Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

Babbling Brook a compendium of articles reviews and interviews

Catalyst / Opium Arts biography
[reprinted here without permission]

Michael BrookMichael Brook was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He studied electronic music, the arts and African influence on American music at York University, Toronto. It was there that he first met the world music trumpeter and minimalist Jon Hassell, with whom he later toured, and through whom he met La Monte Young under whom he studied Indian music.

He achieved Canadian fame in the late 1970's by playing guitar with the successful pop band Martha and the Muffins. His involvement with the group came via their producer Daniel Lanois, with whom he worked as house engineer in the famous Lanois brothers' Grant Avenue recording studio in Hamilton, Ontario. It was during this period that he also met Harold Budd and Brian Eno (he helped Brian Eno make videos in an artist's video facility which he had set up in Toronto, in return for which, Brian Eno helped Michael with his music) It was these associations that led to Michael's name cropping up on such albums as Eno's On Land (1982), and Hassell's Magic Realism (1983).

In 1985, Michael's first solo album Hybrid, with contributions from both Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, was released on EG Records to great critical acclaim. A tour de force, Hybrid is still pointed to as one of the great ethnic/ambient works of the mid-1980s, and has recently been re-issued on CD. His second solo album Cobalt Blue was released in 1992 by 4AD Records; this was followed shortly afterwards by a limited edition live album Live at the Aquarium, recorded at The London Zoo Aquarium on the occasion of the press reception to launch Cobalt Blue.

Between 1984 and 1989, Michael helped Brian Eno develop video sculpture and sound installations in Italy, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Holland, Japan, Australia and the United States of America. These included detailed design and development of custom sound and lighting controllers.

In 1986 Michael collaborated with U2 guitarist, The Edge, on the soundtrack to the film Captive. This was an important recording in that it was the first solo outing to come from the U2 camp and introduced vocalist Sinéad O'Connor to the world at large.

In addition to Michael Brook's work as a musician, he has produced recordings for other artists, notably Roger Eno, Pieter Nooten, fellow Canadian Mary Margaret O'Hara, the British band Balloon, and The Pogues.

In 1990, Michael produced two of the year's most acclaimed world music albums. Set by Youssou N'Dour, and Mustt Mustt by Pakistan's Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. These albums were voted number one and two respectively in the Guardian newspaper and Rolling Stone Magazine's Pick Of The Year 1990 and where included in many other year end 'best of' lists, including those in the Observer newspaper and Q Magazine.

Other world music production credits include the 1991 album by the Algerian singer Cheb Khaled (a co-production with Don Was) and albums by the Indian electric mandolin player U Srinivas and the Armenian dudek player Gasparayan.

Michael BrookDuring 1992, Michael returned to film music, composing and playing the score for the Academy Award nominated documentary film The Fires of Kuwait. His score for this film received acclaim from both critics and public alike.

Michael also served as guest musician on the 1991 album by Rain Tree Crow, a one-off group comprising David Sylvian together with the other three former members of Japan, and on Taxi, the 1993 release by Bryan Ferry.

His recent live work has included the Mustt Mustt Collaboration with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at the Time Zones Festival, Bari, Italy in July 1991, and his solo tour in 1992 which included numerous dates in Europe and in the United States, where he opened for John Cale. In October 1993, he joined David Sylvian and Robert Fripp on their "Road to Graceland '93" world tour, where he performed solo as special guest to open the show before joining Sylvian and Fripp as a band member for the main set.

In recent years, Michael has worked at Real World Studios in England, producing and recording. The album Dream with Indian electric mandolin player U Srinivas is an experimental collaboration with Jane Siberry and Nigel Kennedy. Night Song was released in February 1996 and is another collaborative work with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. On both these albums Michael takes the roles of producer, composer and player.

Toward the end of 1995, Michael was enlisted by film director Michael Mann, to work on the soundtrack of his latest film Heat, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The success of this project led him to be invited to compose the musical score for the directorial debut of Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey (Usual Suspects). The movie is titled Albino Alligator and stars Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise and Faye Dunaway. Michael is currently producing the new Julia Fordham album for Virgin Records.