Roger Eno releases his second solo album for Deutsche Grammophon.
the skies, they shift like chords features piano solo tracks performed
by Roger Eno as well as multi-instrumental pieces, some with electronics.
It also includes “Strangely, I Dreamt”, a song co-written and performed
by Cecily Eno.
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“Most of my pieces are snapshots of things that were experienced in the moment,” says Roger Eno. “How do you
describe the world, unless it’s in an instant? You can’t fix anything because everything is in flux, it’s changing and
mutable.” On the skies, they shift like chords, his second solo album for Deutsche Grammophon, Eno describes the
world in a dozen musical watercolours based on spontaneous sketches, tracing an evocative and thought-provoking path through sound and silence.
Following on from the critically acclaimed DG solo debut, The Turning Year (2022) and follow up tracks such as “Above and Below”, which has streamed over 19 million times, the new album will be issued digitally worldwide, and in physical formats (except in the US), on 13 October 2023. Four of its tracks will be made available on DSPs over the next few weeks: “Strangely, I Dreamt”, with vocals by Cecily Eno, on 25 August, “Tidescape” on 8 September, “Chordal Drift” on 22 September and “Arms Open Wide” on 13 October. The album comes out on vinyl in the US on 17 November, with a two-track single (featuring the full instrumental and a solo piano version of “Strangely, I Dreamt”) released internationally on the same date.
the skies, they shift like chords builds on the soundworld of piano and strings heard on Roger Eno’s DG debut solo album, The Turning Year, expanding it with lines for electric guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, vibraphone, flute organ and subtle electronic sounds. Most of the tracks grew out of improvisations – musical snapshots. “Often, the best way to cement these is by hardly using any detail,” explains the composer and multi-instrumentalist. “The first track on the skies, ‘Chordal Drift’, is a series of quite thick string chords with no intimation of melody. If you listen to it more closely, though, you’ll start to link things together.”
One of the emotional threads running throughout the skies, they shift like chords is Eno’s relationship with his native region of East Anglia. The tracks are inspired by its landscape – a mix of small market towns, medieval churches, wheatfields, meadows, rivers and open skies – as well as by the work of local poets and the Norwich School of artists, active in the early 1800s. The album’s melancholy tone has much to do with the threat now posed to the region’s biodiversity by intensive farming and climate change.
“The overall mood is one of transience,” says Eno of his new recording, whose moments of stillness are vital, allowing the music to breathe and listeners to explore their own emotional and imaginative response to it. “There are lots of gaps, silent pauses, throughout the album, which are a really important part of it. When a track finishes, you’re still ‘there’ in the music, and unless the next one comes in at just the right moment, something’s going to jangle with either or both of them. The composing part is only one part of the process – these other, constructive details are very important.”