Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by mama. » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:45 pm

its driving me nuts whats this brian eno track at 4:30 in this video??? I love it to death want a high quality version


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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by Esus » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:12 pm

mama. wrote:its driving me nuts whats this brian eno track at 4:30 in this video??? I love it to death want a high quality version

It's Deep Blue Day from Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks. It was also used in For All Mankind.
I'm pretty sure Daniel Lanois is playing the pedal steel part. I saw him with Tortoise a few years ago, and about half of his set was on the steel. He also plays quite a bit like this on Here Is What Is.
Last edited by Esus on Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by b3groover » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:22 pm

As has been stated earlier in this thread, much of Eno's sound and genius comes from his ability to use effects and processing to make incredible timbres and soundscapes. Back in the 70s he called this "Enossification", like in the credits to the Genesis album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". He could probably take the blandest of synths and the result would be the same.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by Richard Gear » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:54 pm

He has also recorded elements of nature like the sounds of rocks for his Ambient 4 'On Land' epic recording. And I guess we're all aware of his loop technique consisting of recording on tape synth melodies splicing the tapes at different lengths and looping them from various tape machines - infinite ambient loops.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by colmon » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:43 am

+1 for citing On Land :headbang:

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by Naive Teen Idol » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:11 pm

b3groover wrote:As has been stated earlier in this thread, much of Eno's sound and genius comes from his ability to use effects and processing to make incredible timbres and soundscapes. Back in the 70s he called this "Enossification", like in the credits to the Genesis album "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". He could probably take the blandest of synths and the result would be the same.
While I get your point about processing, I really don't agree with the fundamental idea that "the result would be the same" regardless of what synth he used. Eno is legendarily particular about the sounds he chooses -- and how he arrives at them. Processing is a part of that—and I should have mentioned it in the OP—but so is the sound source.
In some cases, the sound source isn't a synth at all, but rather a guitar (one he never replaced the strings on). FWIW, I find his Music for Films records to be very instructive regarding his late-70s/early-80s process for developing sounds. Lots of varispeed and treatments. Very cool.

Quick question regarding treatments and processing, actually: does anyone know how he did the "Sky Saw" guitar treatments for Fripp? For the aforementioned "Beauty and the Beast," if memory serves, he used the Synthi (maybe the VCS3, which is essentially the same thing) -- but it sounds to my ears as if maybe he fed the signal out of the mixing board and back into the synth.

You can hear it here:



Does anyone have any further insight?

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by balma » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:59 pm

I always have loved Brian Eno's use of a discrete studio to create amazing works. He does not have Jarre's or Vince Clarke's studio, but he goes very deep into his machines, like no one else.

I always knew him as the master of the DX7. I wonder what he used to create the amazing intro of "Where the streets have no name" from U2.

His Depeche Mode's mixes are simple fabulous.

Millions and millions of persons around the world have listened Brian Eno, some of them listen Eno every single day. . His sound is buried strongly into our subconcious. Know why?
His sex dungeons are rumored to hold hundreds of people in secret locations around the world.
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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by MindMachine » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:32 pm

The 'Digital Recall' system and synthesizer used for Discreet Music are his EMS Synthi AKS. The KS in AKS stands for Keyboard Sequencer. That is what makes the AKS not a Synthi A (attache'). The KS was before the Oberheim DS-1 as far as I know. Anyway, that is what was used 99.9% sure.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by mute » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:28 am

IIRC, he used the 2600 extensively for processing guitars and other sources on U2's Achtung Baby and James/Eno's Wah-Wah. Similar sounds also pop-up on his remix work during DM's Songs of Faith and Devotion period... listening to Eno's production and mixing work in the early/mid 90s you hear alot of this sort of sound, and imo Flood nic'd it for his 'sound'.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by LBN » Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:25 pm

One of my favorite stories about Brian Eno comes from an interview with Warren Cann of Ultravox. I like it particularly because it illustrates Eno's abstract approach to the instruments and probably indicates a similar abstract approach to music.
What we discovered was that Brian was - AT THAT TIME - actually quite naive in the area of technical expertise, it was not his forte. In the first days in the studio together (Brian came in after we'd already recorded the bulk of the material), I remember looking at his Mini-Moog synthesizer. It was the first one I'd ever gotten my hands on and he had all these little pieces of tape stuck by the keys with the names of the notes written on them, plus little pictures stuck on adjacent to some of the control knobs. I pointed to a cute picture of a sheep and asked, "What's that mean?" He replied, "Well, I don't know what that knob does but, when I turn it, it makes the sound 'wooly', so the picture of the sheep (sheep...wool...get it?) reminds me..." I was quite taken aback, I didn't know what to say to that! I think I just nodded and said, "Umm... good idea!" From that moment on, I had a very strong suspicion that Brian was not the technical master we'd had in mind!

