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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 March 2011
This is one of those albums where the cover picture kind of gives the game away. Redolent of the small fishing villages on the East Neuk of Fife this album represents the sort of music you might hear a couple of guys playing in the corner, playing for themselves as much as anyone else, but knowing that the beauty in the songs has captured everyone's attention. Hopkins' lush electronic ambience and keyboards backs up Kenny "King Creosote" Anderson's crystal clear vocals - his voice has never sounded better by the way. With no more than some gentle strumming and accordian work on top of that, this is a minimalist, almost sombre album that somehow lights up your day as the ethereal beauty shines through. I am given to understand that there are reasons for it being quite a short album (in today's terms at least) but as they say, you should leave them wanting more which is certainly the case here. So hit the "repeat" button and enjoy again
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on 7 October 2011
In a year that didn't see the release of a true, all-time classic album in the shape of PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" this would have been a real contender for album of the year. An unlikely collaboration between electronica composer John Hopkins and Fife's finest; Kenny Anderson, known as King Creosote produces magical, touching and beautiful results that yields more and more of its charms with repeated listening. Lyrically the album explores the lives of fishermen on the unforgiving Fife coast, exploring the relationship between the land and the ocean and the difficulties of a life spent exploiting the sea.

Musically the album achieves a seamless link between Anderson's unashamedly lo fi instrumentation (he is a master accordion player and competent acoustic guitarist) and the atmospheres and soundscapes created by Hopkins. We start with a beautifully realised soundscape combining snippets of conversation with a building electronic atmosphere that segues wonderfully into the gorgeous "John Taylor's Month Away". Put on the headphones and listen to seagulls, waves rolling against a rocky shore all of them taking on musical qualities against Anderson's beautifully recorded strumming.

By some distance the finest quality of this tremendous album however is Anderson's vocal performance. Rarely have I found male vocals as beautiful and affecting as Anderson's and on this album you will find many of his finest recorded moments. On the hearbreakingly lovely "Bats in the Attic" Anderson's vocals set against understated piano chords, some subtle drums and reverb which perfectly holds everything together the vocals soar and intertwine with beautiful harmonies in a way that few could master. An album then of beautiful components, bound together by wonderful songwriting and arrangements that still manages to surpass the sum of its parts. A rare occurrence indeed and one to be treasured. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 2 April 2011
What a gorgeous piece of music. I've been a long time devotee of King Creosote and The Fence Collective and was a wee bit disappointed by Kenny (KC's) last album Flick the V's. Alas...haven't heard the Burns Unit offering yet. This album which I downloaded this morning has been on constant play. It made an instant impression on me which is unusual. Kenny's languid vocals perfectly complimenting the instrumentals of Jon Hopkins. It's a dreamy,melodic and totally mellow.As another reviewer suggests,A perfect chill out album to soundtrack a weekend evening.It was great to see the album featured on the frontpage of The Guardian recently. Both musicians deserve far wider recognition but such is the dumbing down of UK culture this century that it's highly unlikely that either will ever achieve this.Ahh well...the wider public's loss is the Fence devotees gain!
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on 19 August 2011
I heard a track from this album by chance on late night radio. Checked out the album on a streaming service and ended up buying the vinyl. The album itself sounds to me like a rainy day in a small Scottish village. It's very easy to hear samples of the album - even the whole thing in full - so I'll keep the material review to a minimum. This is mainly a wonderful, short album that runs through as one piece on side 1, but seems to wind down early on side 2 as if ideas ran out/momentum was lost which is a real shame. Side 2 although only holding three tracks plays as two pieces. The second track fades rather than segues and the last track feels like it doesn't quite belong, or doesn't quite fit into the sequence. This is a shame because if the momentum and feel of side 1 could have held up for side 2 this would have been quite some remarkable album, it's still fairly stunning to me, but that's carried largely by side 1.

The vinyl & packaging.

It sounds very nice with surprisingly deep bass in places. Mine may be a little off centre on side 2. One thing that seems odd is that the record seemed to click a bit more on second play (dust?) and a lot after a clean which could be that I didn't clean properly or that there was some residue in the groove. There may be a brief part here and there that sounds a bit off - cutting or pressing or tracking I don't know, but they are very brief.

Custom labels on the record look nice, and the record is in a poly inner sleeve, which is a nice touch for care as the record is slid in and out of the inner. The is also a lyric sheet included - I've yet to figure out exactly what Your Own Spell is about - feel free to comment and let me know. Sleeve is standard rather than gatefold. A small quibble, but I felt that a gatefold sleeve with part of the lyric inner presented on the inside of the open sleeve would have suited an album of this quality more.

My copy came with a download code for the album too, but the terms and conditions on Domino's site seemed over strict and not particularly well thought through/reasonable.
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on 10 July 2012
I found King Creosote and Jon Hopkins relatively late in life, but what a joy!

Each track is very different - with minimal production - the collection has the intimacy of the acoustic with the benefit of Jon Hopkins' layers of electronic chords and melodies. The beautiful female harmonies meld and match his voice perfectly.

It is not unusual for a singer songwriter to be both poet and musician, however, Kenny Anderson is a rarity in that he is also an alchemist who constantly produces gold. Less is definitely more on this work of art.

The two tracks that continue to resonate within me are `John Taylor's Month Away' and `Running on Fumes'. But the sequencing of the tracks has been brought together with knowledge and wisdom. Brilliant.
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on 5 September 2011
I purchased this album on the back of the Mercury nomination. The reviews on here really are bang on, this is a lovely calming reflective album. It is so well produced and you can tell it has taken a long time to get this album exactly right. The review stating that you should enjoy with a glass of wine is very true.

Take some "you time", turn the phone off and enjoy this masterpiece
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on 28 March 2011
This is not an Lp to listen to whilst driving down the motorway. It's a majestic, shimmering work of beauty that is best enjoyed with a glass of wine (or rum) and the lights low.

Imagine Talk Talk's 'Spirit of Eden' crossed with Paul Giovanni's Whicker Man soundtrack. Yes, it's that good.

The aural equivalent of the shipping forecast, this contains seven tracks of such slowing-burning grace and power, I know I'll keep returning to it for a long time to come.
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on 29 March 2011
Have played this continuously since it arrived in the post and it just keeps getting better. You seem to hear more and more each time and the tunes just resonate and seem to last until you find yourself singing and humming them walking down the street.

A record of sheer brilliance - touching songs with beautiful lyrics.
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on 14 August 2011
First heard of this after downloading the Amazon Domino Sampler,& what a great album it is !! Imagine yourself in some remote Scottish fishing village, having a dram (or two) of a fine single malt, in a world without stress where time stands still, thats how good life is for the 34 minutes this album lasts. A great discovery I'm so glad I didn't miss out on.
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on 4 July 2011
Does the term "Ambient folk music" exist? That's how I would describe the dreamy collaberation between Kenny Anderson & Jon Hopkins. Have never heard anything like it. The blend of Kenny's soft Scottish voice & Jon's clever augmentations is the stuff of dreams, music to lose yourself in.Bought the CD after hearing one track on BBC6 Music.
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