The Turning Year, Roger Eno’s acclaimed solo debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, allowed listeners a look into the insights of this British composer, filled as it was with still and radiant, affecting compositions. Now Eno has revisited and expanded this repertoire for a series of three EPs presenting a combination of illuminating reworks, previously unreleased tracks and gems from the album sessions, and collectively entitled The Turning Year · Rarities. The second in the series, ‘Rarities · Bells’, is out now, together with a stunning video especially made for the vocal version of “Bells” by Roger’s daughter Cecily Eno, who features in the video along with her sister, Lotti. Roger Eno will also be playing many of these new pieces live during his winter tour in key European cities this December.
Like the other two EPs (‘Rarities · Piano’, a startling collection of solo piano works, was out in September), ‘Rarities · Bells’ draws from the fabric of Eno’s life, his family and the landscape and history of his native East Anglia. ‘Rarities · Bells’ couples a grand-piano version of its title track with another that contains the striking duetting voices of his daughters, Cecily and Lotti, first heard together during Roger’s home concert for NPR’s Tiny Desk.
On working with her father on this project, Cecily comments: “The process of writing vocals and conceptualizing a video for ‘Bells’ was very organic. The visuals for the video were guided by feeling which gradually crystallized into imagery, while the vocals began life as an improvisation using decontextualized words and phrases from some of Roger’s poetry. Unlike writing a song from the ground up (where instruments and vocals can evolve in tandem), “Bells” was already a complete piece of music, so I wanted to be careful that any added vocals didn’t crowd the existing atmosphere. Having grown up together, my sister Lotti and I are often able to anticipate what the other will do vocally, so she picks up any harmony parts I write very intuitively.”
Cecily Eno also provided the visual aesthetic for her father’s Deutsche Grammophon album and EP project through her press imagery, album artwork and videos. The stunning new video for “Bells” features her and her sister’s otherworldly performance set to the backdrop of the enchanting local woodland near where they grew up in Suffolk. Their mother, Bee Eno, created the featured outfits to look simple and structural.
Cecily adds, “We filmed the video in Suffolk, which is home to many of the locations – particularly churches – that Roger draws inspiration from. Roger’s original composition “Bells” was whole in its own right, but also had space to welcome elements such as voice, and the video is not dissimilar to the track in this respect – the pine wood was a pre-existing, open space with its own nature and atmosphere that now has the addition of two sisters existing in harmony.”
The third and final EP, ‘Rarities · Quartets’, which will drop in February 2023, sees Roger’s compositions performed by a quartet of players from the string ensemble Scoring Berlin, with whom Eno worked on The Turning Year. This will be followed by a beautiful physical package featuring all the Rarities tracks, together with bonus material.
“Close relatives to The Turning Year,” notes Roger, “these EPs have given me a reason to release this unheard music, some of which was recorded during the Berlin sessions when the album was laid down, and which includes some personal highlights.”
Roger Eno Winter 2022 live performance dates:
2 December – The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3 December – JazzHall, Hamburg, Germany
6 December – Botanique, The Rotonde, Brussels, Belgium.