Out in April is the new album from sound artist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Scott Dawson, Music For Listening, out via We Are Busy Bodies. Inspired by a conversation with his 95 year old grandmother, and her observations of birds outside her window. This led Dawson to investigate recordings made several years ago which featured birdsong, but was deemed unfit due to the amount of background noise made by mosquitos and insects. Realising these could have a place, he felt compelled to pick up his guitar and accompany the recordings, and that is the basis of the new record. From it, he’s releasing the track ‘Two Solitudes’, and we’re delighted to be able to premiere it right here on Backseat Mafia today.
Of the track and it’s accompanying video, Dawson says “somewhere I heard love described as “two solitudes”. It’s a sentiment extracted from a Rilke quote and has been resonating around in my head ever since. It’s just such a perfect distillation of such a complicated sentiment. I suppose it’s not surprising that someone who makes quiet, minimalist music is drawn to a romanticised notion of solitude. Admittedly, I do spend a significant amount of time out in the world with recording equipment trying not to exist at all. When I stop to think about it it’s so apparent that virtually all of my interests and endeavours since childhood have been solitary affairs. I think it’s how I’ve learned to be at peace with myself. An enormous amount of my youth was spent skateboarding and working on little creative experiments.The visuals for Two Solitudes were captured by filmmaker Rob White. The clip is a love letter to skateboarding.”
Abandoning his primary instrument, the keyboard, Dawson instead employs the guitar, with loops and pedals alongside the field recordings, not just on this piece but the album as a whole, and noises, birdsong and chattering insects add to the echoey musical hue that he creates. Somehow the slowed down images of skateboarding seem almost pastoral, with something of natural world implied perhaps, as these beautiful little melodic fragments repeat and eventually bleed into eachother.
It’s somehow stark yet beautiful. Check it out, here
Listen on Bandcamp, and pre-order the album on physical format, here