Brian Eno & Ben FrostThe Nurturer and the Hunter

Published in 2011clockTime to read: 4m40s
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Brian Eno, who became famous in the 1970s as part of the glam-rock band, Roxy Music, has never stopped finding new ways to be creative, using all the media that today’s fast-developing technology can provide. He and Ben Frost, a young Australian musician living in Iceland, are the 2010-2011 mentor and protégé in music; but, as Frost puts it: “Brian is the sort of expansive, imaginative thinker who could be the mentor to any artist or scientist in any field.” Eno and Frost spent time in each other’s studios in London and Reykjavik, but their prolonged discussions went far beyond music. At the heart of their interaction was a shared determination to create the art of the future, before they even know what it is going to be.

by Paul Morley 2011
  • Brian Eno
    The Mentor
  • Ben Frost
    The Protégé

Eno met Frost through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, but it might have happened anyway, not so much because they both make compelling post-rock or post-minimalist electronic music with, in Frost’s case a menacing, fearless kick, and, in Eno’s case, a celestial, detached caress, and sometimes vice versa, and sometimes simultaneously, but because their stories, so far apart, separated by geography, chronology, psychology, biography, are, to some extent, the same story. Even if that just means they base themselves in recording studios and meanwhile travel the world, for work, adventure, audiences and pleasure, for whatever happens next, even if that means following irrational thoughts absolutely and logically.

In his room in Iceland, Frost says: “This whole process was sometimes just like a long conversation that wasn’t even about music, a simple cup of coffee, an occasional word of advice, a visual contribution to a project based around the Solaris film I was collaborating on. He made it clear, though, that he wanted to make a real difference to what it is I do, rather than it be me just follow him around like a shadow. Don’t get me wrong – part of me is a bit curious about that side of his life, and how it works and what he does. I’d love to hear him conceptualize with Bono! But this is all about the work we do, who we both are at this stage of our lives and the fact we have come together in this way out of the blue.”

In his room in London, Eno says: “I never assumed the point of this was for me to produce a Ben Frost album. I wasn’t necessarily against that, but it’s not what happened. What was far more preferable was that we set out to achieve something in some form that doesn’t even have a name yet, where we curate, edit, oversee something that suits our own desire for originality, that is more than just a record, is very much part of the post-Internet world, and that works as the result of us being together, not me working or doing whatever it is I do and him just looking on. Even if I had just ended up critiquing one of his records and giving him clues about what he did next, it would still have been worthwhile. But the relationship is more than that. We can perhaps come up with a bigger, better idea together about what music can be than we would separately.”

Frost entered the room of Eno, and Eno entered the room of Frost. The words of one artist to another induced an idea chain and they made room for each other.

Extracted from an article written by Paul Morley, for Mentor & Protégé, a magazine documenting the 2010/2011 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

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