Dundee musician’s reconfiguration as Andrew Wasylyk has been one of Scottish music’s more pleasing transformations in recent times, affording the songwriter ample space to open his music up to fresh influences. This new LP is the third in a triptych of records that explores the East Coast of Scotland, reconfiguring Tayside and its neighbouring areas as a kind of liminal dreamscape where past and possibility, memory and potential are allowed to intermingle.
A study in colour and tone, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ is a gorgeous song cycle, moving from studied formalism to something freer and more expressive. Opening statement ‘A Further Look At Loss’ is all baroque tinges and the gentle pull of Autumn, led by that gorgeous oboe melody and the stately rhythm.
By way of contrast, ‘Last Sunbeams Of Childhood’ is far less definitive, a track permeates with nostalgia amid its gloopy Boards Of Canada textures, each point of melody gleaming like a lighthouse on a haar-ridden evening.
A record of dichotomous urges, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ shuffles between spider-like modern classical abstraction and languid jazz tones. As with previous album ‘The Paralian’, the record is achieved through Andrew Wasylyk’s collaboration with Pete Harvey, whose string arrangements add definition to those sonic landscapes.
‘The Violet Hour’ is a heavenly, theremin-aided fusion of gentle melancholy and beatific awe at nature’s recuperative power, while ‘Everywhere Something Sublime’ seems to drink in the wonderful emptiness of the Scottish countryside. At times reminiscent of Talk Talk founder Mark Hollis’ daring openness, a song like ‘Lost Aglow’ billows out over any definitions put in its place, a kind of pure creativity of the kind seldom encountered.
Yet for all its defiance, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ is a record rooted in certain pathways, one founded in a definitive time and place. Enormously atmospheric, it has a feeling that draws you perpetually towards Scotland’s East Coast, its mosaic of dialects, attitudes, colours, and sounds. ‘In Balgay Silhouettes’ is a direct reference to Dundee, and it offer a mirror to the way the city feels – its roads, streets, buildings, and people.
A record brave enough to stand on its own, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ completes a marvellous trilogy from the Scottish composer, while asserting a highly individual sonic palette. It’s truly a record to savour slowly.
Words: Robin Murray
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