Profile: Roger Eno
Roger Eno Roger Eno is known primarily as an "ambient" composer through his collaborations with brother Brian Eno and producers Michael Brook and Daniel Lanois, but his depth as a musician defies categorization. A multi - instrumentalist, Eno has composed many memorable scores for film and TV including "Dune", "Nine And A Half Weeks" and "Warm Summer Rain". His love of classical piano is evident in his many critically acclaimed solo works which feature his unique ambient chamber music style. His piano also figured prominently in the group Channel Light Vessel, an ambient super-group featuring Kate St. John, Bill Nelson and Laraaji. In addition to those projects, Roger Eno has worked with an illustrious assortment of musicians including Michael Brook and John Cale.
The Drum Club 1999 found Eno in yet another collaboration, this time with The Drum Club's groove master Lol Hammond. Their recent CD Damage (1999 Thirsty Ear) combines Eno's beautiful piano and sonic atmospheres with Hammond's modern techno rhythms. The combination is an irresistible mixture of texture, melody and mellow beats. Their appearance at the Gathering in Philadelphia was part of that summer's brief tour of select North American cities.

Among his many performance credits, Roger Eno along with Lol Hammond, played live in Philadelphia at the Gathering of 26 August 1999. For reviews and photos, please access:

curriculum vitae

  • Roger Eno was born in Woodbridge (Suffolk, England) in 1959.

  • At the age of twelve he began cornet lessons and at sixteen entered music college in Colchester, Essex.

  • Upon graduating, he moved to London and busked on street corners and in subways for eight months before returning to Colchester to run a music therapy department in a hospital for the mentally handicapped. He continued this work for two and a half years during which time he was composing more and more of his own music.

  • In 1983, he was invited by his brother Brian to assist in the writing of the album Apollo, music and amospheres' and so, with some months in between in London playing jazz piano and guitar, he left for the USA and Canada.

  • His first solo disc dates from 1984. Voices is an album of treated piano pieces and explores simple melodic lines and almost impressionist harmonies.

  • At this time, Roger began to give the first of many live performances.

  • 1987 saw the release of his second solo work, Between Tides. This disc took a different approach to his first and relied on fewer treatments and a small chamber group of violins, lower strings, flutes, clarinet and vibraphone along with solo and accompianing piano.

  • His third album, The Familiar, with Kate St. John combined elements of his previous work, treated textures and acoustic instruments and added songs. With lyrics by Kate, these songs are abstracted pieces deliberatley going against the obvious popular song form and as such treat the voice as a special instrument rather than a focal point.

  • In 1993 he wrote the music for In A Room, a disc played by and dedicated to the Harmonia trio. The following year saw the release of mini cd Classical Music For Those With No Memory also played by Harmonia.

  • In 1994 saw another collaboration with Kate St. John, Bill Nelson, Laraaji and Mayumi Tachibana. Under the group title of Channel Light Vessel these five musicians spent twelve days improvising in Wiltshire, England and the results were mixed, added to and generally knocked into shape by Bill Nelson. The title of the record is Automatic.

  • 1994 also sees the release of another solo disc Lost In Translation which uses more improvisation than his previous discs and also features, for the first time, his voice as a crucial element.

  • Swimming was released in 1996 and mixes folk tunes with a panoply of beautifully ethereal songs of Romantic and pastoral hue.

  • Apart from these solo works, Roger Eno has collaborated with others on their personal projects, Michael Brook's Cobalt Blue being a particularly notable record. In this capacity of guest he has also appeared on Daniel Lanois' Aracadia, Nerve Net by Brian Eno, Flow Goes The Universe by Laraaji and Marco Polo by Alesini & Andreoni.

  • On Damage, in collaboration with Lol Hammond, Eno brings a level of harmonic sophistication to the proceedings that is generally missing from the world of techno, not to mention a contemplative, almost pastoral sensibility. Hammond, for his part, takes what could have been almost soporific keyboard parts and muscles them up with electronic rhythm that never sounds artifically imposed.

  • Collaborates while miles apart with Peter Hammill on The Appointed Hour

  • Rumors persist about a follow-up to Damage

  • His film and television work includes "Nine And A Half Weeks", "Opera" by Dario Argento, "Dune", "For All Mankind", "Warm Summer Rain" and "Static". "Mr. Wroes Virgins", a series of four episodes recived a Bafta nomination.

