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Roger O’Donnell / Piano Formations.


So, let me tell you a little bit about my friend Roger O’Donnell. He’s one of those people who can think about visual art and design and music and fashion and architecture and technology all at once, and with the same ideas about the aesthetics of each. You know how sometimes you meet a painter or a musician whose work you really admire, and then see that they have a website or sofa or sweater (or whatever) that just seems totally inconsistent with the style of their creative output? Well, that’s the opposite of Roger.

When I first hunted down Roger and forced him to be friends with me met Roger years ago, it was this multidisciplinary approach to creative expression that drew me in and made me want to hear more about his early background in visual art and design and his eventual transition to music. Everything he creates is put together with such craft and care for all aspects of its presentation, and I have a deep admiration for that approach to working.

Roger has played in just about every band that ever existed (seriously—every time I mention a band, he follows by saying, “I played with them, you know”. One of these days it’s going to come out that he toured with the Doobie Brothers, I’m sure), but for the last few years, he’s been primarily working as a solo artist and as a collaborator with various like-minded, independent musicians.

Piano Formations

Roger’s new album, Piano Formations, is to be released on November 15th, and the presale starts today. The packaging is beautifully designed, and the first 150 copies will include a DVD of a series of films of clouds Roger has made in tandem with the music. About the films and how they came to be, he explains:

I left [the music recording] there and didn’t know what more to do with it until one afternoon when I was in the garden watching the clouds come across the valley. The thought of how clouds form and change and the way the piano pieces happened and the quiet change and development they went through became one. Cloud formations / Piano exercises — Piano Formations. I had the idea to pair each piano exercise with a video of clouds, different cloud formations and different piano exercises.

Between now and the release date, Roger will be sharing his entrancing cloud films online. Go on…hit play on the one above, put it in full-screen mode, and sit back. I watched three of them already today, and I was completely transported by them (yes, I am aware that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but it’s the truth!). That’s not to say that the music itself, Roger’s amazing piano work, can’t stand on its own—it can and it does—but to have this kind of visual accompaniment that is so in keeping with the sound is very special, and a true joy to experience.

Thank you, Roger. And happy birthday.

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  • Reply Belle October 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    entrancing is right, that was amazing. thank you for sharing!.

  • Reply karin October 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    This is the same Roger Odonnell from The Cure???

    • Anna @ D16 October 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm

      One and the same!

  • Reply cathy October 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    is roger single? He’s cute, creative and he’s eating a doughnut….;)

    • Anna @ D16 October 29, 2010 at 7:02 pm

      The total package!

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) October 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, I was totally transported watching/listening to that. Feel like I’ve been meditating. Love it!

  • Reply another anna October 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I don’t think I blinked for 4 minutes and 53 seconds!

  • Reply dew i October 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Did Roger say where he filmed these clouds? I love the music, it’s fascinating how connected the clouds are to his piano playing.

    My friend Sarah Oliphant (commercial backdrop painter) has been paining clouds for many years. Many are done in her studio in Vermont.
    The funny thing about clouds is they seem to be site specific,(air currents and such) so when you are in that place where an artist painted or filmed the clouds you can recognize them

    When I’ve stayed in Sarah’s house in Vermont I could see so her clouds in her backdrops.

    • Anna @ D16 October 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

      I believe the cloud films were all made in Devon, England.

  • Reply tara October 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I think I’d just pass out and fall over. Seriously? I feel 15 again . . . staying up late hoping to catch any video, mention, or burp about The Cure on 120 Minutes. Ah, I had so much time on my hands then. Happy Birthday to Roger.

  • Reply Monica October 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    That was totally transporting and just what I needed today. Thanks!

  • Reply Jenna @ sweetfineday October 30, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I remember Roger from the Cure! I always knew you had a friend named Roger O’Donnell from seeing his name on the interwebs, but I didn’t know it was THE Roger.

  • Reply Fiona October 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Gorgeous. What a talent.

  • Reply Erica October 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    How very lovely — thank you for sharing something I would never have otherwise seen or heard. I’m enriched.

  • Reply Brina October 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    It took me the longest time to figure out that the photo on the cover is the back of a piano! Beautiful shot.

  • Reply Liza October 31, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Was the word you were looking for “field”?

    • Anna @ D16 October 31, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      No, but that’s okay, I rewrote the whole thing!

  • Reply Dave November 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    It was an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to chat with Roget last week in London and I clearly got the feeling that he is one of those people that I could talk to for hours on a multitude of subjects. Thanks for being the conduit Anna!

    • Anna @ D16 November 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      I feel all fuzzy inside! (And no, I don’t mean nauseous.)

      You guys remind me of each other a lot in a number of ways, actually, and I’m glad that you had the chance to meet and chat.

  • Reply Dave November 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    “You guys remind me of each other a lot in a number of ways…”
    I’m totally red here!

    “The total package”

    • Anna @ D16 November 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      Well, I was thinking of your mutual love of good design, modernist architecture, and Ferraris, but you can read it however you want!! I have no idea if you like donuts, too…

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