Featuring Sam Annand / Nerea Bello / Bow Gamelan Ensemble / Matthew Brown / Lomond Campbell / Kate Carr / Holmes + Atten Ash / King Creosote / Liz Lochhead / Mac-Talla Nan Creag / Sam A Mcloughlin / Memori Yobidashi / The Open Path / Tommy Perman / Nick Ryan / Morgan Szymanski / Emily Scott / Rob St John / Jake Tilson / Hanna Tuulikki / Ultramarine / Andrew Wasylyk / Water of Life / WOLF / Richard Youngs
The prospect from Blackford Hill is wide-ranging and far-reaching. This recently established label, curated by designer/publisher Simon Lewin, is based in Edinburgh and shares its name with a prominent topographical feature of that city. This compilation, 'Transmissions / Volume One', is a mapping of interests and affinities, a setting out of current coordinates, a taking of bearings but also a projection of possible routes of travel.
The duo Ultramarine channel the tangy atmosphere and languid cyclical pulse of an English estuary through their distinctive ambient techno. Poet Liz Lochhead recites a sonnet in celebration of love while Andrew Wasylyk's piano scans the measures of an enraptured heart. A vocal ensemble led by Hanna Tuulikki performs new music that reverberates not only with the history of Gaelic song, but also with calls and cries of shoreline birds once imitated within that tradition. The fertile imagination of Lomond Campbell unlocks a spacious looking-glass world, a virtual zone that stretches out beyond his piano's keyboard. Bow Gamelan Ensemble, metropolitan adepts of bricolage, discover sounds that lurk within saws.
Through Blackford Hill, Lewin and co-curator Tommy Perman extend a warm welcome to a selection of musicians, singers and artists in sound they have encountered and befriended across the years. Invariably they are individuals who deeply value their creative independence and approach their work in a spirit of exploration. Their own passionate involvement, integrity and excitement transmits. Often these artists are also highly responsive to the particularities of place. They prefer immersion within specific landscapes and the various histories they embody, to the abstraction of ideas and theories or the demands of a certain style. Their projects and their recordings are personal and grounded; they have character and context and that transmits.
With 'Transmissions / Volume One', Blackford Hill welcomes receptive listeners in search of a fresh outlook and new perspectives. From the luminous voices that glow from Simon Kirby, Rob St John and Tommy Perman's 'Sing the Gloaming' to the wah-wah scintillation of Richard Youngs' 'Thought Plane 2020'; from the psychogeographical resonance of Kate Carr's 'The Owls Were Calling That Dark, Dark Night' to Jake Tilson's tantalising acoustic snapshots of instrumental music heard on the streets of Paris and New York, or to the reedy tones generated by water flowing through Sam A Mcloughlin's homemade river harp in Healey Dell near Rochdale, the prospect from Blackford Hill is indeed wide-ranging, far-reaching and warmly inviting.
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