Authorised biography of Brian Eno - the 'Father of Ambient Music'
A sonic alchemist to the stars, Brian Eno's address book is a veritable who's who of rock and pop. Tellingly, his involvement with Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2 has coincided with these artists producing their most challenging and critically revered work.
ON SOME FARAWAY BEACH is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno, from an idiosyncratic childhood to 1960s art school and the sharp end of pop charts around the world.
Sheppard (Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen) aims to "reclaim Eno from the Eno nerds" who've turned the musician/producer into a cultish figure, and though respectful of his subject's legacy, he rarely succumbs to outright worship. A large chunk of the biography recounts Eno's British art school roots and his first major music gig, as the synthesizer player for Roxy Music, where his flamboyance quickly made him even more prominent than lead singer Brian Ferry. Sheppard writes smartly about Eno's subsequent solo work and his forays into producing albums for artists like David Bowie and Talking Heads and extensive interviews and research bring out captivating backstories: it's worth noting that almost nobody, including Eno himself, thought he'd be a good fit to work with U2, until The Joshua Tree became one of the biggest-selling rock albums of all time. Sometimes, Eno's interesting projects from the last two decades seem to go by in a blur, compared to the in-depth treatment of the first half of his career, and his theoretical pronouncements might bear a little more critical scrutiny. On the whole, though, this is a valuable document of one of late-20th-century pop music's key influencers.