Brian Eno composes soundtrack for a hospital

Brian Eno, 1970s, auditioning for Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Brian Eno, 1970s, auditioning for Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Brian Eno. The man was first thrust into public consciousness when he became the synth player on Roxy Music’s first two albums, after which he started on a solo career, wherein he perfected looping and soundscaping techniques with Robert Fripp on albums like No Pussyfooting; shaped the sound of Bowie’s albums Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger; produced albums by artists like The Talking Heads, U2, Devo, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, U2, and even Coldplay’s last two albums; and even created an entire genre of music built around ambient sounds.

And it looks like the latest project in Eno’s ambient music pieces is well underway. The Montefiore Hospital, in Hove, East Sussex has launched two music and light installations created by Eno. Piece No. 1 is called “77 Million Paintings for Montefiore.” It will be played in the hospital’s reception area, and will use a system called “Generative music.” For those of you who aren’t 20th Century Classical nerds, it means that, through electronic means, the music will subtly change, and never repeat itself. For a non-Eno example, see Steve Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” for an example. For an Eno example, see “2/1” from his Ambient 1: Music For Airports.

The second composition, “Quiet Room for Montefiore,” will be used as a soundtrack for a downstairs waiting room. In the words of the hospital, it will help to create a place for “somewhere to think, take stock or simply relax” for Montefiore’s patients, staff and visitors. There has been no information on the light installation.
According to one of Eno’s spokesmen, Eno was inspired by Florence Nightingale to create the pieces. He said “Since word about this broke in the architectural world there have been four different architects who work specifically in the design of hospitals who have expressed particular interest in Brian’s installations. I believe they have already visited the Montefiore Hospital. Brian may well get involved with more hospitals.”

However, for those of you who want to hear it, you’ll have to go to Montefiore. Eno’s spokesman says it will never be available anywhere else. Quoth the Spokesman: “It’s true to say that ‘The Quiet Room For Montefiore’ is an album that can only be heard in the Montefiore Hospital.”

Eno’s most recent album was a compilation of Ambient pieces entitled “Lux.”

And now, in case you’re unfamiliar with the genre of Ambient music, here’s Eno’s Music For Airports in full.

And if that’s too long for you, here’s something Eno created that might bring back memories:


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