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WILLIAM DOYLE

William Doyle

Great Spans Of Muddy Time

    It’s nearly a decade since William Doyle handed a CD-R demo to the Quietus co-founder John Doran at a gig, who loved it so much he set up a label to release Doyle’s debut EP (as East India Youth). Doyle’s debut album, Total Strife Forever, followed in 2014, as did a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. A year later, he was signed to XL, touring the world and about to release his second album – all by the age of 25.

    After self-releasing four ambient and instrumental albums, Doyle’s third full-length record – and the first under his own name – Your Wilderness Revisited arrived to ecstatic reviews in 2019: Line of Best Fit described it as “a dazzlingly beautiful triumph of intention” and Metro declared it an album not only of the year, but “of the century”. Just over a year later, as he turns 30, Doyle is back with Great Spans of Muddy Time.

    Born from accident but driven forward by instinct, Great Spans’ was built from the remnants of a catastrophic hard-drive failure. With his work saved only to cassette tape, Doyle was forced to accept the recordings as they were – a sharp departure from his process on Your Wilderness Revisited, which took four long years to craft toward perfection. “Instead of feeling a loss that I could no longer craft these pieces into flawless ‘Works of Art’, I felt intensely liberated that they had been set free from my ceaseless tinkering,” Doyle says.

    “The album this turned out to be – and that I’ve wanted to make for ages – is a kind of Englishman-gone-mad, scrambling around the verdancy of the country’s pastures looking for some sense,” says Doyle. “It has its seeds in Robert Wyatt, early Eno, Robyn Hitchcock, and Syd Barrett.” Doyle credits Bowie’s ever-influential Berlin trilogy, but also highlights a much less expected muse: Monty Don, presenter of the BBC programme Gardeners’ World, Doyle’s lockdown addiction.

    “I became obsessed with Monty Don. I like his manner and there's something about him I relate to. He once described periods of depression in his life as consisting of ‘nothing but great spans of muddy time’. When I read that quote I knew it would be the title of this record,” Doyle says. “Something about the sludgy mulch of the album’s darker moments, and its feel of perpetual autumnal evening, seemed to fit so well with those words. I would also be lying if I said it didn’t chime with my mental health experiences as well.”

    Great Spans of Muddy Time is a beautiful ode to the power of accident, instinct and intuition. The result, however, is far from an anomaly: this celebration of the imperfect album is one that required years of honed craft and dedicated focus to achieve. “For the first time in my career, the distance between what I hear and what the listener hears is paper-thin,” Doyle says. “Perhaps therein reveals a deeper truth that the perfectionist brain can often dissolve.”


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Dinked Edition LP Info: • 'Algal Bloom' Colour Vinyl *
    • Hand-Numbered *
    • Bonus 7” feat. 2 exclusive songs *
    • Edition of 500
    * Exclusive to Dinked Edition

    Coloured LP Info: 'Pelican white' vinyl.

    The second EP of remixes from Man Jumping's reissue on Emotional Rescue features luminaries Bullion, Reckonwrong, Gengahr and William Doyle with their reversions of songs from the Jumpcut album.

    Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion follows his recent rerub of Thomas Leer (ERC072) to provide two remixes. His remake of In The Jungle keeps the originals (leftfield) dance floor roots, but sprinkles the ubiquitous warm glow and off kilter fun(k) that he evokes; while his retake of Walk On, Bye drifts back, highlighting intricate percussion; congas, bass and vocal atmospherics along some breezy swing.

    Reckonwrong is next; turning the bossa vibes of Sqeezi into his own new wave meets italo reversion; topped with his unique 'under the cupboard stairs' vocals. Funky, driving, this overlooked star adds to his cannon for Whities, Pinkman and DEEK.

    After a string of impressive releases for Trangressive / Beggars, Gengahr make a surprise addition, lifting Down The Locale from deceptive beginnings to anthemic heights, adding echo-laden guitar and vocals to the original's underbelly, before a bass break and return lifts to the heavens.

    Finally, William Doyle provides perfect closure. Moving away from his East India Youth moniker (XL Recordings), his output has drifted towards ambient introspection, however, here points to addtional layers; rebuilding Belle Dux On The Beach with added bass, guitar, drums and finally vocals that culminate in a prefect 'to the skies' outrospection.


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