Is Brian Eno is famous as a rock musician. Our interest is Eno's relationship to the Long Now Foundation and how Eno creates a link between bell sounds and Sound Urbanism and Sound Ecology. Eno makes this link through studies and publications tracking the history of bells. Most recently, Eno published CD liner notes for his CD January 07003. The CD is a collection of Eno's electronic recreations of the sounds of famous bells throughout human history, going back to 850 B.C.E.
Brian Eno: in 1972, with Roxy Music/ and in 2011, from Salon.com.
Brian Eno's research into the history of sound, particularly bells, adds sound to the cultural traditions purviewed by the Long Now Foundation. Above, Stuart Brand, Neal Stephenson, and Danny Hillis, in discussion, seated in front of a model of the Long Now's 10,000 year clock. Eno's January 07003 is a collection of electronic recreations of famous bells through history, and also a preview of bells that will be sounded, electronically, by the Long Now Foundation's 10,000-year clock.
Above: Eno's list of bell studies, from different eras, for the Long Now Foundation clock.
Eno's CD liner notes from January 07003 covers the history of bells, and technologies associated with the fabrication of bells, including metallurgical formulations and alloys used through history to create bells.
Eno covers the difference between Egyptian bells ('closed bells', or crotals) and dates when small open bells were cast in northern Iran. By 850 BCE, Eno notes that Assyrian bronze founders experimented with the acoustic properties of different ratios of tin, copper and other metal alloys in bells.
Eno's detailed history of bell foundries moves forward to bells cast in Medieval Monasteries in Europe. Bell technologies were originally brought to Ireland by St. Patrick, who brought smiths Tasag, Cuana, and Mackecht, to the island in the fifth century CE. These smiths made forged bells. Cast bells were developed in Western Europe by the Italian Benedictines beginning in 530 CE. As the Benedictine Order spread, they established bell foundries throughout Western Europe, and became the main suppliers of bells to that area.
Eno discusses the 'advent of artillery cannon in the fourteenth century, (and how it) provided an unexpected boost to bell manufacture (as) the cannon used almost exactly the same alloy as bells, and was made by similar methods. In order to have the security of a local arsenal, cities offered foundry sites, and special privileges to bell founders who would settle within their walls. The same supply of metal used for cannon would go back to bells after hostilities were over.'
It is an amazing history, and I recommend the Eno liner notes to students of my urban design course, Sound Urbanism. Eno's essay gives perspective to the development of contemporary cities where governments give space and tax privileges to tech companies such as Google and Facebook, for example. Eno's argument gives a broad outline to the history of how urban spaces are formed, in relationship to contemporary technolgies, through time.
January 07003 is a collection of Eno's recreation of of famous bell tones, through history. Eno's CD and its accompanying essay gives a sense of the timbre and 'sound materiality' of bells, and discusses how sound operates as a primary determinant for urban boundaries and city forms. City limits in the past were established mainly in relationship to residents' ability to hear church bells, factory whistles, and other sound notations, including clock chimes, creating an aural order to urban space.
Brian Eno's album: music for airports, from 1978 paved the way for a genre of sound explorations. Above: Brian Eno with David Byrne, his collaborator in several sound projects.
In addition to sound studies and publications on Bells, and his career as composer, musician, and record producer, Eno spent several years creating color studies based on sound. In 2012 Eno published Scape, an Apple App, that allows users to develop sound compositions based on color diagrams.
Ambient sound/ Sound Ecology/ Sound Urbanism. Victoria Meyers architect