Freshly pressed


Well now, I know we’ve made a pretty niche album, it wasn’t our intention, but it did exactly what we wanted it to, and that was showcase the strings in a way we were happy with, and some people in the press did actually open the envelope, listen to what was inside and pass comment, which is always a slight miracle when you are a DIY outfit in every respect. Thanks go to Alistair Braidwood, Keith Bruce and Ed Jupp for these thoughts:

Stray Light (above) is the new album from Emily Scott with The Fell Down Trio who comprise of musicians who have played with Burntisland, Meursault and The Leg, and which features an appearance from King Creosote to boot. As well as Scott’s haunting vocals, there are strings to die for and there’s a wonderful melancholia, which manages to lift your spirits just when you least expect it, and which runs through the collection making it a coherent whole. This is impeccable music impeccably played, and against the strongest of contenders, is the album of the month. (Alistair Braidwood, Scots Whay Hae! blog)

The antecedents date back 50 years to George Martin’s arrangements for The Beatles and include Elvis Costello’s Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet, but there has never been a time when string players were so integrated into modern “indie” music, from Brighton to Birnam, with Glasgow’s Cairn String Quartet, for example, now very familiar players on the scene. Cellist Pete Harvey is one of the most ubiquitous and he is on this disc too, which was recorded at his Perthshire studio, Pumpkinfield, joined by violinist Kate Miguda (who plays alongside him in Meursault) and Rik Evans, viola. It is, however, very much Emily Scott’s record, available as a 45rpm 12-inch platter, nine songs clocking in at under half an hour, all of them written by her for voice and strings. Scott’s are modern “art songs” rather than pop, but her richly-toned, broad-ranged voice recalls the jazzy folk of Joni Mitchell or Laura Nyro without sounding too much like either. Deliberately recorded as live as possible, it might have been better to have spent a little longer on the audio clarity of that instrument, but the strings are beautifully captured, and her writing for them is highly skilled. (Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland)

This is an utterly gorgeous album, and quite unlike anything I have heard all year. I’ve enjoyed much of Ms. Scott’s previous work, but over the course of a record lasting little more than half an hour, she has produced an album for voice and string trio, with a bit of help from King Creosote on backing vocals. So no, not another singer-songwriter-guitarist (not that she ever was). This is a summery record, and proof that such things do not have to be reggae ultra-lite or cheesy. Instead, what we have is an album that almost defies categorisation, and is all the better for it. One of the few comparisons I can draw with is Elvis Costello’s collaboration with The Brodsky Quartet, The Juliet Letters. And even then, perhaps because that was for voice and string quartet and that may even be where it ends. It may seem unusual at first, but as with the all best albums, it reveals more and more of its charms with each successive play. Truly something that does not sound like anything else. How much do I like this record? Well, it’s the first album that I’ve played three times back to back in a long time. That’s it for starters…. (****4.5 Ed Jupp, 17 Seconds Blog)

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