March 2020 sees Brian Eno releasing the first official album in collaboration with his younger brother Roger. The two have been in the studio together, way back in 1983 for the space odyssey Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks which was released by Brian as a solo effort.
The brothers also collaborated on the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Dune in 1984, but this record Mixing Colours is the first to feature the two names on an equal footing, and is the first for the prestigious German label Deutsche Grammophon.
The album is made up of classical Schubert-style pieces composed by Roger Eno over the last 15 years on a MIDI keyboard. Brian then took these demos and put them through his ambient software, naming each one a different colour (nuanced as they are), such as the cosmic Blonde, the melancholic Rose Quartz or the morbid Obsidian.
Although he is often described as a musical painter, could this Brian Eno’s most monochrome album? The British musician, who doesn’t have synesthesia, admits that while he does often compose with colours on his mind, he likes music for its “completely nonfigurative” nature, and enjoys this paradox: “I don’t think anyone listens to music in the hope of visualising a painting’s landscape. Yet many people find abstract painting inaccessible, despite music being a resolutely abstract art.” Something to think about when listening to this record while seeing the new Kandinsky exhibition.