Roger Eno – The Skies, they shift like chords… (2023)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 51:09 minutes | 881 MB | Genre: Classical, Electronic
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
‘Basically, it’s about transience’ Eno says of the new recording, whose moments of silence are of great importance in allowing the music to breathe while the listener explores what they feel and what comes to mind. His new album ‘the skies, they shift like chords’ builds on the soundscape of piano and strings that Eno first introduced on his first solo album ‘The Turning Year’. With instruments such as electric guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, vibraphone, flute organ and electronica, he creates an emotional thread that accompanies you as you listen. He draws his inspiration from his connection to his home in East Anglia. Most of the pieces were created from improvisations, the musical ‘snapshots’ Eno speaks of. ‘They are best captured by foregoing detail’. Roger Eno releases his second solo album the skies, they shift like chords on Deutsche Grammophon.
The sound world meticulously crafted by Roger Eno on the luminous The Skies, they shift like chords… builds on the limpidity of the piano and strings heard on his 2022 album The Turning Year. But here it has shifted into an ethereal sound universe, with added depth from lines for guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, electronics and more.
The opening track “Chordal Drift” starts off shy, slowly meandering between chords. This actual chordal drifting has chordal centres and tonalities unfurling and recoiling like blossoming flowers—truly a serene way to begin an atmospheric album. Another world in Eno’s universe, “Tidescape,” opens with Jon Goddard’s sparse electric guitar over a steadfast flute organ drone. Bass clarinet, clarinet and other instruments weave in and out of the scene, like astral debris floating past. The interplanetary voyage then encases you in reverberating solo piano on “That Which is Hidden.” Its unsuspecting atonality provides a fantastic contemplative moment on this astral adventure. In fact, introspective moments are scattered throughout the record; they allow the listener to breathe, to think, to sigh, to weep. Sometimes silence is just as impactful as music.
It’s easy to get lost listening to The Skies, they shift like chords…; Eno has a spectacular sense for creating a world that could be interpreted uniquely by each listener. One really can’t help but stop and ponder. Tracks like the aptly named “Above and Below (Crepuscular)” present a perfectly crafted soundscape that could easily soundtrack a memory from anyone’s bank.
You can find Eno’s solo piano interwoven between more atmospheric moments reminiscent of his film score writing, like on “Where Does This Lead Us?” and “Japanese Rain Garden.” The piano underpins the entire album to create moments of strength, beauty, clarity or serenity. “There always has to be something strong or utterly beautiful, otherwise there’s the danger that it becomes like lift music…,” Eno has said.
And elevator music this is certainly not, unless you plan to hit the emergency stop button and meditate for the next 45-odd minutes. The Skies, they shift like chords… is an interdimensional journey to be savoured and contemplated. Roger Eno is a master of emotion who can capture a thousand moments in the span of a few minutes. Breathing life into the individual experience, he leaves the listener to find meaning and curiosities in every corner of his music. That is the signature of a master artist. – Jessica Porter-Langson
1-1. Scoring Berlin – Chordal Drift (03:02)
1-2. Roger Eno – Tidescape (04:25)
1-3. Roger Eno – That Which Is Hidden (03:25)
1-4. Roger Eno – Illusion (03:28)
1-5. Roger Eno – Above and Below (Crepuscular) (06:53)
1-6. Roger Eno – Through The Blue (St. Swithin’s) (03:45)
1-7. Scoring Berlin – Mind The Gap (03:06)
1-8. Roger Eno – Arms Open Wide (05:12)
1-9. Roger Eno – Strangely, I Dreamt (03:27)
1-10. Roger Eno – Japanese Rain Garden (05:55)
1-11. Roger Eno – If Only For A Moment (05:22)
1-12. Roger Eno – Where Does This Lead Us? (03:00)