Roger Eno: An introduction

Posted on December 1, 2023 by James

Photo: Cecily Eno

Roger Eno is a British composer and musician whose distinctive style as a recording artist has attracted a cult following. In March 2020, just as the pandemic lockdown commenced, he made his debut on Deutsche Grammophon with Mixing Colours, his first duo album with his brother, Brian. The record attracted great praise from media and public alike, with quotes such as this one from The Guardian: “its slowly unspooling, generative beauty feels like a balm for these anxious times”. Following on, in August 2021, the two brothers performed together for the very first time, showcasing tracks from Mixing Colours as well as solo works to a rapturous audience at the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Acropolis in Athens.

His first solo album on Deutsche Grammophon, The Turning Year, was then released in April 2022. An album filled with free-flowing, affecting compositions, The Turning Year allows the listener to step through Roger Eno’s looking glass. A blend of recent compositions and live fa-vourites from Eno’s concert repertoire, the LP offers a comprehensive presentation of Roger’s solo work. “..a keen sense for delicate, unornamented melodies, that serve as vehicles for re-flection.” – Pitchfork.

On the first year anniversary of his DG solo debut, The Turning Year · Rarities, was released. It saw him collaborate with violinist Rosie Toll, members of acclaimed German string ensemble Scoring Berlin, and his daughters Cecily and Lotti Eno on vocals as well as presenting many of his own solo works.

Eno was born in the Suffolk market town of Woodbridge. He became immersed in music at school and bought a battered upright piano with money earned every Saturday as a butcher’s boy. His musical education continued at Colchester Institute School of Music. After a brief in-terlude playing jazz piano in private clubs in London, he returned to East Anglia.

As well as first collaborating with his brother Brian and Daniel Lanois in 1983 on Apollo: At-mospheres and Soundtracks, he has made over a dozen solo albums and other collaborative pieces with the likes of Peter Hammill, The Orb and his first “band”, the ambient supergroup Channel Light Vessel, whose line-up included Laraaji, Kate St. John, Bill Nelson and Japanese cellist Mayumi Tachibana. He’s also teamed up as a session musician and band member with artists as diverse as The Orb, Lou Reed, Jarvis Cocker and Beck, and not to mention his three-year stint as Musical Director for Tim Robbins and his band, The Rogues Gallery.

Known as a solo composer in both theatre and film, Roger scored Trevor Nunn’s highly ac-claimed production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at London’s National Theatre and, more recent-ly, Nick Hornby’s Emmy winning TV series State of the Union directed by Stephen Frears. Be-yond that he has contributed music to many film soundtracks over the years.

Roger Eno lives in a small town on the border of Suffolk and Norfolk. Those two rural coun-ties, with their quiet lanes, medieval churches and waterways, have given focus and intensity to the natural introspection of his music. He has described his creative process as one of “decomposing”- improvising in his studio early in the morning to later strip away all excess from the result to reveal the essence of the piece. His approach to the world has been likened to that of a visitor to a flea market, that nothing should be ignored, that the curious can be all too easily overlooked…

His sophomore album on Deutsche Grammophon the skies, they shift like chords was released in October 2023. After concerts in April 2023 including a sold-out London live show at LSO St. Lukes, he will be performing in the US, UK and Europe in 2023/ 2024. The performances will feature both Roger playing solo piano, and also accompanied by his daughter, Cecily Eno on vocals, a string quintet and guitar and with an arresting backdrop of filmic visuals.

“This album is an interdimensional journey meant to be savoured and contemplated,” writes Qobuz. “Roger Eno, a master of evoking emotion through music, captures a multitude of moments within each composition, breathing life into the individual listening experience. The hallmark of a master artist.”

“the skies, they shift like chords is breathtaking in many ways … a remarkable release
that unsettles with haunting lines and simultaneously makes one tingle
with warmth at a display of beauty – a richness only found in a passion for music”
Spectrum Culture

Order Roger Eno - the skies, they shift like chords here

Roger Eno 2024 live tour

14 Feb 2024 - Copenhagen Jazz Festival/ Copenhagen - ticket link
16 Feb 2024 - Musiekgebouw / Eindhoven - ticket link
25 Feb 2024 - Queen Elizabeth Hall / London (co-headline - NYX choir) - ticket link
23 Mar 2024 - Big Ears festival/ Knoxville, TN - ticket link
27 Mar 2024 - Masonic Lodge/ Los Angeles - ticket link
29 Mar 2024 - National Sawdust / Brooklyn, NY -  ticket link