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Brian Eno live at Punkt

13 Albums That Inspired Brian Eno to Make Music


Unexpected musical recommendations of Brian Eno make a strange compass that encourages us to sail wider horizons.

Considering his chameleonic spirit, it may not be surprising that the muses inspiring Brian Eno are unexpected and dissimilar. But knowing the works that the composer himself cites as having exercised influence over his work, one might think it’s more the musical selection of a peculiar traveler rather than that of a composer and music producer, though of course, one could be the other.

The selection certainly bears a touch of genius. That, presumably, could not be otherwise. Beyond his creative virtuosity, remember that, in practice, Eno’s career was always associated with sensitivity, and with a musical erudition that quite naturally broke molds and patterns.

His list, compiled for the music website, The Quietus, includes the always deafening shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine, the beginnings of funk in The Golden Gate Quartet and the eccentricity of Farid El Atrache, a rarity Eno heard for the first time in Ibiza. This already peculiar selection is complemented by the uncertain gospel sounds of Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Choir which he’d heard on the radio in the Bahamas, while recording with The Talking Heads. He’d encountered sounds with Arab reminiscences at a kebab shop in London where he’d listened to Arif Sag. On the other hand, it’s not surprising that he includes The Velvet Underground, of which Eno warned: “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

Eno’s selections seems to insinuate one more lesson, among the many he’s shared musically over his career: great treasures are often, in essence, heterogeneous.

The Dynamic Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Choir in Concert / Reverend Maceo Woods and The Christian Tabernacle Choir

Farid El Atrache / Farid El Atrache

Umut / Arif Sag

“Go Where I Send Thee” / The Golden Gate Quartet (single)

Fresh / Sly and the Family Stone

Plantation Lullabies / Me’Shell NdegeOcello

The Velvet Underground / The Velvet Underground

Early Works / Steve Reich

Afrodisiac / Fela Ransome-Kuti & The Africa ‘70

Glider / My Bloody Valentine

Heartland / Owen Pallett

Grande Liturgie Orthodoxe Slave / Chœur Bulgare Svetoslav Obretenov

Court and Spark / Joni Mitchell

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