Roger and Brian Eno: Mixing Colours review – an intimate conversation

(Deutsche Grammophon)

The Eno brothers have collaborated before, most recently on 2019’s revamp of the celebrated 1983 Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks documentary score (credited to Brian). Mixing Colours, the Enos’ duo debut, is a double sound-painting made up of natural phenomena (in tracks such as Snow, Desert Sand) and colours (Ultramarine, Burnt Umber) that plays out as an intimate conversation. Fifteen years in the on-off making, its slowly unspooling, generative beauty feels like a balm for these anxious times.

Most of these bejewelled instrumental tracks began with multi-instrumentalist Roger – the younger, less well-known brother, an experimental musician in his own right – on piano. His slow key strikes are bell-like. These compositional sketches would then make their way to Brian, who would work on them on the train, adding resonance.

For all that, electronics are very much to the fore. This feels like an analogue record, each note having a furry aura. The eerie Obsidian takes a familiar church organ and repurposes it creepily. But by and large, the state is meditative, sometimes more austere, often less. Most startlingly, Wintergreen builds gradually to a peak that recalls Brian Eno’s old collaborators, Harmonia – minus the German band’s regular motorik beat, of course.

Watch the video for Celeste by Roger and Brian Eno


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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