Dead Oceans is happy to welcome the pianist Tom Rogerson to the roster. His elegant and evocative debut, Finding Shore, a 13-track collaboration that began after Rogerson met Brian Eno outside the toilets after a gig, arrives December 8th.
Finding Shore is the sound of Rogerson distilling the essence of what he does after a protracted musical journey from childhood until now. He took the traditional route of music lessons and learning notation before starting composing “properly”. As a 17-year-old he had the odd contrast of being taught by the composer Harrison Birtwistle but also working as lounge pianist in a dilapidated hotel in Peterborough.
He spent some time in New York playing jazz, recording with Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus, and had a successful career with post-rock group Three Trapped Tigers, yet however enjoyable that experience was, he admits it was “definitely a diversionary tactic”. Everything seemed to be an escape from the classical world or, as Rogerson himself puts it, “falling out of my ivory tower very slowly”.
Upon meeting Eno, the pair didn’t speak about music at all, but bonded over their roots in the Suffolk town of Woodbridge, located on the strange flat landscape of Eastern England, all heathland, military testing sites, estuary mud and the site of the ancient Sutton Hoo ship burial.
Eno’s influence on Finding Shore began by enabling Rogerson to overcome his fear of committing any one piece to its own album. As a way to open Rogerson up, Eno suggested they try experimenting with the Piano Bar, an obscure piece of Moog gear that works by using infrared beams focused on each piano key; these are then broken as the keys are played, transforming the piano’s note into a midi signal that can then be used to trigger or generate new, digital sound. As Rogerson improvised at the piano, Eno improvised with the midi signal to create a unique piece of music.
The chance meeting with Eno and subsequent conversation about the Suffolk landscape did find its way into Finding Shore.
“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’. I think it permeates my music, and Brian’s ambient records. That ‘is it organic or is it electronic thing’ is so interesting”.
Tom Rogerson with Brian Eno
1. Idea of Order at Kyson Point
2. Motion in Field
4. March Away
5. Eastern Stack
6. Minor Rift
7. The Gabbard
8. Red Slip
9. Quoit Blue
10. Marsh Chorus
11. An Iken Loop
12. Chain Home
Tom Rogerson is set to play Mirror’s Festival this October. Purchase tickets here: