as a collection of cultures, the western world is currently consuming every one of this Planet’s dwindling resources, at a scary, unsustainable & alarming rate.
The idea of the Clock was to encourage a far more balanced view of time & context in all our lives. It was an interesting concept, he put the idea over very well & made a big impact on us.
77 Million Paintings
Brian brought his highly acclaimed 77 Million Paintings Exhibition to the Baltic Art Gallery in Gateshead some years ago. We had read all about it & were really excited to go & see it up close.
This was the first time we had ever seen him exhibit his work in the North East & it was without question, the single most beautiful & amazing thing we’d ever seen in our entire lives.
We sat all day watching it slowly change & it blew our minds. It was so beautiful, at points we were overcome. The idea of harnessing computers to the end of creating beauty, sounds stupid. But it isn’t. Brian toured the World with this & you couldn’t help but be blown away by it.
Here's a clip from the Madrid show, where Brian chats a bit too...
It’s a shame the Baltic couldn’t have shown it for a lot longer & also a shame, that as with so many of the exhibitions they have there, they simply seemed to rely upon the artist’s name to sell it. No way did they put the hustle into the promotion, that a show of this magnitude merited.
As a result, we felt it wasn’t properly advertised. This meant many ordinary people, who were not either on the Baltic’s mailing list, or bearded luvvies on the North East Fart Scene, had no idea this exhibition was even on.
Lots of local people were therefore robbed, of this once in a lifetime opportunity, to see the breathtakingly spectacular 77 Million Paintings.
It was a success for the Baltic, but not for the people that live here who missed it. If you didn’t see 77 Million Paintings that's a real shame & kinda illustrates the point we’ve just made.
The day we went & saw 77 Million Paintings we were truly amazed & our lives changed a bit, forever.
Pay him a visit
Check to see what Brian is up to today by clicking here.
The Attitude of the Man
So as you have probably now gathered, we are into Brian Eno. He is our favourite artist because has done so many meaningful, special & wonderful things. He's done way more then we've covered here, we didn't even dip in to all his film music, so finding out about that can be your homework.
Alongside all this, he was an open & assertive critic of the Iraq war, highlighting his willingness to speak out about political issues & wrong doing, that affect the world we live in.
The inspiration he has single handedly given us is immeasurable. He taught us to appreciate true beauty in art & music & the value of working & collaborating with talented people.
He also helped us to believe that we could do things our own way, without paying any attention to what other people might think is right or acceptable.
That infectious attitude has led us to think outside the box & develop WHQ at our own pace, in our own way. Rejecting populist trends & relying instead, on our own unique ideas & traditions.
Be like Brian – Do what you like.