Hear 150 Tracks Highlighting Brian Eno’s Career as a Musician, Composer & Producer & Stream His 2015 John Peel Lecture

How does “non-musi­cian” musi­cian, for­mer Roxy Music mem­ber, Talk­ing Heads, U2, and Cold­play pro­duc­er, and visu­al artist Bri­an Eno define art itself? “Every­thing that you don’t have to do.” He has expand­ed elo­quent­ly on that sim­ple but high­ly clar­i­fy­ing notion in speech and writ­ing many times over the past cou­ple of decades, and this past Sun­day he made it the intel­lec­tu­al cen­ter­piece of the fifth annu­al John Peel Lec­ture, a series named for the influ­en­tial BBC DJ and whose past speak­ers have includ­ed Pete Town­shend, Bil­ly Bragg, Char­lotte Church, and Iggy Pop.

You can hear Eno’s intro­duc­tion to his talk at the top of the post, stream the talk itself with­in the next 25 days at the BBC’s site, and read a tran­script here. All of the John Peel Lec­tur­ers so far have dis­cussed the rela­tion­ship between music and wider human cul­ture, and Eno has plen­ty of sto­ries to tell about his own career in both music and the wider cul­tur­al realm: the impor­tance of his time in art school, how he fell into per­form­ing with Roxy Music, how a relax­ation of the band’s “strict non-drug” pol­i­cy result­ed in one “hilar­i­ous­ly chaot­ic” per­for­mance, and how John Peel him­self pre­miered his first album with Robert Fripp on the radio — by acci­den­tal­ly play­ing it back­ward.

All this will inspire even the most Eno-famil­iar fan to revis­it the man’s cat­a­log of record­ed works, which you can eas­i­ly do with the Spo­ti­fy playlist “Touched by the Hand of Eno,” fea­tur­ing “150 tracks hand­picked from 150 albums/EPs/singles that cred­it Eno as com­pos­er, instru­men­tal­ist, vocal­ist, mix­ing engi­neer, or pro­duc­er, sort­ed in chrono­log­i­cal order.” (If you need to down­load Spo­ti­fy’s free soft­ware, you’ll find it here.) The playlist includes cuts from Eno’s own albums, of course, but also those of Roxy Music, Gen­e­sis, Ultra­vox, David Bowie, Talk­ing Heads, U2, Depeche Mode, Lau­rie Ander­son, Cold­play, and many more. And after you’ve vir­tu­al­ly flipped through these selec­tions from Eno’s body of work, you can watch Eno flip through phys­i­cal selec­tions from Peel’s library of records just above. Sure, you don’t have to do any of this — if any­one can explain to you why you should, Eno can.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jump Start Your Cre­ative Process with Bri­an Eno’s “Oblique Strate­gies”

Revis­it the Radio Ses­sions and Record Col­lec­tion of Ground­break­ing BBC DJ John Peel

Bri­an Eno Lists 20 Books for Rebuild­ing Civ­i­liza­tion & 59 Books For Build­ing Your Intel­lec­tu­al World

Lis­ten to “Bri­an Eno Day,” a 12-Hour Radio Show Spent With Eno & His Music (Record­ed in 1988)

When Bri­an Eno & Oth­er Artists Peed in Mar­cel Duchamp’s Famous Uri­nal

Prof. Iggy Pop Deliv­ers the BBC’s 2014 John Peel Lec­ture on “Free Music in a Cap­i­tal­ist Soci­ety”

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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