Release Date: May 24, 2011
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Described by singer/songwriter Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) as the "soundtrack to a romanticized version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village", Diamond Mine is a seven-track collection of previously unrecorded Anderson originals that have been doused in Brian Eno-inspired soundscapes by ambient producer Jon Hopkins, littered with rural field recordings and studded with occasional flourishes of accordions and strings. Languid, pastoral, and remarkably serene (each track segues into each other like ice melting on a spring pond), Diamond Mine is so unobtrusive that it barely registers. Anderson's lilting croon, which deftly blends traditional, Scottish folk stoicism with modern, indie folk candor, sits front and center, though his delivery is so even-handed that even he blends into the foliage, but on stand-out cuts like “John Taylor’s Month Away” and “Running on Fumes,” his deft lyricism and gift for guiding a melody through such open terrain helps to keep this lovely collection of ambient folk songs from disappearing into the ether.
Diamond Mine, a collaboration between Fife singer-songwriter King Creosote and producer/Eno collaborator extraordinaire Jon Hopkins, describes itself as ‘a romanticised version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village’. Does that mean we should expect the audio version of a Lynne Ramsay movie then, all grit and some bloke shuffling off the mortal plane, only for Samantha Morton to steal his manuscript and sell it as her own? Fortunately, this is a set of songs that transcends the clichés of concept albums, folk, electronica and being Scottish in one fell swoop. Opener ‘First Watch’ is an atmosphere-setting piece rather than an actual song, the music sneaking in almost unnoticed while a woman serves customers.
Recorded over the course of several years when both of the involved parties could find time or be arsed, to call [b]Diamond Mine[/b] ‘gently ambient’ would be like calling [b]‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’[/b] ‘a tad on the tetchy side’.The sound of ebbing waves and agitated seafowl drifts in and out, and the songs are sprawling, pastoral and freeform, like a Celtic take on Talk Talk’s [b]‘Spirit Of Eden’[/b]. The eerie, mist-shrouded [b]‘Running On Fumes’[/b] is the standout track, but really, [b]‘Diamond Mine’[/b] should be taken as a whole, at night, in the dark, with some Scotch and a blanket.[i]Pete Cashmore[/i]Order a copy of King Creosote and Jon Hopkins ‘Diamond Mine’ from Amazon .
It's easy to forget this album is on even while it's actually playing, such is its understatedness. The opening track was recorded at a church fete: cutlery clatters mutedly, families chat, and, just as you're wondering what's going on, piano chords trickle in, soothing you to sleep. Well, not quite – but inducing a feeling of drowsy security may not be far from what Fife songwriter King Creosote had in mind.
A collaboration that makes sense, with excellent results. Louis Pattison 2011 First, a little background. Kenny ‘King Creosote’ Anderson is a Fife-based singer-songwriter and patriarch figure of a loose conglomerate of folk-inspired musicians, the Fence Collective. Architect of a good three-dozen records since 1998, mostly self-released, but some appearing on bigger labels – see 2005’s KC Rules OK and 2007’s Bombshell, which saw the light on 679 Recordings – his style is so intimate, low-key, but often surprisingly affecting songs that accrue a real emotional weight.