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Roger Eno

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Biography

Lesser known than his famous older brother Brian, Roger Eno has carved his own niche in ambient music, breaking away from his original piano work to incorporate chamber music, string arrangements, and his own vocals, while exploring traditional British music. Eno grew up in Suffolk, England, and attended Colchester Institute to study music theory with a focus on the euphonium. After graduating, he busied himself with numerous jobs until landing employment as a music therapist in a local hospital in the early '80s. In 1983, Brian Eno invited him to Canada where he and Daniel Lanois were working on what would be the Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks album. Roger worked with the two, creating simple melodies on piano and synth, including "Always Returning." The success of the soundtrack earned Roger Eno a contract with EG Records, and Brian produced his first release, Voices, a collection of simple piano pieces in the style of Debussy and Satie to whom he is usually compared. After one more collaboration with his brother on the Dune soundtrack, the two have rarely worked together, and Roger has staked out a career on his own. Three years later, his second album, Between Tides, appeared, showing that Eno was already broadening his palette with lush string arrangements. In 1992, Eno teamed up with former Dream Academy member and labelmate Kate St. John on The Familiar, and four years later joined her in the ambient "supergroup" Channel Light Vessel, along with Bill Nelson and Laraaji. Swimming, from 1996, added all sorts of stringed instruments to the mix, including surf guitar and banjo. He has also written music for several films, including Nine and a Half Weeks, Opera, and Warm Summer Rain, as well as scoring a popular series of 1993 Guinness commercials. Released in 2000, Appointed Hour, a unique collaboration with Peter Hammill, was another significant recording. He followed this with a double disc of mostly minimal ambient pieces entitled The Long Walk on La Cooka Ratcha in early 2001. Eno found an elliptical book of organ pieces written between 1952 and 1972 by the late German composer Hans Friedrich Micheelsen in a second-hand bookshop. The pieces were odd because they revealed no organ stops. He began to practice them on a Disklavier grand piano. Brother Brian heard some of these piece and suggested he record them using some of the piano's odder MIDI effects. This resulted in 18 Keyboard Studies by Hans Friedrich Micheelsen in 2002, produced by Brian. Later that year, Roger also began an association with the on-demand CD-R label Burning Shed, resulting in his first collaboration with them, Getting Warmer, in 2002, followed by Fragile (2005) and Anatomy (2008). In between these releases he issued the acclaimed At Lincoln Cathedral in 2005. He also recorded albums with Plumbline (Will Thomas of Dive Index) for the Hydrogen Dukebox label, starting with 2005's Transparencies and continuing with 2013's Endless City/Concrete Garden. Also in 2013, All Saints issued Eno's double-CD anthology Little Things Left Behind: 1988-1998. Eno played piano on two tracks from David Gilmour's 2015 solo album, Rattle That Lock. This Floating World, and his first solo work since 2008 was issued by Sean McCann's Recital label in 2017. ~ Ted Mills & Thom Jurek
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