Brian Eno’s Beautiful New Turntable Glows & Constantly Changes Colors as It Plays

When we think of Bri­an Eno’s work, we first think of his records. These include not just his own clas­sics of “ambi­ent music” — a term he pop­u­lar­ized — like Dis­creet Music and Music for Air­ports, but also the albums he’s pro­duced: Devo’s Q. Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Talk­ing Heads’ Remain in Light, U2’s The Joshua Tree, David Bowie’s Out­side. Yet even before he got into music, Eno was paint­ing, and in some sense, he’s nev­er stopped. He was describ­ing his work with sound as the cre­ation of “imag­i­nary land­scapes” even in the nine­teen-eight­ies; in this cen­tu­ry, he’s con­tin­ued to put out records while cre­at­ing ever-more-high-pro­file works of a more visu­al nature, from instal­la­tions to apps.

A few years ago, Eno even got into the busi­ness of func­tion­al sculp­ture, design­ing a turntable that emanates LED light of var­i­ous, grad­u­al­ly shift­ing col­ors while it plays records. “The light from it was tan­gi­ble as if caught in a cloud of vapor,” said Eno about his ear­ly expe­ri­ence with the fin­ished prod­uct, quot­ed at design­boom upon the announce­ment of its lim­it­ed pro­duc­tion run in 2021.

“We sat watch­ing for ages, trans­fixed by this total­ly new expe­ri­ence of light as a phys­i­cal pres­ence.” Now comes the sequel, Eno’s Turntable II, which will be pro­duced in equal­ly restrict­ed num­bers.  “Those who can afford one of the 150 lim­it­ed units also receive the musician’s sig­na­ture and edi­tion num­ber engraved on the side of the neon turntable’s base,” says design­boom.

Eno’s turntable design recent­ly drew atten­tion as the inspi­ra­tion for U2’s stage set dur­ing their res­i­den­cy at Las Vegas’ brazen new venue The Sphere. In the home, it serves mul­ti­ple func­tions: “When it doesn’t have to do any­thing in par­tic­u­lar, like play a record, it is a sculp­ture,” Eno says, “and when it’s in action, it’s a gen­er­a­tive art­work. Sev­er­al over­lap­ping light cycles will keep pro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent col­or bal­ances and blends — and dif­fer­ent shad­ow for­ma­tions that slow­ly evolve and nev­er exact­ly repeat.” Die-hard fans who know how long Eno has been fol­low­ing this artis­tic and intel­lec­tu­al thread may con­sid­er Turntable II’s £20,000 (or more than $25,000 USD) price tag almost rea­son­able. And next to the $60,000 Linn Son­dek LP12 Jony Ive redesigned last year, it’s prac­ti­cal­ly a bar­gain.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Bri­an Eno Explains the Ori­gins of Ambi­ent Music

Watch Bri­an Eno’s “Video Paint­ings,” Where 1980s TV Tech­nol­o­gy Meets Visu­al Art

Bri­an Eno on Cre­at­ing Music and Art As Imag­i­nary Land­scapes (1989)

Bri­an Eno Shares His Crit­i­cal Take on Art & NFTs: “I Main­ly See Hus­tlers Look­ing for Suck­ers”

World Records: New Pho­to Exhib­it Pays Trib­ute to the Era of Vinyl Records & Turnta­bles

Piz­za Box Becomes a Playable DJ Turntable Through the Mag­ic of Con­duc­tive Ink

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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