The idea for it was literally conceived in a teepee in the Scottish Highlands. In September 2018, Andrew Mitchell (my frequent solo collaborator and Idlewild band mate) Oliver Coates (Cellist, Composer, Producer, Pal) and I were playing a concert at The Dell of Abernethy in the heart of the Cairngorms.The concert was in an actual teepee, although one with a capacity of fifty, a bar and a fire pit. In the twilight between soundcheck and gig Oliver decided to compose a piece to function as environmental music while the audience arrived, a “dystopic collage of Roddy Woomble’s cut-up phonemes with cinematic drones” is how Oliver describes it.
It was to function instead of playlist music; to condition the atmosphere. Oliver set to work recording me reciting several lines from my notebook, which were then spliced and triggered by computer algorithm while cello & synth drones of varying length looped and grew underneath the booming & panning cut ups of the words, chopped in the tradition of Williams Burroughs to reveal subterranean, cultish and hypnotic meaning through abstract play of sound. When played back through the PA system it sounded both fractured and soothing and suited the atmosphere of the evening - it was the start of autumn, with a chill in the air - the audience was getting close to the fire, drinking beer and gin, with this strange and hypnotic soundtrack all around them quietly playing.
The concert itself was lovely - Oliver played an amazing set followed by Andrew and I, with Oliver joining us on Cello (and laptop) for several numbers. The evening had a spirit of collaboration about it, a spontaneous and creative feel, in the cold and magical highlands forest. Oliver continued to work on the track and it appears at it’s original length on the EP. Oliver titled it ‘RW OC Cuttup’ as that was what the file was named on his computer. It is really much more his work than mine, but he was happy for it to be included on this EP which I’m very grateful for.
At seventeen minutes in length I appreciate that it might be a bit too long or discordant for some - but if you give it time it’s a very meditative and rewarding listen - good to have on headphones while you are climbing a hill in the drizzle, or indeed sitting around a bonfire in the Cairngorms sipping Glen Livet.