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On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno [NOOK Book]

Overview

On Some Faraway Beach is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno. From an idiosyncratic childhood in a sleepy little British market town to the top of the international pop charts, Eno's journey has been lengthy and colorful. David Sheppard has interviewed many of those who have strayed into Eno's orbit, who all help illuminate the man and his ideas. But more importantly, Sheppard has had considerable assistance and input from Brian and Anthea Eno themselves, while retaining an ...
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On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno

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Overview

On Some Faraway Beach is the first serious, critical examination of the life and times of Brian Eno. From an idiosyncratic childhood in a sleepy little British market town to the top of the international pop charts, Eno's journey has been lengthy and colorful. David Sheppard has interviewed many of those who have strayed into Eno's orbit, who all help illuminate the man and his ideas. But more importantly, Sheppard has had considerable assistance and input from Brian and Anthea Eno themselves, while retaining an edge and independence in keeping with his subject.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sheppard (Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen) aims to "reclaim [Brian] 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. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Buzzine
Interesting . . . passionate.
Library Journal

Musical Renaissance man and self-described "sonic landscaper" Brian Eno has been a band member (Roxy Music), producer (David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay), writer, and prolific solo artist, but his most famous piece of music may be the six-second start-up sound for the Windows 95 operating system. Sheppard (Elvis Costello; Leonard Cohen) has written a detailed study of this restless, innovative artist. Although Sheppard had access to Eno and relies heavily on interviews with the subject and his wife, this is not a fawning biography, and the author doesn't hesitate to examine Eno's musical and personal successes and failures. Sheppard is particularly good at placing Eno's work in the appropriate cultural context. Although the author's wordiness gets a bit exasperating, Sheppard makes up for it in attention to detail. Recommended.
—Bill Baars

Kirkus Reviews
Overstuffed yet incomplete biography of the prolific English musician-producer-artist..Sheppard (Elvis Costello, 2001, etc.) secured Eno's cooperation and interviewed several of his noteworthy collaborators for this lumbering text. Beginning with Eno's obsession with doo-wop and rock 'n' roll as a youth in post–World War II Suffolk, the author charts the development of his aesthetic ideas as an art-school student during the '60s (a period exhaustively covered in Michael Bracewell's Re-Make/Re-Model, 2007). Sheppard follows the musically untutored but instinctive Eno's rise to fame as Roxy Music's outré synthesizer player and trails his solo career following his acrimonious expulsion from the band. The best sections cover such bracingly experimental solo albums of the '70s as Another Green World and Before and After Science, as well as Eno's development of environmental "ambient" compositions in Music For Airports. His work as a collaborator or producer of David Bowie, Talking Heads and Devo also gets close scrutiny. Yet for all its detail, the book is ultimately wearisome and unrewarding. Sheppard's grandstanding polysyllabic style, still an unfortunate hallmark of the U.K. music press, frequently proves a barrier, as does his tendency to let quotations run to unparsed lengths. Moreover, the writer stops suddenly and surprisingly short, devoting nearly 400 pages to Eno's first 40 years and a mere 50 pages to the last two decades. Later chapters manifest a growing impatience with his increasingly dilettantish pursuits as a lecturer and visual artist. Sheppard also appears to have little interest in Eno's partnership with Daniel Lanois in producing several hugely successful albums by U2.Despite ample documentation, the author never conveys real understanding of how a musician with virtually no technical skills became a luminary in his own right and a famous, well-paid facilitator for several international superstars..Eno's cryptic artistry still awaits definitive deciphering.
From the Publisher
"A valuable document of one of late-20th-century pop music’s key influencers."  —Publishers Weekly

"[An] honourable, authorized attempt to do justice to a mind-bogglingly restless and prolific subject. . . . With his uninhibited fondness for sex and intriguing cultural hypotheses, Eno comes across in On a Faraway Beach as an archetypal man of the 1970s."  —The Sunday Times

"An authoritative bible for Enophiles everywhere, On Some Faraway Beach will also intrigue more casual fans curious to investigate the creative inner workings of such a cryptic artist."  —Under the Radar

"An extraordinary tale of how rock's most infamous non-musician became pop's most articulate spokesman and in-demand producer."  —Mojo

"Interesting . . . passionate."  —Buzzine

"Sheppard has corralled the many strands of Eno's hectic creative life into a coherent and highly readable account. . . . The book . . . sends you scurrying back to the actual records."  —Total Music

"An authoritative bible for Enophiles everywhere, On Some Faraway Beach will also intrigue more casual fans curious to investigate the creative inner workings of such a cryptic artist."  —Under the Radar

"That it’s essential reading for Enophiles should go without saying, but it should also be on the bookshelf of anybody curious about how the avant-garde infiltrated popular culture over the past three decades."  —JamsBio Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556521072
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,312,322
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

David Sheppard is a practicing musician and a writer on music and culture in the UK and the author of Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2009

    A Good Read

    well worth exploring for followers of Eno's music...and the times of which he has been a part ...interesting additional info on artists he has collaborated with ....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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