Record Label: Dead Oceans
Tom Rogerson's life as an improviser began when, as a toddler, he would clamber up onto his family piano stool and try to emulate his sister's playing. Now releasing his second solo album, a collaboration with Brian Eno, he feels that his musical life has come full circle: "I remember smashing out C Major chords again and again and really loving it. It's the same as what I do now, funnily enough, I've come back to it." After stints playing jazz in New York, a delipadated fenland hotel and in noise rock band Three Trapped Tigers, Rogerson ran into Eno at a gig. Bonding over a love of the countryside of their Suffolk home, the pair entered the studio and worked with The Piano Bar, a device that converted the sound of the piano into midi signals, which were then further manipulated. "It was this classic Eno, almost scientific thing," Rogerson says now. "He always finds a system that can be a source of creativity." The result is an album that uses Eno's magic to pull deep from Rogerson's subconscious to evoke the strange flat landscape of Eastern England, all heathland, military testing sites and estuary mud. "I do totally hear it, I'll listen and think, ‘oh that sounds like the bells at Woodbridge, that's the birds, the wind rustling in the reeds,'" Rogerson says. "I think it permeates my music, and Brian's ambient records. That 'is it organic or is it electronic thing' is so interesting."