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by Esus » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:46 pm

MindMachine wrote:The 'Digital Recall' system and synthesizer used for Discreet Music are his EMS Synthi AKS. The KS in AKS stands for Keyboard Sequencer. That is what makes the AKS not a Synthi A (attache'). The KS was before the Oberheim DS-1 as far as I know. Anyway, that is what was used 99.9% sure.
That makes sense, since he was well known for playing EMS synths at the time. But the AKS was digital and not analog? Maybe "digital" meant "digits". :)
LBN wrote:One of my favorite stories about Brian Eno comes from an interview with Warren Cann of Ultravox. I like it particularly because it illustrates Eno's abstract approach to the instruments and probably indicates a similar abstract approach to music.
What we discovered was that Brian was - AT THAT TIME - actually quite naive in the area of technical expertise, it was not his forte. In the first days in the studio together (Brian came in after we'd already recorded the bulk of the material), I remember looking at his Mini-Moog synthesizer. It was the first one I'd ever gotten my hands on and he had all these little pieces of tape stuck by the keys with the names of the notes written on them, plus little pictures stuck on adjacent to some of the control knobs. I pointed to a cute picture of a sheep and asked, "What's that mean?" He replied, "Well, I don't know what that knob does but, when I turn it, it makes the sound 'wooly', so the picture of the sheep (sheep...wool...get it?) reminds me..." I was quite taken aback, I didn't know what to say to that! I think I just nodded and said, "Umm... good idea!" From that moment on, I had a very strong suspicion that Brian was not the technical master we'd had in mind!
Eno apparently had that approach to everything. This sounds like a variation of his Oblique Strategies concept.
According to Mark Vail's Vintage Synthesizers, when Eno would send his synths in for repair, he'd attach notes to them, instructing the tech "don't touch this" or "don't change that", even if they seemed broken.

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by Micke » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:12 pm

The KS sequencer (1972) was indeed digital, a scaled down version of the EMS 256 sequencer (1971-72, a stand-alone version of the six-track digital sequencer in the Synthi 100). The Oberheim DS-2 was commercially released in 1974 but afaik it was already available by mid 1973**. Not sure when it was replaced with the DS-2a but I'm guessing around 1975 or thereabouts.

** Julian Priester's album "Love, Love" features the DS-2 and it was recorded in the summer of 1973. That album additionally features a prototype ARP string synthesizer, about a year prior to the release of the ARP/Solina string ensemble. ARP gave the string synth to synthesist Pat Gleeson for evaluation: "It was quick and easy--no buttons to push--and for its time the string approximation wasn't too bad. It got better if I ran it through the String Filter that I had Bob Moog make for me based on some violin acoustics research of Carleen Hutchins".
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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by tim gueguen » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:27 pm

I don't know if I'd take any stories about Eno's technical compitence or lack thereof at face value. Given some of his other working methods I wouldn't put it past him to behave in whatever way he suspects will get the best results from whoever he's working with. Although he's often refered to himself as a non-musician even in the early Roxy days he seemed to have a pretty good idea of what he was doing. There's a clip on YouTube of "Remake, Remodel" from German TV where he doesn't seem to have any trouble playing a 4 bar solo.
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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by solaristica » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:09 pm

The comment by the guy from Ultravox, in my opinion, only stresses how talented he is... No need to know all the technical stuff inside out; in the end what matters to him is what he makes with it... just notice that in the newer pieces he seems to use Logic built in synths, and samplers only (although yes, it is true, his newer stuff is not nearly as interesting as the older one).

The synth parts in Another Green World are magic, and I listen to them thinking how they are perfect examples of analog synth sound... The pad in "Becalmed" is so beautiful. On Land is also another great album.

It's kind of incredible to hear that he didn't like the Prophet 5, when so many of the pads in his first album with Jon Hassel (by the way, absolute masterpiece that album is) are also truly wonderful...

Regarding the DX7. Over and over I read, and see videos of him talking about how he doesn't need an instrument with so many options... To me, like others said here, he sort of has only a couple of sounds from it, a sine, bell-like piano thing, and another sine, resonating pad... the variation comes from the processing...

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Re: Here We Discuss Brian Eno's Use of Vintage Synths

Post by emonbot » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:17 pm



guitar into Synthi

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