This year will see the release of the second Roger Eno / Plumbline collaboration, Endless City / Concrete Garden. The album was written and produced by Eno and Plumbline — aka Will Thomas – with a recording process similar to the last album – a long distance affair via file trading. Rarely have the two recorded in the same room yet the results still manage to sound congruous. With Will working in New York City/Los Angeles and Roger writing in the East Anglia countryside and touring cities amid the recording process, the title ‘Endless City/Concrete Garden’ grew out of observing the organic side of vast urban atmospheres. Endless City/Concrete Garden is being released in the U.S. by Hydrogen Dukebox/
It’s been six years since their last album Transparencies, and despite a few nods back to Transparencies the new songs are certainly a departure. Still implemented are field recordings, electronics and Roger’s signature plaintive piano but with addition of guitars and even some koto. In addition Isaiah Gage contributes cello and Maxim Moston (Antony & the Johnsons) adds violin to several numbers.to several numbers.
The arrangements are still sparse and minimal, however they’re a bit more experimental and drift into darker territories. Drones and textures lay groundwork for Will’s percussive noises, chops and stutters and, combined with Roger’s melodies evoke a cinematic quality.
The album’s post script includes the story of the 20th century French poet Arlette Feindre and the final track weaves a recitation by Eve Couturier through a meandering string bed entitled “Beauté de Passage”.
Feindre (1912-1943) lived a life defined by love and war. When six years old her father was gassed during the second battle of the Marne leaving her mother literally mad with grief. It was this extreme reaction that, contrarily, informed Fiendre’s works.These typically contain elements of deliberate coldness towards, and disconnection from, love and loss. She is quoted as having said, “I have a new lover every week of every year” and it was her last, Henri D`Etran-Gleur, who put an end to her life after having read `Beauté de Passage`.
Praise for “Transparencies”
“Chopped, twisted and loaded with eerie electronica – vivid and mournful”
“A joy to behold”
– International DJ (Dave Stenton)
“A masterful sound”
– Future Music (Andy Jones)
“A beguiling collection of haunted moments”
– The Wire