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Brian Eno: 5 essential recordings

MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND: Roxy Music perform live at the Montreux Festival, Switzerland in May 1973. L-R Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson, John Gustafson (Gijsbert Hanekroot/REDFERNS)

Looking for a way to into Brian Eno’s extensive discography?
Here are five recordings that map his trajectory:

Roxy Music, “Roxy Music” (1972)

Eno got his professional start garnishing these glam-rock anthems with sophisticated electronic textures that predicted the new-wave boom of the 1980s.

Brian Eno, “Before and After Science” (1977)

After he departed Roxy Music, there came a five-year flurry of Eno solo albums. His superb songwriting here negates the self-described “non-musician” tag he would wear so proudly in years to come.

Brian Eno, “Ambient 1: Music for Airports” (1978)

The liner notes to this landmark recording explained that Eno was trying to create music that would be “as ignorable as it is interesting.”

U2, “Achtung Baby” (1991)

Having produced the band’s 1987 blockbuster, “The Joshua Tree,” Eno managed to squeeze an even more evocative album out of U2 four years later.

Windows 95 theme (1995)

Microsoft commissioned Eno to compose the little sound snippet that would chime every time you started your PC. He composed it on a Mac.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about the genius of Young Thug, the endurance of go-go music, and the pleasure of listening to loud sounds in the dark.



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