Hello and welcome to my Sunday Recommendation. Thanks for joining me. Every week I read great wildlife and nature books, stumble upon engrossing websites and hear wonderful new music. This is my chance to bring you carefully curated recommendations of all the best I’ve experienced – every Sunday.
If it’s folk, or independent, or about wildlife, nature or Orkney, I may love it, and so may you.
Adenine by Adenine
This week I’ve been thrilled by Adenine, the new solo project from the Scottish composer and harp-virtuoso, Ailie Robertson. Ailie Robertson is a composer, arranger and teacher well known for her improvisation and virtuoso harp playing. She has performed and recorded with other artists and ensembles and recorded more traditional harp music, but this is her new solo project.
Adenine, the album, is both complex and simple, full of rich, multi-layered sounds, using an electric harp, pedal effects, outdoor recordings and a modular synthesiser.
If you like Erland Cooper, then Adenine may well be for you. I bought the vinyl album direct from Ailie on her Bandcamp site and it’s playing right now. Here’s Smirr, meaning a light drizzle or rain, which contains an outdoor ‘field’ recording of a stream:
And here’s Flindrikin, with a video by Samuel Hurt, which has more electronics that the other pieces, presumably because it was produced by Ailie and Andrea Gobbi:
The world in 2020 is very different from 2019. Many people are stressed, financially challenged and have lost loved ones. Many are looking for a way to relax and disengage from the world of masks, self-isolation and risks of infection. Adenine has arrived at the perfect moment. Her music is a balm for the soul.
I’m someone who bought Ambient 1 – Music for Airports by Brian Eno in the 1980s, with its attempt to use repeating loops of sounds to defuse the tense, anxious atmosphere of an airport terminal. I also still adore Renaissance of the Celtic Harp by Alan Stivell, from 1972, and play the vinyl when I’d like to relax. Adenine’s album feels like the perfect equivalent, in that it was made for this time, to diffuse the tension of 2020. With more people taking up meditation, increases in stress and anxiety, and concern about emotional well-being, relaxing to music has taken on an ever increased importance.
The outdoor recordings, electronics, processed voices and glorious harp combine into a complex, beautifully mixed, whole, which is deeply emotional. It’s a sophisticated blend of sounds with shifting moods, and melodies which are often under the surface rather than exposed. It’s a beautiful piece of work.
The vinyl album is available in an edition of just 300 copies. I bought mine from Bandcamp, directly from Adenine’s shop here:
https://adenine1.bandcamp.com/album/adenine. It always feels good to support the artist directly.
I’m delighted she’s made something so appealing. I hope you might find it a balm for your soul, too, in these troubled times.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with more recommendations of things you might adore next Sunday. In the meantime, I wish you a great week. Keep safe, everyone.