Oblique Strategies (subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas) is a deck of 7×9 cm printed cards in a black container box. Created by Brian Eno and. Oblique strategies: Over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas [Brian Eno] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Fifth edition “Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences,” ambient music pioneer Brian Eno wrote in.

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The most famous of Brian Eno’s dadaist mind games with music production. The original Oblique Strategies Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmaswas a set of cards created by Eno and his painter friend Peter Schmidtand published as a signed limited edition in On each card is printed an often quite abstract instructionwhich is invoked when an artist, producer or band has reached some form of creative impasse and requires external disruptive influence to suggest new ideas.

Oblique Strategies is most associated with bands Eno famously produced during his mid to lates creative highpoint, including Talking HeadsBerlin trilogy-era Bowie and Devo. How do they work? Try getting your heads around these: Where do they come from? Eno claims that he and Schmidt devised almost identical Oblique Strategy systems, at the same time and using almost exactly the same words, but completely independently of each other.

The power of the synchronicity was enough to convince them to make the messages available to other artists. Despite Schmidt’s death inEno has continued to revise the Strategies, and the fifth edition of the cards was published this year, along with the inevitable iPhone app.


Why are they classic? Depends who you ask. U2 didn’t use them, but the Edge applied the cards’ rationale of “seeing limitations as some kind of a strength and a governing influence over what you do” to their work with Eno.

The Oblique Strategies Web Site

David Byrne thinks that “Brian’s cards are funny and sometimes useful”, but the rest of Talking Heads resented Eno’s input. What’s the best ever Oblique Strategies song? Well, it’s not going to be anything by Coldplay did Eno invent a deck just for them with instructions like “Make everything more pretty” or “Be a bit sad”? So let’s go for Eno’s own St Elmo’s Fire.

Oblique Strategies

The blurb accompanying the edition says: Sometimes they were recognised in retrospect intellect catching up with intuitionsometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.

They can be used as a pack, or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this stratsgies the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident.

Don’t get Devo started on Oblique Strategies. We thought that precious, pseudo-mystical, elliptical stuff was too groovy. We were into brute, nasty realism and industrial-strength sounds and beats.

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We didn’t want pretty. Brian was trying to add beauty to our music. Oblique Strategies isn’t just handy for making Coldplay sound a bit like Queen or whatever, they can also be applied to cringeworthy creative branding and cooking.

When working with Coldplay, Eno would give each member of the band a random card and ask them to interpret its instruction musically as the band jammed, without letting the other members know what their card says.

You hear a voice singing a single note over a drumbeat and you think The new iPhone app has made Oblique Strategies available to the masses for the first time. Previously, intrigued Eno-ites would have to watch eBay like a hawk for a deck to become available the editions were usually released in small presses of to and no two decks were the same. For a while, a small cult of Eno followers started up their own internet-based Acute Strategies system, where anyone could submit their own strategies, providing they followed lots of geeky rules about avoiding jargon and inside jokes and urging a familiarity with the I Ching and other oracular sources.

Five facts and things The blurb accompanying the edition says: Topics Brian Eno Hey, what’s that sound? Pop and rock features.