Roger Eno

Little Things Left Behind: 1988-1998

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This double-disc collection from Roger Eno by All Saints is part of an ambitious reissue program of several of its artists, including Harold Budd, Jon Hassell, Djivan Gasparyan, and Laraaji. The Eno set compiles a mammoth 40 cuts from four different albums -- 1988's Between Tides, 1992's The Familiar (co-billed to Eno and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John), 1994's Lost in Translation, 1996's Swimming, and 1998's The Flatlands. Before he gained renown working with brother Brian and Daniel Lanois on Apollo Atmospheres & Soundtracks, he was the head of the music therapy department at London's Psychiatric Hospital. That distinction is important because the lion's share of this music is miniature piano and chamber pieces. Eno wrote and arranged them as one who made music that was not only beautiful to play but to listen to, rather than as a full-blown classical composer. This is no trifling thing; music has been used for decades for its ability to assist in the healing process of psychological and physiological disorders, and his is pointed to the inner ear as well as the constant outer one. His melodies are spare, simple, and resonant; it's a beauty that adheres to the composer's own interior logic of lyric harmony, juxtaposition, color, texture, and space. Though chronologically presented -- since each attendant album had a different focus -- co-producer Mark Jones' sequencing is sublime, articulating all major facets of development, process, and execution. What's more, Mark Prendergast's liner notes (author of The Ambient Century) are educational but deliver an intimate portrait of the artist in his cultural context. Little Things Left Behind: 1988-1998 is so well curated that it's hard to even conceive of how it might be improved upon. Offering a well-rounded aural presentation of Eno's aesthetic and discipline -- one that absolutely resists the presentiment of ego's authority -- in pristine sound.

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