Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#907 in the Series) is King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine
It begins with “First Watch” which is just a quiet little piano meditation, it’s barely there at all but it sets the mood for the full album, a gentle but effective introduction to the world of wonders we’re about to be granted access to.
Thereafter unfolds an exquisite song cycle, beautifully crafted and perfectly executed. It’s a short album, 32 minutes but not a moment is wasted and with repeated listens it begins to seem as if there’s no beginning and no end to it, it’s just there, wrapping itself around you, you could get lost in here for hours at a time.
There are secrets in here and it takes time to find them , for instance the wee hidden track which links “Running On Fumes” and “Bubble.” So slight that it almost passed me by but so lovely and peaceful, it fits perfectly.
I’m going to compare this work to such masterpieces as “Astral Weeks” (Van Morrison) and “Spirit Of Eden” (Talk Talk). Although it doesn’t sound like either of those two, it has a similar feel to it in that it evokes an overall mood and has songs without conventional structure, kind of free form compositions which maybe aren’t instant but have subtle ways of hooking the listener in.
And what is it all ABOUT actually?
Well, i’m not entirely sure. It’s not a concept album but there seems to be a theme and Kenny Anderson (King Creosote) says it’s loosely based on life in the East Neuk of Fife , a particularly lovely part of Scotland. He manages to explore many areas of life there , channeled through the likes of a fisherman , an old couple , arguments with his brothers etc . It’s a romanticized vision and one which he sings about beautifully, the record is a vocal tour-de-force. Musically it’s “sorta” folk but his compadre Jon Hopkins provides excellent atmospherics, using loops, electronic effects and “found sounds” to create an evocative mood. The work he put into this album is extraordinary, above and beyond the call of duty , his efforts really make it the unique work that it is.
Really, you want this thing to go on forever.
And then, of course it DOES have to end, sadly, but it does so on a sublime note with “Your Young Voice” fading gently away, away, drifting out to sea, floating off like a Chinese lantern into the night sky.
I’m biased of course but i think that Scotland has produced some great music over the years and in terms of recent output you’ll struggle to find an album as good as this, from anywhere really never mind Scotland.
It’s a whole new world, discover it.
– Stephen Dalrymple, Glasgow, Scotland
- First Watch 2:36
- John Taylor’s Month Away 6:31
- Bats in the Attic 3:43
- Running on Fumes 6:36
- Bubble 5:34
- Your Own Spell 3:51
- Your Young Voice 3:17
- King Creasote website
- Jon Hopkins facebook, website, twitter
- King Creosote & John Hopkins facebook, website
Here’s the album plus some bonus tracks as well.