Mixing Colours by Roger & Brian Eno
Despite working on and off with each other since 1983, this is the Eno brothers’ first collaborative album to be widely released. Developed across a rather astonishing fifteen-year timeframe, this fraternal collaboration has yielded an inspired collection of delicate Ambient pieces.
Brian Eno has spoken of wanting to make slow music that is more like a painting, and the gorgeous passages that the two conjure on this record are delineated by the naming convention of literally Mixing Colours: see ‘Spring Frost’, ‘Wintergreen’, and ‘Verdigris’.
These works don’t have as much in common with Brian Eno’s crucial albums On Land or Music For Airports, but on this recording one can hear similarities to his work with pianist–composer Harold Budd on The Pearl, not to mention the second instalment in his Ambient series, The Plateaux of Mirrors. And to be fair, the long shadow his music casts over the entirety of the Ambient genre means that anything from this world of music can’t help but be swept up in comparison to what he set in motion in the ’70s – even his own new music, let alone his brother’s.
But it’s not as if this is a simple re-tread. Even though Roger Eno’s approach to melody and harmony bears similarities to Budd’s ‘Soft Pedal’ style, perhaps it would be more appropriate to locate his sensibilities somewhere near the younger batch of composers working at the intersection of Classical and Ambient music: Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter, etc.
The influence Brian Eno has had over this new generation is readily apparent; who knows whether that influence was, in turn, partially Roger Eno’s own. This record holds up against the new guard. Both expansive and precise, this beautiful record is a must for completists of Enos’ work – Brian and Roger Eno, that is.