"So seductive": Brian Eno creates funky, colour-changing turntable… again

Brian Eno Turntable II
(Image credit: Paul Stolper Gallery)

Neon, colour-changing record player, anyone? Brian Eno is launching another vinyl-spinning feast that is as much for the eyes as it is for the ears, following on from his original ‘Turntable’ released in 2021.

The fittingly named ‘Turntable II’ is, like its predecessor, built around a frosted-cast acrylic and LED light design, with the platter and base able to change colour, and also this time 'independently and seamlessly' phase through combinations of ‘generative colourscapes’.

‘The pattern of lights, the speed at which they change and how they change are programmed, but programmed to change randomly and slowly,’ it reads. Speaking about the Turntable II’s aesthetic ambition, Eno says: "It’s the softness of these colours and the way they merge with each other that is so seductive… when it doesn’t have to do anything in particular, like play a record, it is a sculpture."

Eno likens his approach to fusing light and sound for the turntable to that of his paintings and other artworks, which have been a part of his life longer than music-making, the creative having studied painting and experimental music at Ipswich Civic Collge’s art school: "Since my first experiments with light and sound in the late 1960s, I’ve never ceased to be fascinated by the amazingly intricate, complex and unpredictable results produced by simple deterministic systems. 

“Out of simplicity, complexity arises. That is for me the most incredible idea of evolution theory and of cybernetics. John Cage once said: 'The function of Art is to imitate Nature in her manner of operation' and that has been an objective for me throughout my working life.

Brian Eno Turntable II

(Image credit: Paul Stolper Gallery)

“I use the same sorts of generative processes in music as in painting, based on overlapping unsynchronised cycles. Several overlapping light cycles will keep producing different colour balances and blends - and different shadow formations that slowly evolve and never exactly repeat. The process is simple. The results are complex.”

We aren’t sure who has manufactured the Turntable II, though unsurprisingly it features crucial design elements from some of the market’s most reputable companies, including a white 8.6-inch aluminium tonearm from Pro-Ject and Ortofon’s 2M cartridge. They’re both white in colour, no doubt to stand out from the neon colours glowing beneath it.

It’s a belt-drive design, too, driven by a 15v motor and 15v DC power supply, and supports both 33 & 45rpm speeds with an electronic switch. A signature and edition number is engraved on the side of the base, which brings us on to how limited-edition the Turntable II is. While the original was limited to 50 units, 150 Turntable IIs are up for grabs this time.

The Brian Eno Turntable II will be available to buy from 4pm (GMT) on Tuesday 13th February through London’s Paul Stolper Gallery (online or in-person), where it will be on display until 9th March. We expect many die-hard, London-residing Eno fans will be forced to see it from the sidelines considering it costs £20,000. That’s excluding VAT, and the website notes that ‘the price will increase as we sell through the edition’.


The best record players you can buy, tested by yours truly

The 16 best turntables of What Hi-Fi?'s lifetime

We built a truly superb yet very affordable five-star turntable system

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.