Sunday, 22 January 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #32 - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, "Diamond Mine"

My first plan was to listen to "La Grande" by Laura Gibson, because I think it would be really good. Here's the opening track from her previous album, Beasts of Seasons. This should give you an idea of why the new album ought to be quite stunning.

But that plan didn't come about. So instead I went north to the Kingdom of Fife and King Creosote's collaboration with Jon Hopkins, "Diamond Mine".

I'd forgotten it had been nominated for the Mercury Prize last year. And I'd never quite fully engaged with King Creosote and/or the Fence Collective over the years. Not sure what it was I was keeping at arm's length; but I think it was connected to going to see Lone Pigeon at The Southern many years ago and being shushed while he played. I wasn't talking, but there was a lot of reverential, curatory shushing going on. And I don't like that.

But now I listen and I like. It's another one of those piano-led numbers, which I just associate with contemplation and rainy blue windows and country walks. It opens with some chatter in a Scottish shop, one of several field recordings that Hopkins brings to the party. "Bats in the Attic" includes the guitar line from a previous version of the song, played back through a mobile phone speaker with that tinkling, whistling noise of a fucked up internet connection. Nice. That troubled me for a bit. Digital ghosts and some such, yeah?

"Running on Fumes" has the sound of windscreen wipers or something similar, a private roadside desolation. And some beautiful ghostly vocals - for want of a less impoverished description. Some wistful accordion perhaps, buried toward the bottom of the mix. "Bubble" even has a soft, skittering beat that sounds like it might have been composed using tissues and sandpaper - and a bit of banjo that can't be beat. Hitch-hikers Guide to the Kingdom. And no sign of Creosote himself, voice-wise at least*.

My limited palate again makes me think about wistful detective series based on wistful detective novels. I have been successfully programmed; but to what end I do not know. It all ends with a nice looping piano line and some more sweet vocals.

And I don't even remember who they gave the Mercury prize to. Ah, yes I do: PJ Harvey. That album I didn't like so much.

Rating: Forfar out of Fife

***POST-SCRIPT*** Turns out that due to a poorly-connected set of headphones I wasn't hearing all the tracks and the vocals of Creosote went unheard. I've had a quick listen with the vocals - and I think I preferred the ghostly version I'd heard the first time around. Ah, well.

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