Oblique strategies

Eno's second album "Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)" from 1974 was released soon after his first album "Here Come the Warm Jets" which was still representing the sound of Roxy Music after he left that band.
The Oblique Strategies deck of cards
It was the first time Brian used his "Oblique Strategies", a card-based method for promoting creativity to came up with ideas for a song. It was invented by Eno together with Peter Schmidt. It came in black box with a deck of printed cards.
Eno in 1974
Eno used this also with artists he produced. Particularly for the three David Bowie albums Eno produced "Low", "Heroes" and "Lodger". Guitarist Carlos Alomar, who worked with Eno and Bowie on all these albums, was a fan of using the cards. At the Center for Performing Arts at the Stevens Institute of Technology where he teaches he uses the cards in case his students get a mental block.
Eno in 1973 with Roxy Music
Other artists also were inspired by this technique. One of those sentences was "Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy" and it was quoted in the song "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" by R.E.M. Coldplay also used it when Eno produced their album "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends".
Eno in 1974
"Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)" was a kind of concept album about geopolitical intrigues including themes from espionage to the Chinese Communist revolution. The title of the album was the name of a chinese revolutionary opera. Eno was inspired by a series of postcards about this opera. Schmidt made litographs and poloroids of Eno that were used on the cover of the album.
Eno with Robert Wyatt
Eno's band for this album included Brian Turrington and Freddie Smith of The Winkies (a pub rock band) together with Robert Wyatt (Matching Mole and Soft Machine) and Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music). We can also hear Phil Collins drum on "Mother Whale Eyeless" because of Eno's help on the Genesis album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".

"Burning Airlines Give You So Much More" is inspired by a 1974 crash near Paris of a Turkish Airlines DC-10. It talks about a man who's girlfirend left on a plane to China and he doesn't know the plane never arrives because it explodes before it gets there. "The Fat Lady of Limbourg" is about an asylum in Limbourg, Belgium, where the residents of it outnumber the population of the town. "The Great Pretender" describes the rape of a suburban housewife by a crazed machine. "Put a Straw Under Baby" tells of a nun burying her baby in a box to avoid discredit the Monastery. "Back in Judy's Jungle" is about a British strike team member during an imaginary war. "Third Uncle" is the song most people know from the goth band Bauhaus. But here we can hear the original by Eno.

Here are some examples of the sentences in the Oblique strategies:
  • A line has two sides
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Change instrument roles
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention

However the oblique strategies work making "Taking Tiger Mountain" his best solo album ever "By Strategy"!!!
Original album cover

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Burning Airlines Give You So Much More / Back In Judy's Jungle / The Fat Lady Of Limbourg / Mother Whale Eyeless / The Great Pretender / Third Uncle / Put A Straw Under Baby / The True Wheel / China My China / Taking Tiger Mountain

Burning Airlines Give You Much More

The True Wheel

The Fat Lady Of Limbourg

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