20 June 2011
listen: diamond mine
Story by Andrew Reinholds
This duo first met at a music festival and have now produced one of the most pleasant audio experiences you’ll encounter.
An epic seven years in the making, Diamond Mine is a collaboration for the ages between Kenny “King Creosote” Anderson a Scottish folk singer who has released upwards of forty albums over the past twelve or so years and Jon Hopkins a graduate from London’s Royal College of Music whose recent projects have included both Coldplay and Brian Eno.
The two met at a music festival in Fife, have kept in touch ever since, and along the way have pieced together one of the most pleasant audio experiences you will come across all year.
In essence, Diamond Mine is an attempt to create a sonic portrait of the East Neuk area that Anderson calls home. The combination of Anderson’s restful and heartfelt tones complemented with Hopkins’ wonderfully subtle field recordings and sepia-tinged electronica work as an aural postcard to a remote Scottish coastal village.
Hopkins combines various ambient elements – from tinkling tea cups and saucers to distant seagulls and surf to link Anderson’s musings on village life. As you’d expect, it’s life’s small, everyday events that many wouldn’t blink an eye at: ‘Bats In the Attic’ addresses the worries of advancing middle age, while ‘Running on Fumes’ talks of a futile argument between brothers and ‘John Taylor’s Month Away’ the loneliness of a sailor’s life against a backdrop of simple acoustic guitar and droning accordion.
The album’s centrepiece is the melancholic ‘Bubble’ where Anderson’s vocal is supported by Lisa Lindley-Jones along with electronic and percussion from Hopkins to create a smoothness and serenity that the rest of the album revolves around.
However, it is Diamond Mine’s final track ‘Your Young Voice’ that steals the show with its repeated refrain of “It’s your young voice, that’s keeping me holding on to my dull life, to my dull life”. It’s a tender tribute from a father to his daughter, and it is, quite simply stunning.
Like the best half forgotten treasures rediscovered in the attic, this is a gorgeous record that will continue to delight over the years with its utterly unique approach to music making that has created a compelling and emotional listening experience.