Diamond Mine features lyrics and vocals from King Creosote (Fence Collective member and Scottish music wellspring) with music by Jon Hopkins (composer, studio wizard and Eno collaborator). It's a true labor of love, recorded over several years, whenever Jon and KC could get together. The result is a suite of emotion ranging from cracked despair to patched-up euphoria. Described by King Creosote as a 'soundtrack to a romanticized version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village, the record weaves in slices of life, bike wheels, spring tides, tea cups and cafe chatter.'
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.
Nominated for the Mercury Prize album of the year in 2011, it’s inspiration is taken from the East Neuk of Fife, an area in Scotland that looks over the
Firth of Forth, comprising of the fishing villages in that region.
It’s a stunning album blending KC’s intimate acoustic accompanied vocals with JH’s field recordings and delicious ambient electronics.
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.
Diamond Mine is a resting place - an old friend to curl up to when you're feeling low. Its minimalist approach include sounds of the sea and the calming ambience of sweeping electronica (Jon Hopkins' contribution to the album) which make the accordion sounds and sparse guitars all the more enthralling. Kenny Anderson (a.k.a. King Creosote) has the most perfect voice for Diamond Mine - captivating the listener with the strong Scottish accent and delightful vocal ornaments. This 7 track album took King Creosote and Jon Hopkins 7 years to complete, totally unrushed and this really shows. The songs speak for themselves, there's no overcomplication and its a beauty to behold in its entirety. As Jon Hopkins remarked in an interview, Diamond Mine is more of a `complete experience' than a load of hit singles thrown together and it really works. `Bats In The Attic' has to be my favourite, the harmonies send a shiver up my spine and the mysterious female vocals add a new depth to an already outstanding album.