ROBIN GUTHRIE – ” Pearldiving ” EP

Posted: December 5, 2021 in MUSIC

My first full length instrumental album since ‘Fortune’. A journey of 10 new tracks. I found it difficult to choose a ‘feature’ track for Bandcamp as all belong as part of Pearldiving‘ and perhaps lack the context that I have intended with the other tracks however I’ve picked ‘Les Amourettes’ as it’s only fair to hear something when you pre-order. As ever, I play everything …Robin.

The term frenetic is not one you might usually associate with the work of Robin Guthrie the former Cocteau Twin who, since the group’s acrimonious break up in 1997, has released a wealth of material both solo and as a collaborator, at a pace which has matched his atmospheric but normally sedate music.

This has changed now; “Pearldiving” follows the four track Mockingbird Love EP – which preceded it by a month – and Guthrie has confirmed there are further EPs in the works as autumn turns to winter. There are a number of reasons for this sudden uptick in activity; Guthrie is close to 60, a landmark met without the company of his principal working partner of recent years Harold Budd, who passed away earlier in the year.

As well as this, the Scot is now living in France has tired of the industry’s obsession with calendarization and switched his distribution efforts to Bandcamp, a platform onto which he can have a song finished and uploaded for public consumption within a matter of hours.

Whilst the tentacles of the ambient genre – widely believed to have been given shape by Brian Eno in the mid 70s – have now spread into nano-genres well beyond the word count here to begin to catalogue, Guthrie’s powers of synthesis have always been focused around guitar. And if the material that formed a prelude to his first solo album since 2012’s “Fortune” was four different paths in the same cloud, “Pearldiving’s” ten wordless, beatless tracks are more uniform in tone and sound.

 Shimmering, lyrical and transcendent. So good to dive into this beautiful new music from Guthrie.

It’s a collection which hails from a different place to those of the recent past. Following Budd’s passing the producer, instead of using different settings in which to find perspective and a sense of closure, instead found himself at home. As an antidote to sombre feelings, he retooled his studio, decluttering mind and surroundings. It’s from this environment that the inspiration for this fresh batch of compositions came from.

At the album’s heart is a triptych of sorts, each one separately evocative but flowing in the same melodic pathway. On “The Trail Of Grace” is as close to a traditional structure as things get, a series of overlapping instruments heading for somewhere amongst the gauzy world of the outside.

Its successor, “Les Amourettes“, relies on more glacial phrasing, but after that Euphemia is a slowing of the wingbeat, a reverb drenched pause for wonder and a time for a reflection with an uncertain outcome.

Pearldiving” is Robin Guthrie seeing creativity through a new lens, the inertia and prevarication of the past being consigned to a time when the things that once trapped him no longer feature. If his mood is frenetic then this album is not, but its warmth and pan are both facets of an artist newly galvanized by time, intuition and mindfulness.

Released November 12th, 2021

Song from October’s EP by legendary music-crafter and Cocteau Twins icon Robin Guthrie.

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