Brian Eno is MORE DARK THAN SHARK
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Under The Radar MARCH 31, 2020 - by Matt The Raven

ROGER AND BRIAN ENO: MIXING COLOURS

By now you know that Brian Eno is an icon, some even going so far as to call him the godfather of ambient music. But you may not know that younger brother, pianist Roger Eno, is also a composer of tranquil sonic soundscapes. Together they teamed with ethereal guitarist Daniel Lanois for 1983's classic ambient masterpiece Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks. Now, twenty-seven years later, the Eno brothers are releasing their first album as a duo: Mixing Colours.

Together on Mixing Colours the brothers Eno make supremely languid instrumental pieces. Each composition originates as a piano piece from the mind and fingertips of Roger, recorded using a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) keyboard. What gets recorded along with the keystrokes is digital information such as pressure (how hard the key is hit), duration (how long the key is pressed), volume, velocity, pitch, etc. Then, usually without even listening to the piano version, Brian assigns different sounds to the MIDI information. Yet another innovative way to invoke his Oblique Strategies.

The results are neither stunning nor ominous, but rather unassuming. The color-themed song titles do not provide any hints at the music that lies within, but most are well suited for film soundtracks or background music. But these are less shadowy and textural sonic soundscapes as they are more meditative and bare. Somewhat underwhelming given the Eno brothers' propensity for creating moods with an oscillating backdrop of subtle thumps and subdued cadences and lush orchestrations. While Mixing Colours has some of these delights, it is a much less grandiose affair borne out of amiable melodies and dulcet tones.


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