The Turning Year

Roger Eno

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The Turning Year Review

by Paul Simpson

Roger Eno's first solo album for German classical institution Deutsche Grammophon follows Mixing Colours, an impressionistic collaboration with his brother Brian, as well as its companion EP, Luminous. The pieces on The Turning Year, some of which have been a part of Eno's live repertoire for a while, are simply described by the artist as short stories or photographs that are closely related to each other. The song titles point to themes of reflection and hope for the future, but there isn't an overarching common thread, the way the previous album consisted entirely of pieces named after colors. Likewise, the compositions are often piano-based, but not always, and they're presented in various levels of intimacy, with some more atmospheric than others. Opener "A Place We Once Walked" focuses on slow, stately pianos, which become embellished with a deep wash of strings for a brief, grand moment. String-based selections like "Slow Motion" and "Hope," which is laced with wind-like reverb near the end, resemble neo-classical darkwave in the way they're filled with both sorrow and beauty. The title track instantly feels familiar and welcome, with a commanding, affectionate piano melody accompanied by rich swells of strings. Other pieces like "On the Horizon" and "Something Made Out of Nothing" are frostier and more abstract, although "On the Horizon" rewards patience with a magnificent blooming of emotion. The album concludes with "Low Cloud Dark Skies," a perfect soundtrack for the observation of an ebbing tide. This masterful release contains some of the most immediately appealing work in Eno's discography.

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