  • Roger has toured much of Europe and has perfomed in USA and the far East.

Damage "Roger Eno and Lol Hammond have somehow managed to put their wildly differing musical stylings into one space to create an intriguing collection of works called Damage which, in it's own special way, just might inspire others to look a little closer at the raw power a piano accompanied by just the right accompaniments is capable of producing.

Often content to simply breeze along with the flow, hardly ever piling up the pieces to the usual grand climax before the long slide into silence, Eno and Hammond have taken the time to hold back on the heart stopping grooves and instead look into the spaces that often get ignored.

Until "Lose That Skin" came along I wasn't actually sure whether this album was for me. I just didn't get the simplicity. But after several moments with an oddly de-tuned piano and what I suspect to be the ex-Drum Club member Hammond's inspired subsonics, I was at once clued in and ready for a lot more. "Blue Kind Of Drug", which followed, stayed in the same lane while slowly lifting me back up into that already familiar and super hypnotic drum loop that just grinds away forever.

From there on in things just got better and better."

Review Source:

Flatlands "The music that makes up The Flatlands was written over a period of about eighteen months and is a culmination of a mode of work that I had been pursuing for some time.

I was interested in the intimate textures that a chamber group allows, the accidents that chance brings with it and how apparently mutable time can appear. I also wanted to create an album of pieces linked in a way that they seem to be closely related to each other, so when heard together form a satisfying, unified work.

The Flatlands is a mixture of closely written pieces and others that use quite loose restrictions, the players inventing on the spot using a limited series of written notes, their own free timings and expression. I was interested to hear how a reasonably large group came to unspoken and seemingly democratic conclusions; as a mood or element formed it became more solidified and confident.

In the more strictly written pieces, I wished to explore the delicate interplay and fragility that smaller groups can create so well, I wished for nothing boastful, the players and writer being each but an element of a whole. This, of course, is how music has been for years and so, is in itself, nothing new. This approach though, married to the wish of an overall and unified atmosphere, creates a peculiar quality; a bit like classical music with all the quick bits taken out, leaving only those lovely quiet moment that were, through fashion, broken.

In short, I wished to make a record which was both satisfying to write and to live with, one that plays with time yet rests comfortably on the ear; a collection that is perhaps merely glimpsed (minutes made of fragments) in which time is not rushed or more hopefully, thought of as mutable."

Review Source: The Material Sonori Website

Swimming "The song "Over The Hills & Far Away" has a resonant title, its imagery of escape into distant countryside has been an abiding one in English music from Delius through Percy Grainger to Led Zeppelin and now Roger Eno.

A version of this classic tune takes on a central role in Roger's new album Swimming, a shimmering collection of ten vocal and four instrumental musical time-pieces which flow one into the next to produce the composer's strongest recording to date.

'Over The Hills is a traditional tune written by John Gay' says Eno. 'It was included in the 18th century parody The Beggar's Opera and was recited before a hanging'. In fact Swimming contains two other hanging tunes, both traditional, in The Paddington Frisk and The Parting Glass, an Irish favorite. Whereas an English folk luminary such as Bert Jansch might see the serious near-death side of English folk music, Roger Eno sees it in a humorous light. After all, didn't the aforementioned Led Zeppelin immortalize hanging tunes on their folksy self-titled third album? That's the thing about Roger Eno. He combines a musicologist's brain with a wry sense of humor, a frequently overlooked characteristic that has sustained his work since he started making records in 1983.

Generally known as a composer of 'ambient' music, the only real 'ambient' track on Swimming is "In Water", which uses hypnotic guitars with lots of sustain to glide through acoustic space. Elsewhere Roger plays guitar, banjo, ukelele, accordion, harmonica, piano and various keyboards. Recorded at his own Shed Studio in Suffolk, Eno explains..."this recording was helped by the use of a Roland VS80, a new digital tape recorder with a big effects board. It has 8 tracks with virtual 64 track so I could do lots of mixes. It took almost three months and made a change from my old noodly 'ambient' recordings though I've kept certain qualities like atmospheres".

Review Source: Gyroscope Website

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