Friday, 20 December 2013

Album Review:Roger Eno – Little Things Left Behind 1988-1998

(All Saints Records)

Never gaining the attention that his brother has earned, Roger Eno has still made a name for himself working on is piano led ambient music over the last three decades. He creates short compositions unfurl slow and meditatively like the daydreams of Eric Satie. This new collection Little Things Left Behind 1988-1998 brings together music from five of his now out of print albums for All Saints Records, covering slight string and piano arrangements vocal experiments and chamber music compositions and at just over two hours long its a comprehensive release.

Starting with short and lonely piano pieces, Eno shows a keen ear of melody in his streamlined and uncluttered compositions. They build up slowly around arpeggios and strings like delicate structures, small but intricate. His songs from The Familiar, an album with multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John tracks a darker path with wider reaching ambition, creating a cinematic darkness and unease on tracks like The Familiar and Lament.

He also shows his voice on the albums second disc with tracks from his album Swimming sounding not unlike his brother did on his more vocal-led seventies albums. they share the same skill of creating cryptic and somewhat impenetrable lyrics, though Roger often displays more of a stripped-down folk charm. Amongst the peaceful performances there are occasional moments of experimentation like the vocal layering on Amukidi,which becomes a drawn out almost tribal chant.

The last fifth of the record come from Eno's The Flatlands and these string and piano pieces make for some of the most serene and evocative music on offer here conjuring images of the natural world, beams of light form a rising sun filtered and fracturing through trees, rolling country side on a summer's morning. This is music to let your mind wander to and Eno creates fitting sprawling landscapes to explore.

All Saints records discography maps out a history of modern ambient music and with this series of reissues asserts - albeit in a softly spoken voice – the variety of talent they have assembled. Roger Eno might be the quietest voice amongst them with his short and slight creations but that’s not to say his music should be overlooked. For those who seek peace from the restless noise of everyday life or a retreat from urban surroundings then Little Things Left Behind can guide you to another place.

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