Tom Rogerson is from the British experimental rock trio Three Trapped Tigers. Where, in that context he was vocalist and keyboardist here he submits his piano offerings – with some synths and electronic ideas – to ambient-music’s overlord Brian Eno. It’s collaboration in that Mercurical Eno way. He hovers over, around and then finds himself deep inside the music.
So, it plays out like an updated version of the Harold Budd/Brian Eno collaborations – Rogerson is the music creator, the composer and player, Eno is the music manipulator – the producer and arranger, a conduit through which the music makes its final recorded resting point.
In fact here, and the process might lose its magic to be explained, Eno “plays” an instrument called a Moog Piano Bar. Invented in the early 200s by synth pioneers Don Buchla and Robert Moog it’s a contraption that sits above a piano’s keyboard, an infrared light shining on each of the 88 keys. The beam gets interrupted when a key is played and then triggers a MIDI signal which can trigger new noises and sounds.
Eno: sonic disrupter.
That’s probably the business card he wants, or uses – that there is his oblique strategic move.
The results here: hypnotic swirls of piano, cascading (On-ness), moments of near-unnerving percussion that never quite signal a rhythm but pierce at the sides of any melody (March Away), that strange, suspended wash that hold a tune in its own ethereal light (Quoit Blue).
As with the Harold Budd albums you could wonder, on certain tracks, if Eno is even – or ever – there. He exists in some sense as a final tick for the track, the ultimate trick. His sign-off announcing his involvement, an overseer.
Eno, the sonic sculptor. Rogerson the supplier of the musical clay. It’s a perfect marriage wielding rewards of imperfect, lovely, odd, shimmering music that recalls moments from Eno’s “Ambient”-named albums – including the collaboration with Laraaji. It’s another strong project involving Eno and the announcement of/from Tom Rogerson that this type of ambient music – installation-like, never quite ever there, yet always around – continues. Long may it.