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Brian Eno: 77 Million Paintings

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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(Sep 26, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Although he is perhaps more famous for his musical output, Brian Eno has had a long career as a visual artist with his work exhibited in scores of galleries across the globe for more than 25 years. The Limited Edition 77 Million Paintings features an exclusive interview DVD in which Brian Eno discusses his creation of the 77 Million Paintings software, the next evolutionary stage of his exploration into light as an artist's medium and the aesthetic possibilities of "generative software." The bonus software disc creates a constantly evolving, slowly changing "light painting" on the screen of your computer or TV with a virtually infinite number of variations accompanied by the music of Brian Eno. This deluxe package also includes a 52-page book featuring an extensive essay by Eno.


He's the avatar of ambient and one of the original glitterati of glam, but Brian Eno started as a visual artist before he became captivated by sound and synthesis. Nearly 30 years ago, he began a return to the visual arts, and has synthesized a career that now runs in intersecting parallels with his music. From his first video, Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan, Eno's work has evolved into light sculptures that reflect his music, slowly morphing illuminated shapes shifting in seemingly infinite patterns. On 77 Million Paintings, Eno adapts his concepts to a computer program that constantly shifts his patterns in layers. Some of them are abstract, some luminescent. There are almost Keith Haring-like patterns countered by a Jackson Pollock splatter-and-drip approach, but all are constantly mutating and combining. Like painting in motion, every subtle move and overlay creates a new picture--hence the title. In fact, every time the program is launched, the images are different, and if you run it forever, it will effectively never repeat. Eno has married his images to an equally morphing soundscape, a nonlinear, constantly shifting sound field of gong and vibe-like tones, drone pads, and odd, whooshing sounds and ambiences. Like his ambient music, it's meant to work in the background, but can also draw you into to its glacially evolving world. The program is packaged in a set with a hardbound book in which Eno details the evolution of his light art and a DVD that includes an interview with Eno and a video rendition of the program. Eno has often followed the Satie idea of furniture music--now he extends that concept to your TV and computer. --John Diliberto

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Eno
  • Format: Color, Limited Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: All Saints
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EMSU2O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,680 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just received my copy and I have been able to run it for awhile today. This a beautiful package, with a sturdy and gorgeously made color booklet, an interview DVD and the software disc. The software loads fully on the computer, so the disc can be removed during play. It runs full screen. I would have liked the option to run it in a window. Each time it starts, you get another initial painting, which then slowly changes. It runs smoothly and, like much of Eno's work, allows one to go about one's business with the thing on, if one wishes, or to sit and stare. The music also changes randomly and one never gets the same combination of visual and auditory components. I'm very much happy to have this. This is the most I've ever been tempted to run out and buy a big plasma monitor.
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Format: DVD
This is the 2nd edition of Brian Eno's art software project. A large set of handmade (not digitally-created) images gradually appear, overlap, and crossfade, creating a endless nonrepeating stream of "paintings." All accompanied by "generative music" by Eno. In keeping with Eno's concept of "ambient" art, we can watch and listen closely or, we can go about our business, noticing the work at various times and with varying levels of attention. Loaded up and run on a PC or a MAC, it's a lovely thing which absolutely delivers on its promises. It's a fully successful art experience, delivered via computer software. There's also an interesting bonus DVD featuring a substantial video interview with Eno and a long sampling of the software's output. The 2nd edition features greatly enhanced packaging in the form of a hardcover book.

As art it's great. The music is solid Eno ambient. As software, it's more than a little frustrating. Once loaded and run, it goes into full screen mode and the user can only adjust the speed at which the art changes (very slowly through extremely slowly). Apart from that, there's no interactive element whatever. Worse, it won't run in a window or in the background. So, you have to surrender your computer to the art show. This product would be SO much improved if it were possible to:

1. Run it in Window, so you could use the computer while it's running.
2. Press a button to clear and refresh the display.
3. Even dreamier, if it could run so that the visual art could be the desktop background.

But, I don't want to leave on a negative note. What this software provides is so lovely and interesting, if I had sufficient funds, I'd buy a computer with a nice-sized flat screen monitor and run the thing constantly in my home and I'd put another one in my office.
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By SDY on October 3, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
How can I give a fair review of this new release of Eno's until I've viewed all 77 million paintings? For that you would likely have to wait until the year 2250. So instead this is a first impression.

I was interested in this product of Eno's for several reasons, the foremost being that I've often found Brian Eno to present work from what seems a unique and elegant aesthetic sensibility. I also attended an exhibit of his visual work many years ago that involved something like gradually transmuting neo-Constructivist light-shapes in a series of darkened rooms. I found it quite beautiful and hoped that this might be in a similar vein.

There are two discs included. One with software you install on your computer to have the experience Eno has designed for you. There is also an extra DVD on which Eno gives a roughly five minute history of the events that brought him to release this disc. The rest of this extra DVD consist of roughly 25 minutes of samples of the images the software will generate.

I first watched the DVD with the brief introduction and demo previously mentioned. Based on the samples seen there I thought the software might not live up to my expectations. As Eno says in his introduction the images used have been drawn or painted by hand, not generated using a computer. These hand-painted images seemed to me overly simplistic, most probably because they have been calculated to overlap. Too much complexity in the images once layered could lead to a visually busy effect Eno hoped to avoid. I'm obviously just guessing here. But my initial reaction was, um... perhaps a little less interesting that I would have hoped for.

Then I installed the software and started it up.
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Format: DVD
I've been waiting to get a "piece" of the Eno-installation "action". Here in the culturally devoid Deep South of U.S.A., it just ain't happening. It is now, though. Thank goodness. I received the "77 Million Paintings" and it is a humdinger (I know, a somewhat crude analysis). The "paintings" look stunning on my iMac G5, the 20 inch screen being completely filled with the image. And it is entirely true about Eno's installation work that the images shift almost imperceptibly. That is, until you turn your back and the damn thing changes dramatically. How does he do it? The music is a lot more "rock" and "edgy" than I would have imagined. Lots of Eno squelchy vocals with this strange "whooping" noise (I think I've heard this before on another installation piece), and deep temple bell-like sounds (again this sounds familiar - but not too much so). This is a rare treat. Go get it before the "limited edition" sells out and the Ebay-vultures descend.
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