Geeta Dayal’s book on in the 33.3 series is a bit slight, and doesn’t really go into the depth one would want about the record, but it is full of lovely Eno quotes, which is mainly what I dwelt on.
“Over the years, Eno has generally preferred to make records that exist On Land, not in space. Instead of propelling us into far-flung galaxies, his music coaxes us to reconsider our everyday surroundings”
“”I was thinking about escaping,” Eno recalled to Ian McDonald in the NME two years after making the album, in 1977. “I read a science fiction story a long time ago where these people are exploring space and they finally find this habitable planet – and it turns out to be identical to Earth in every detail. And I thought that was the supreme irony: that they’d originally left to find something better and arrived in the end – which was actually the same place. Which is how I feel about myself. I’m always trying to project myself at a tangent and always seem eventually to arrive back at the same place. It’s a loop.
You can’t actually escape.”
Page 11 (lyrics to “The Seven Deadly Finns”)
Although variety is the spice of life
A steady rhythm is the source
Simplicity is the crucial thing
Systematically of course
(work it all out like Norbert Weiner)
Page 15 (on Roy Ascott‘s leadership of Ipswich Art College)
“We were set project that we could not understand, criticised on bases that we did not even recognise as relevant”
Page 23, Artist Judy Nylon
“Sometimes not having enough money is good, because you don’t end up throwing a million dollars at a five-cent idea.”
Page 27, from Stafford Beer‘s “The brain of the firm“
“instead of trying to specify it in full detail, you specify it only somewhat. You then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.”
“Everyone thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head – they somehow formed in his head – and all he had to do was write them down, and they would kind of be manifest to the world. But what I think is so interesting, and what would really be a lesson that everybody should learn, is that things come out of nothing. Things evolve out of nothing. You know, that the tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest. And then the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing. And I think this would be important for people to understand, because it gives people confidence in their own lives that that’s how things work.
If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted – they have these wonderful things in their head but you’re not one of them, you’re just a normal sort of person, you could never do anything like that – then you live a different kind of life. You could have another kind of like, where you say, well, I know that things come from nothing very much and start from unpromising beginnings. And I’m an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.”
Eno’s playfulness in the studio was key. “My quick guide to Captain Eno: play, instinct/intuition, good taste,” wrote Robert Fripp in an e-mail. “Eno demonstrated his intelligence by concentrating his interests away from live work; and his work persists, and continues to have influence. The key to Brian, from my view, is his sense of play. I only know one other person (a musician) who engages with play to the same extent as Brian. Although Eno is considered an intellectual, and clearly he has more than sufficient wit, it’s Brian’s instinctive and intuitive choices that impress me. Instinct puts us in the moment, intellect is slower”
Eno mixed it up in the studio at around the time of Another Green World in other ways. “Sometimes you’d be into something really intense, you’d be working on a piece of music and discussing it, and then he’d say ‘Anybody want some cake?’” said Percy Jones. “Eno would pull out a cake and he cut up slices of cake, and everyone would eat some cake, and then we’d forget about all the creative process!”