Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI (/ˈiːnoʊ/; born 15 May 1948 and originally christened Brian Peter George Eno) is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer, writer, and visual artist. He is best known for his pioneering work in ambient music and contributions to rock, pop, electronic, and generative music. A self-described “non-musician”, Eno has helped to introduce a variety of unique conceptual approaches and recording techniques into contemporary music, advocating a methodology of “theory over practice” throughout his career. He has been described as one of popular music‘s most influential and innovative figures.
Born in Suffolk, Eno studied painting and experimental music at the art school at Ipswich Civic College in the mid 1960s and then at Winchester School of Art. He joined glam rock group Roxy Music as synthesiser player in 1971. After recording two albums with the band, he departed in 1973 to record a number of solo albums, coining the term “ambient music” to describe his work on releases such as Another Green World (1975), Discreet Music (1975), and Music for Airports (1978). Meanwhile, he took part in frequent collaborations with artists such as Robert Fripp, Cluster, Harold Budd, David Bowie on his “Berlin Trilogy“, and David Byrne, as well as beginning a parallel career as a producer, which included work on albums by Talking Heads and Devo, the ‘no wave‘ compilation No New York (1978), and recordings by artists including John Cale, Jon Hassell, Laraaji, and Budd amongst others.
Since then, Eno has continued to record solo albums whilst also collaborating with and producing other artists, including U2, Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, Slowdive, Coldplay, James Blake, and Damon Albarn. Dating back to his time as a student, he has also worked in other media, including sound installations and his mid-70s co-development of Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards featuring cryptic aphorisms intended to spur creative thinking. From the 1970s onwards, Eno’s installations have included the sails of the Sydney Opera House in 2009 and the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank in 2016. An advocate of a range of humanitarian causes, Eno writes on a variety of subjects and is a founder member of the Long Now Foundation.