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“You can’t make a conventional, by-the-numbers bio doc about Brian Eno,” says director of unconventional bio doc about Brian Eno

Brian Eno
(Image credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

When it comes to Brian Eno, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected, so it seems fitting that a new documentary that attempts to encapsulate the great man’s career is set to arrive with an unconventional twist.

Produced and directed by Gary Hustwit, who previously collaborated with Eno on his 2017 film Rams, the film will be released in multiple versions and use “groundbreaking generative technology” in both its creation and exhibition, so you’ll get a different viewing experience depending on whether you’re watching in a digital format, at a cinema or at a site-specific installation.

Eno, of course, is known as one of the godfathers of generative music.

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“You can’t make a conventional, by-the-numbers bio doc about Brian Eno,” says Hustwit. “That would be antithetical and a missed opportunity. What I’m trying to do is to create a cinematic experience that’s as innovative as Brian’s approach to music and art.”

In making the film, Hustwit has had access to 100s of hours of never-before-seen footage and unreleased music from Eno’s archive. In fact, he and his team have digitised and restored approximately 400 hours of material spanning 50 years. This includes interviews, early video art projects, lectures, performances, behind-the-scenes documentation of recording sessions and more.

“Much of Brian’s career has been about enabling creativity in himself and others, through his role as a producer but also through his collaborations on projects like the Oblique Strategies cards or the music app Bloom,” says Hustwit. “I think of Eno as an art film about creativity, with the output of Brian’s 50-year career as its raw material.”

Brian Eno began his career as a member of Roxy Music, before leaving the band and pioneering the ambient music genre with his 1978 album Ambient 1: Music For Airports. He’s produced artists such as David Bowie, U2, Talking Heads and Coldplay and was famously commissioned by Microsoft to compose the Windows 95 startup sound.

Eno (opens in new tab) is expected to be released in 2023.

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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