Day 10 Mercury Prize – King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

15 Aug

This is an album I expect to be more up my alley, so I don’t think that I’ll be quite as harsh on it as I have been for some of the other albums. This is one of a few collaborative albums that have been recorded this year between Scottish singer/songwriter King Creosote and electronica musician Jon Hopkins. They’re not a pair of musicians that you would expect to pair up but this album works incredibly well.

This album was a creation that took seven years to complete and I think that the hard work has paid off. The album feels effortless and breezy and quite beautiful. Like a house that’s not perfect but that’s why you love it. The record will fit in your cabinet quite nicely next to Laura Marling and Jonny Flynn.

The LP sets this tone with the first track called First Watch. What I noticed that is so lovely about this track is that it’s quite simple. In fact, it’s very simple. There’s not much going on in the foreground but in the background it’s so busy, there’s sounds of people interacting and touching things or playing things. It’s a great contrast that works incredibly well. John Taylor’s Month Away is a bit more full throated and shows their  true colours a bit more. Sure, that might be a cheesy expression but they’re letting their wings spread at this point.

Bats in the Attic exhibits how peaceful this album is and how these two voices work together so well and eclectically. It’s a piece of art this song and one that feels like you found it in a treasure chest. The next song really feels wintery and hopeful. Running on Fumes is the name of the song and I think this is a great song. It’s a song that you need to be in a certain mood to appreciate but I think anyone can admire the talent shown on this LP.

Bubble makes the listener see what Jon Hopkins really brings to the record because a lot of people have said that they feel like this record is mainly  the work of King Creosote but I think that completely isn’t the case and this track proves it. Hopkins is a superb producer and this song has the most amazing effect running in the background, mixed to perfection to blend these two different styles of music so well together. You have to listen to the song to know what I mean by this effect. Your Own Spell reminds you of those more slow and intimate tracks on Mumford and Sons’ (love them) record Sigh No More and in a very good way. The violin in the background suits the song perfectly and I think the flesh of the musicians is shown here. There’s nowhere to hide on this album but they don’t need to hide. The disc ends on Your Young Voice but I don’t know whether I would choose this song as the one to end the LP on but what would I know. It’s soft, subtle and wise. This song reminds you why you’ve enjoyed listening to this collaboration so much.

I think that this album could very easily snap this prize up unexpectedly but the only issue is that it’s a collaboration meaning that it might not happen again so the exposure is a tiny bit pointless. The album needed to reach a wider audience and maybe it can only do that through being shortlisted. Regardless, this album is really lovely, heartwarming and one that you’ll keep close to you. I can only highly recommend it. Definitely not for everyone but a lot should enjoy it.

Score: 8/10

4 Responses to “Day 10 Mercury Prize – King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine”

  1. Ted the B August 17, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    What surprises me is that this took 7 years. Is that because they had a break in between or something? I liked it but cannot see why it took so long. Having said that, I am often reminded by others of the days when albums took 2 years (those atom mothers from London, Pink Floyd, took 6 months to do the drums on “wish you were here”)

    • aculturedlad August 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      Yeah, some people work that way and it takes ages to complete. I can’t really find a source anywhere that says anything about the development of the album other then the fact that it took seven years to complete. In the gap between though, both artists had released albums so perhaps they weren’t so rigorous with recording it. Thanks for the fact on Pink Floyd! Didn’t know that!

  2. markgorman September 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Album of the year bar none.

    • aculturedlad September 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

      It’s a very good and talented album with a very distinct feel running through it. Has it been my favourite of this year? No. Is it definitely in my top ten? Yes!

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