Simple yet stunning
Tom Rogerson, frontman of Three Trapped Tigers, has released an impressive debut album, returning to his roots as a composer and pianist. Finding Shore is a 13-track collaboration with Brian Eno. The collaboration between an improvising pianist and an ambient icon results in an album that is full of rewarding surprises.
The duo bonded over their roots as natives of Woodbridge, a town in Suffolk, England. The essence of Woodbridge, a Moorish, open landscape with winding rivers and an ancient Sutton Hoo ship burial, certainly found its way into Finding Shore. On the influence of his hometown, Rogerson says, “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.”
In Finding Shore, Tom Rogerson improvises on the piano as Eno manipulates the sound further using a Moog Piano Bar. The instrument was created in the early 2000s by synth pioneers Don Buchla and Robert Moog. It sits above the keyboard of a piano, shining an infrared light on each key. When a key is played, the beam breaks and triggers a MIDI signal, which in turn triggers an array of sounds. The results are astounding. The album contains enough melody and structure to hold your attention while allowing for surprise bursts of dissonant notes and an inkling of ambiance and deviation.
The track “March Away” has an ominous quality in the use percussion, almost like little soldiers marching along in full stride. Some tracks have only slight adjustments made, with light dustings of reverb, the simplicity preserving their delicate tones. The album closes with the track “Rest,” a perfect summation of the album’s nature, with nearly two minutes of bare piano before the melody is trailed by echoes of synthesized chiming. When the final chord is played by Rogerson, Eno allows it to be completely dissolved into obliteration. Finding Shore is the result of a collaboration that blends together classical, ambient, experimental and jazz to create a thoughtful, unique work of art.