Album: The Island Come True
Record Label: Melodic
Aidan Moffat takes us on an endlessly tantalizing and emotional journey on his latest Lucky Pierre project
As artists like Brian Eno and Oneohtrix Point Never have proven upon countless releases that there is a huge case of faith required when conducting ambient music. Not only does the innovator have to have a huge amount of faith that the listener will be strung along, but the listener has to exert the same sort of faith in believing that there is emotional value and depth in what they’re listening to. Ultimately, its music that is either going to inspire you or leave you by the wayside entirely.
Aidan John Moffat is a figure of cultish legend. He’s arguably more renowned for his word play and lyrics than musical ability, but since the demise of his group Arab Strap he’s proven via solo projects (three previously under the guise of Lucky Pierre) and various collaborations that he is musically sensitive and knowledgeable to a remarkable extent. The entirely instrumental “The Island Come True” is particularly special, because the unacquainted ear will find examples of that musical sensitivity in abundance here.
“The Island Come True” is a chopped and screwed record comprising entirely of samples, loops and field recordings compiled by Moffat. “Well, anyone can lunge together a few old records and say it’s art”, you might be thinking. But it takes a well- seasoned ear and hand to put something together as chimerical as this. Moffat says of the album that he “hopes it takes the listener on a wee bit of a journey.” There we strike upon another aspect as to why this album is so special; it’s entirely up to the listener to interpret it as they will.
Featuring samples of old 1920s jazz vinyls, even older classical pieces and strangely hypnotic cuts from films, “The Island Come True”’s roots grow much deeper than can be anticipated upon first listen. Every sound, every melody is so full and engulfing that the emotion present in these tracks is almost impossible to contain. The crackle and hiss of the vinyl deck hums all over the album, giving them an exceeding sense of history and that homemade feeling.
The overall tone of the album, to this listener’s ears at least, is melancholy. Opener “Kab 1340” hits with an ominous wall of synth and cacophonous clanging of bells and guitars before pilfering out via a rich string section. It’s a coastal night time storm and the following serenity of the morning before anyone notices that anything’s damaged. “Harmonic Avenger”, with its doom- laden piano melodies and woeful accordion and violin excursions is sitting alone in a dark room with no furniture, drowning your sorrows in a bottle of whisky. “The Grief that Does not Speak” (a line appropriately lifted from a speech in Macbeth) is a moment of terrible realisation, irreversible tragedy. “Dr. Alucard” is a sleazy late night party in 13th century Jerusalem.
“The Island Come True” is a narrative, prompted by Moffat but created by the listener. One late evening this week, after everybody else has gone to bed, grab a bottle of wine, close your eyes and let it engulf you. Alone is the context in which it makes most sense, and which it’ll be most appreciated.
Key Tracks: Harmonic Avenger, Exits, Kab 1340
For fans of: Pre- 1960s media, Brian Eno, Nils Frahm