Eno again? The celebrated producer/synthesist/conceptualist has taken this category nearly every year since we instituted it, and here he is again -- most likely because of his general contribution to rock, rather than because of anything specific that he did this year (unless it's a vote of confidence for the forthcoming U2 album, due for summer release). In fact, recent years have found Eno working more often as an artist than as a producer. During 1995, he made guest appearances on Laurie Anderson's The Ugly One with the Jewels (Warner Bros.) and EBN's Telecommunication Breakdown (TVT), while releasing two experimental, collaborative albums: Spinner (Caroline) with Jah Wobble and Original Soundtracks I (Island) with U2 (under the band name the Passengers). Each disc prompted a mixed reaction, but none so mixed as Eno's one 1995 production: David Bowie's Outside (Virgin), which a minority of Bowie fans (myself included) heard as a return to form, but most dismissed as a weird sidetrip. Still, both that album and the challenging Passengers disc are typical of Eno's career, which has always been about creative risks rather than commercial strategies.
-- Brett Milano