Thursday, August 31, 2023

Roger Eno, Cecily Eno, Scoring Berlin, Christian Badzura – Strangely, I ...

the skies, they shift like chords
Roger Eno to Release Second Solo Album for Deutsche Grammophon on October 13
the skies, they shift like chords features piano solo tracks performed by Roger Eno as well as multi-instrumental pieces, some with electronics 
It also includes “Strangely, I Dreamt”, a song co-written and performed by Cecily Eno
I think of music in visual terms. Perhaps here the chords could be the earth,
the melody the trees rising above ground, and the atmosphere of floating guitar could be the sky. These three elements are different but interconnected.” — Roger Eno 
Aug. 25, 2023 — “Most of my pieces are snapshots of things that were experienced in the moment,” says Roger Eno. “How do you describe the world, unless it’s in an instant? You can’t fix anything because everything is in flux, it’s changing and mutable.” On the skies, they shift like chords, his second solo album for Deutsche Grammophon, Eno describes the world in a dozen musical watercolors based on spontaneous sketches, tracing an evocative and thought-provoking path through sound and silence.

Following on from the critically acclaimed DG solo debut, The Turning Year (2022) and follow up tracks such as “Above and Below”, which has streamed over 19 million times,  the new album will be issued digitally worldwide, and in physical formats (except in the US), on October 13. Four of its tracks will be made available on DSPs over the next few weeks: “Strangely, I Dreamt”, with vocals by Cecily Eno, today, August 25, “Tidescape” on September 8, “Chordal Drift” on September 22 and “Arms Open Wide” on October 13. The album comes out on vinyl in the US on 17 November, with a two-track single (featuring the full instrumental and a solo piano version of “Strangely, I Dreamt”) released internationally on the same date. 
the skies, they shift like chords builds on the soundworld of piano and strings heard on Roger Eno’s DG debut solo album, The Turning Year, expanding it with lines for electric guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, vibraphone, flute organ and subtle electronic sounds. Most of the tracks grew out of improvisations – musical snapshots. “Often, the best way to cement these is by hardly using any detail,” explains the composer and multi-instrumentalist. “The first track on the skies, ‘Chordal Drift’, is a series of quite thick string chords with no intimation of melody. If you listen to it more closely, though, you’ll start to link things together.”
The lone vocal piece on the album, “Strangely, I Dreamt”, is co-written and sung by Roger Eno’s eldest daughter, vocalist and visual artist Cecily Eno. Its lyrics began life as part of a poem by one of her father’s friends, but Cecily adapted them to include “The skies, they shift like chords”, a line that invites us to contemplate the nature of impermanence. 
That same idea lies behind “Tidescape”. “It owes its name to a poem by Mary Markwell written in 1976,” notes Roger Eno. “I happened upon it in a Suffolk Poetry Society anthology, one of my favourite poetry collections. I loved the name, implying, as it does, how the tide creates a changing landscape unique to that environment.” 
As “Tidescape” began taking shape for the album, Eno invited his guitarist friend, Jon Goddard to fashion a high guitar drone above the existing music for flute organ. “Jon’s additions allowed me to hear two other elements in the piece, my beloved clarinet and bass clarinet, which sound like aural velvet. The resulting openness perhaps prompted my producer at DG, Christian Badzura, to have the courageous idea of adding reversed distorted guitar. I thoroughly enjoyed watching how the piece developed as though on its own, like a river finding its own path to the sea.”
By contrast, “Arms Open Wide” returns to the simplicity of Roger Eno’s solo piano, although despite the track’s gentle, intimate feel, it is underpinned by a sense of strength. “There always has to be something strong or utterly beautiful, otherwise there’s the danger that it becomes like lift music…” 
The album’s other expressive titles include “Japanese Rain Garden”, “That Which Is Hidden”, “Mind the Gap”, “Illusion”, “Above And Below (Crepuscular)” and “Through The Blue (Crepuscular)”. “I always name pieces after I’ve composed them,” says Roger Eno. “I try to match them to poetic titles, to trigger feelings, emotions and thoughts as the music plays.”
One of the emotional threads running throughout the skies, they shift like chords is Eno’s relationship with his native region of East Anglia. The tracks are inspired by its landscape – a mix of small market towns, medieval churches, wheatfields, meadows, rivers and open skies – as well as by the work of local poets and the Norwich School of artists, active in the early 1800s. The album’s melancholy tone has much to do with the threat now posed to the region’s biodiversity by intensive farming and climate change.
“The overall mood is one of transience,” says Eno of his new recording, whose moments of stillness are vital, allowing the music to breathe and listeners to explore their own emotional and imaginative response to it. “There are lots of gaps, silent pauses, throughout the album, which are a really important part of it. When a track finishes, you’re still ‘there’ in the music, and unless the next one comes in at just the right moment, something’s going to jangle with either or both of them. The composing part is only one part of the process – these other, constructive details are very important.
Praise for The Turning Year & Rarities
“… a keen sense for delicate, unornamented melodies that serve as vehicles for reflection”Pitchfork 
“A sequence of masterpieces in miniature” Prog 
“The Turning Year is calming and often very beautiful” The Wire 
“Sweet music for very strange times” Record Collector 
“Eno has a distinctive style and picks just the right chord change or string colouration” Mojo
“A deeply nourishing record” Uncut (Rarities)
“Beautiful and emotionally devastating”  Electronic Sound (Rarities)
Photo/ Credit: Cecily Eno
 Missing Piece Group

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