Taking their name from a book by J. Gunn-" Orkney; The Magnetic North", this disparate trio of musicians with wide and varied backgrounds, have come togethor to create a modern masterpiece.
The album is supposedly to be played whilst venturing north towards Orkney, thereby evoking a feel for the islands by the time you get there. It is certainly evocative. It could all so easily have turned out to be twee and overly cosy, but instead we get lush soundscapes, seemingly timeless songs with hints of what is oft called nu-folk, but is ultimately just sublimely crafted music.
Erland cooper hails from Orkney, and the inspiration for the music came to him, he says , in a dream about a girl who was an oucast for getting pregnant by a sailor....mmmm. But I guess it doesn't matter whther you believe that or not, it's the music that matters, all of which is awash with orchestral arrangements with lots of strings and woodwind. Generally low tempo and plaintive, there is the odd moment of grandeur, such as on Old Man of Hoy. But overall its a mellow affair,some may consider it a tad MOR, its not at all, its just rather lovely and at the same time majestic, with the occasional nod to ambience.
One song has the Strombank pub choir on it, which is virtually the entire adult population of Hoy! And it is this very sense of the album being imbued with all that is Orkney that comes across, from recorded sounds added to songs , down to the song titles, most of which are place names in Orkney. I get the feeling that as much as I love this music it would mean so much more if I knew the place.
It is also rather nicely packaged, sturdy outer cover with a nice booklet within.
Gonna have to go there now. Music as mesmerising as I have heard it quite some time.