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It’s one of the interesting details about Brian Eno that even though he works mostly in the shadows, most people will be much more familiar with his work than they realise – having an album by U2 or Coldplay on their iPod, or almost by default if they used a PC in the 90s, since Eno was famously asked to compose the 3.25 second start-up sound for Windows 95. (Refresh your memory above, or enjoy a 5 minute remix below…) A lot was made of the fact that he composed the sound on a Macintosh, saying at some point that he didn’t even like PCs. But much more interesting are, of course, his observations on what it was like to cram a briefing of 150 adjectives into less than 4 seconds of sound:

‘The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — solve it.” The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.” I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.’