Release Date: Dec 8, 2017
Record label: Dead Oceans Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
That the record's beginnings come from a chance meeting between the two, in which music wasn't mentioned, and they instead bonded over a shared Suffolk upbringing isn't as surprising as it first seems. As Finding Shore begins to unravel itself, an appreciation of rural idyll and bucolisism imparted; chilly piano combining with subtle electronics to create something more natural, more organic, than the sum of its parts, something that allows the record to begin to depict the area(s) the duo first bonded over. As a child, seemingly aimless drives out in to the countryside with my parents seemed, at best, an inconvenience to my weekends off school.
Asked about the use of chance in his music, Brian Eno once perfectly summed up his nearly five decades of work as a performer and producer: "I'm going to set up something that can surprise me." That simple idea can be applied to much of Eno's art. The renowned Oblique Strategies cards, which Eno created with Peter Schmidt, feature ambiguous phrases and ideas meant to shake artists out of a creative rut. And he's spent decades seeking out technology to produce "generative music," a stream of ambient sound that "[is] there as long as you wanted it to be" and never plays the same thing twice.
Three Trapped Tigers frontman Tom Rogerson plays piano and submits himself to Eno's improvisational techniques on his debut solo album. In a very Enoesque way, a chance meeting outside a toilet led to the producer training infrared beams on the pianist's keys and improvising around signals created when the beams were broken. The results are easy enough to digest, even if the process isn't, with just enough repetition and structure to prevent attention drift.
British post-rock trio Three Trapped Tigers utilized Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies, a series of cards containing simple phrases intended as ideas for artists struggling with writer's block, during the compositional process for their 2016 album Silent Earthling. After the album was recorded, group member Tom Rogerson (an improvisational pianist and composer in his own right) began working with Eno, who provided several more ideas, including pulling chord sequences out of a hat and juxtaposing MIDI and physical sounds. On the resulting album, Finding Shore, Rogerson is simply credited with "notes" and Eno with "sounds," with no further explanation, leaving it up to the listener to guess what went on in the studio.
The arrival of Finding Shore, a collaboration between Tom Rogerson and ambient legend Brian Eno, may come as something of a surprise to fans of Rogerson's previous musical exploits in the awesome prog/math rock/electronic/etc trio Three Trapped Tigers. As part of that group, Rogerson helps build a sound that is somewhere in the vicinity of Autechre's Tri Repetae as played live on bass, keys, and drums by a collective of hyperactive jazz musicians getting their revenge for a decade spent imprisoned on a cruise liner playing lounge classics for the assembled guests. Finding Shore operates in a completely different musical environment, Rogerson and Eno (who met outside the toilets after a gig) using only the sounds of piano (sometimes played straight and sometimes manipulated to create electronic-leaning soundscapes) to create a record straight out of the early Eno ambient series playbook.