Track: Slip inside the gorgeous, dubby blur of ‘The Visitant’ as Scottish ambient duo Cahill/Costello announce an enthralling debut album

Cahill/Costello, photographed by Bernadette Kellermann

KEVIN DANIEL CAHILL and Graham Costello, guitarist and drummer respectively, first set off on the path that would lead to them wedding as a musical act with an oblique and rapturous aesthetic when they met at Glasgow’s prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, at which Kevin was pursuing a classical music education and Graham, jazz; they bonded over a shared love of minimalism.

We were lucky enough to premiere their first single drop, “Io II”, named for Jupiter’s moon, at the end of last year; it’s pretty glorious, taking a stripped down approach, bringing the breaks nous of jazz in alongside chime and a certain post-rock sensibility, really calls to mind the chiaroscuro of pre-first album Bark Psychosis, that brilliant run of singles for Cheree. By god, did it leave us wanting more.

And finally, more is what we get, as the pair prepare to release a full-length exploration of their musical chemistry, Offworld; an analogue ambient delight, pregnant with emotion and remembrance and synaesthesia..

Offworld was recorded during August 2020 on location in Sanna, Ardnamurchan, the most westerly point of the British mainland, in the Scottish Highlands. The two spent a week there, living, rehearsing and recording together in that remote crofting and fishing, creating the music that would become their debut album.

During the course of the sessions their intent was to combine their different musical languages. The entire album was treated as a ‘live session’ in an attempt to capture the spontaneity of their coming together and their immersion in the breathtaking beauty and often darker history of this remote corner of the Highlands. Fusing elements of minimalism and improvisational music they create a shared, highly emotive sound world, without regard for over-complication or unnecessary tangents.

They stayed and created at Sanna Bheag, a house which was built in 1927 by M.E.M Donaldson, an English author and ethnographer, one of the first and only artists to document the rich culture of this community in writing and photographs before it was changed forever by the Second World War.

It proved the perfect location to chronicle their own interpretation of modern Scotland and a music for its interior life.

Come gather round, drop into the deep sonic space they’ve created with a first come-hither, “The Visitant”, which we’ve got embedded for you below.

Kevin and Graham say: “One of the first pieces we put together during rehearsal, ‘The Visitant’ initially started as a tape loop of classical guitar with different counterpoint fading in and out.

“Graham would compose a groove that ultimately passed through the piece seamlessly. This ‘passing drumbeat’ inspired the name, representing an apparition or presence gradually passing through the piece.”

It’s also the opening track of the album, and welcomes us in a William Basinski-like degrading tape evocation, thick with dream-state atmosphere, looping in an elliptical orbit and overarchingly most reminiscent of the great Seefeel, through which the drums patter on what’s almost an entirely different meter, somehow both elements on different courses yet completely cohesive.

Welcome, Graham and Kevin seem to say; this is our world. We’ll guide you from here. Let our sounds be your lamp.

Cahill//Costello’s Offworld will be released by Gearbox Records digitally and on vinyl on September 10th and may be ordered now, either direct from the label or from the artists’ Bandcamp page.

Previous See: Alasdair Roberts og Völvur lead you through the sombre, beautiful out-folk of 'Nu Solen Går Ned'
Next Blu-Ray Review: Adoption

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.