KING CREOSOTE AND JON HOPKINS
Kenny Anderson, (AKA King Creosote) on his collaboration with Jon Hopkins on Diamond Mine:
"you can now record your music straight to hard drive, upload onto a website in a matter of minutes and then in seconds send your mp3s direct to smartphones across the globe, thereby adding one more voice to the sensory overload that defines modern life.
alternatively you can dig deep into a songwriter's catalogue spanning 20 odd years, extract those rough gems that warrant a bit of a grind, spit and polish, and then take several more years to weave in the very sounds of the places and moods that inspired those songs, thereby ending up with a seamless piece of music that will not only stop you in your tracks, but will leave you cleansed from the heart upwards.
our "diamond mine" took seven years to complete, and even then there was no real deadline to meet, no budget to work within, and absolutely no pressure to deliver anything other than a soundtrack to a romanticised version of a life lived in a scottish coastal village. we scoured the kc catalogue to find the songs that best suited their physical origins, the ones that weighed enough to anchor a sound in the east neuk of fife, the ones that had aged so well that they hadn't aged in the slightest. and for once we recorded the voice well clear of winter colds, summer hayfever, spring tour strain and autumn festival fatigue.
long afterwards, and only then in the grand fife tradition, jon waited for those moments of serenity and calm to descend - very rare when your day job centres around creating dance music set to the pulse of inner london - to produce a near classical suite of emotion ranging from cracked despair to patched-up euphoria. the sounds that are hard to place are in fact manipulations of real instruments - acoustic guitars, accordions, harmoniums, pianos, choirs of female voices, violins, banjos - and are all a slave to the vocals. we've gone to great lengths to weave in slices of fife life, be it the sound of my bike wheel en route to cellardyke, feisty spring tides, graveyard streams, car indicators, gulls, kilrenny church tea cups and cafe chatter to add a background wash to the pencil leaden tales of offshore fishing, car troubles, sibling fights, bust ups, swing parks and corner shop gossip. while i'm outside having a fly smoke between stories, jon's own instrumental version of events unfolds, and you'll appreciate that neither of us are in a particular hurry to shut up shop, even if it is a half-day wednesday.
for myself, i hear "diamond mine" as an aural painting, its sorry flawed subjects fleshed out by much more interesting bystanders and a vibrant scenery, and my ear can take in something new and surprising as it roves from the golden spot to the darkest murky edge. my own holy grail is talk talk's "spirit of eden" and with each kc album i've tried in my own way to attain that perfection of space, longevity and timelessness ... this is as close as i'm likely to get, unless jon agrees to another collaboration. game over."
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