10. Eno : 'Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy' (1974)

Brian Eno - electronic musician and latter day record producer - began his musical career with Roxy Music in the 1970s. He then went on to produce a number of highly eclectic and increasingly ambient electronic and acoustic albums.

After Roxy, he famously collaborated with David Bowie on the influential Berlin trilogy of albums, 'Low', 'Heroes' and 'Lodger' - mostly recorded at Hansa studios in fact where I was also lucky enough to have spent many years recording in the '80s with Depeche Mode.

He has collaborated with many people since - notably with David Byrne on 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts', which was one of the first albums to extensively feature sampling, long before rap or hip hop came into being.

And he is thought to have coined the term 'ambient music' in a series of albums including 'Music for Airports', 'The Plateaux of Mirror', 'Day of Radiance' and 'On Land'. I guess he is best known for 'treating' instruments rather than playing them himself. His skill at using the studio as a compositional tool led in part to his career as a producer and his methods are widely recognized as being unique.

There's something very quirky about the two records Brian Eno made just after he left Roxy Music. 'Taking Tiger Mountain' was recorded in what I consider his most innovative period where he was looking to branch out after the Roxy years and establish his own unique brand. Along with the equally impressive 'Here Come the Warm Jets', the two albums are brilliantly obtuse. They feel naturally 'him', in a way, like he didn't really think about it too much. Made quite quickly, and knocked out with humour and fun, they really demonstrate what I suspect is his true character (more than any other records he's made since).

In more recent years, Eno has been in demand as producer for the major league bands such as U2 and Coldplay. Obviously there's a big cash incentive - difficult projects to turn down for any producer I imagine - but I think it's been debilitating for him, he should stick to being more experimental. Having said that, I hear a lot of good anecdotes about his approach and the way he is able to coax the unexpected out of artists and musicians.

There was a minor connection with Depeche Mode  he produced some remixes for 'I Feel You', called the 'Swamp' mixes, and they're typical Eno, sounding exactly like the kind of thing you'd expect him to do. I thought they were great. There was another connection because our co-producer at the time, Flood, had worked with him on a U2 record, where they had hired a house and built a studio there, essentially living together while making the record. We said: 'That's a great idea, let's do the same thing' - and of course it was a total disaster! We hired a villa in Madrid and it proved to be one of the most difficult recording sessions we ever undertook. Nothing much got done, and yet, when I look back and see what we produced over a (very long) ten week period, we actually emerged with three of the best Mode tracks ever.

Specific choice:

'The True Wheel'. See if you can spot the lyric which relates to a speech by Adolf Hitler regarding the number of jews in europe.

We are the 801,
We are the central shaft
And we are here to let you take advantage
Of our lack of craft:
Certain streets have certain corners
Sooner or later, we'll turn yours

We are the 801,
We are the central shaft
And thus throughout two years
We've crossed the ocean in our little craft (Row! Row! Row)
Now we're on the telephone,
Making final arrangements (Ding! Ding!)
We are the 801, we are the central shaft

Looking for a certain ratio
Someone must have left it underneath the carpet
Looking up and down the radio
Oh-oh, nothing there this time
Looking for a certain ratio
Someone said they saw it parking in a car-lot
Looking up and down the radio
Oh-oh, nothing there this time
Going back down to the radio
Oh, oh - oh, oh - oh, oh - here we go!

We are the table, the captain's table
Let's get it understood, let's get it understood
We are the losers, we are the bruisers
Let's get it understood, let's get it understood
We are the diners, the final diners
Let's get it understood, let's get it understood
Most of us tinkers, some of us tailors,
And we've got candlesticks, and lots of cocktail sticks
We saw the lovers, the modern lovers
And they looked very good, they looked as if they could
We are the neighbours, the nosy neighbours
We think just like we would, we think just like we should.

(Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno)

01. Television : 'Marquee Moon' (1977)
02. Lou Reed : 'Berlin' (1973)
03. Public Image Ltd. : 'MetalBox' (1979)
04. Talk Talk : 'Spirit Of Eden' (1988)
05. Steve Reich : 'Reich: The Desert Music' (1997)
06. David Bowie : 'Aladdin Sane' (1973)
07. Radiohead : 'OK Computer' (1997)
08. Massive Attack : 'Collected' (1998)
09. Morrissey : 'You Are The Quarry' (2004)
10. Eno : 'Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy' (1974)
11. The Beatles : 'The White album' (1968)
12. Górecki : 'Symphony #3, Op. 36' (1992)
13. Pink Floyd : 'Meddle' (1971)