Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Dip In The Ocean

L. Pierre - Ache

With the booze-ravaged corpse of Arab Strap still warm, former Strapper Aidan Moffat makes an immediate return to the fold with the release of a third album under his L. Pierre alias. ‘Dip’ was written and recorded before the break-up was finalised, and is released by Melodic on February 5th 2007. Anybody familiar with Moffat’s previous output as L. Pierre will know what to expect and won’t be disappointed. Oft touted as his ‘dance’ project, only the properly daft will be dancing to this collection of reflective instrumentals. A concept album of sorts, Moffat reveals the albums theme to be “nature and the great outdoors, and particularly the sea”, ‘Dip’ is a hypnotically compelling listening experience. Setting the looped drums and effects of his previous releases ‘Hypnogogia’ (2002) and ‘Touchpool’ (2004) to one side, he has assembled a group consisting of Alan Barr (cello), Stevie Jones (double bass) and Allan Wylie (trumpet) resulting in a live, organic sound.

Much of ‘Dip’ works through seductive repetition. The opener ‘Gullsong’ combines lapping waves and the cries of seagulls with a woozy harmonium sea shanty. ‘Weir’s Way’, named after the cult Scottish television programme following the exploits of the late explorer Tom Weir, is reminiscent of a gentle stroll through the countryside, with a languid, picked guitar loop and trumpets, and no sense of urgency as it meanders through a lovely 11 minutes. ‘Ache’ does what the title suggests, with melancholic piano and Barr’s mournful cello tugging gently but insistently on the ole heartstrings. The only exception to this collection of contemplative songs is the briskly percussive and jaunty banjo-driven ‘Hike’. Closing track ‘Drift’ conjures up images of a lone sole aimlessly floating out to sea in an oar less rowing boat, all tinkling pianos and gently swelling synths that ebb and flow like the endless tides.

Consisting of a mere six tracks, ‘Dip’ is a definite case of quality over quantity, ending as it begins with the sound of wave’s crashing against a shore; a perfectly formed mini-symphony in praise of the sea. It’s bizarre to think that one of the UK’s greatest lyricists is now delivering wordless music of such breathtaking quality, and one wonders how much longer Moffat will continue in this vein.

Pre-order the album from Amazon
Melodic website
Arab Strap at Wikipedia