Creative Dundee

A Misremembered Journey

Our blog series regularly invites guests to share their thoughts on different aspects of life in Dundee, their own practice, and anything in between. This photo-essay comes from Andrew Wasylyk, exploring his new release Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation.

Solitary work can be beneficial and economical. It may also come at a price in the form of a bill arriving at your dimly lit table-for-one in the self-doubt café. The finishing line of a project can offer reflections on a creative process. A post-mortem documenting exactly when your insecurities clotted, or where hope failed to resuscitate momentum with a jolt of focus. Quite often, I’m left fumbling for such clarity and answers.

Trying to fully absorb the conception and the making of something can occasionally feel like driving through Parisian streets or the backroads of Brechin: you don’t know where you’re going and there’s no time to pull over, to pay better attention. New paths present exhilarating possibilities, but they’re not easy to digest in the throws of isolated steering. After all, something really bad could happen. You might wind up with too much ‘flerb’ on your flute. Or, worse still, miss the A90 to Saddlers for a Forfar Bridie. Finally, if you’re lucky to reach your creative port on time, often sheer relief greedily hogs any remaining headspace. It’s a curious pursuit and a perpetual learning curve. 

If you’re still reading, thank you and a long-winded, bad-simile fuelled welcome to postcards of a misremembered journey. A squinted glance backwards through new album, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’. 

a further look at loss.
some kinds of loss you find a path through, others can gently eclipse your heart. hope and optimism underpin this album, but it’s not without it’s anxieties. arranger pete harvey donned his bernard herrmann cloak here and an unsettling moon seems to rise and tumble in to the darkness. 
last sunbeams of childhood.
in the fond and fading fragments of youth, caught in the last of the afternoon sunlight. opens with the children of my old school, blackness primary. steve kettley’s soprano saxophone was an attempt to channel an appreciation for the records of eberhard weber and les mccann. the bass break is a hello to michael marra’s ‘johnny hallyday’. 
fugitive light restless water.
what began life as a fuzzed-up tape loop imitating fizzing froth on shimmering estuary owes much to the muted trumpet of rachel simpson. there’s an undulating bird-swoop and climb about pete’s string work weaving with seonaid birse’s clársach harp. matthew marra – the first to hear any newness always – said, “early-morning manhattan light’. i got behind that. saw me through a late-night panic or nice. of mark hollis mind here, i reckon. 
the violet hour.
here, sun bleeds and blends to dusk above the blackbirds of blackness road. there were images of hauntology and peter strickland films. for me, avril smart’s melancholic, singing saw whirring into the sky delivered them. double bass is in the hands of thelonious monk aficionado, seth bennett. a punctuated groove and ‘poom’ to celebrate. 
everywhere something sublime.
could be a hope-raiser to brighten the corners. when, somehow, the S.A.Y. award shortlist prize arrived for the paralian, i drove to england in howling rain to swap it for a brummie’s vibraphone. much to the dismay of level-headed pals. scotland’s ruby-gem, bill wells’ work helped stoke this brief flame
in balgay silhouettes.
dundee’s balgay hill: recreational area, graveyard, observatory, occasional lover’s rendezvous. cursed lament or nursery rhymne? for reasons unknown, i recorded the wonky drum loop with the mic of my portable telephone. we’ve julian appleyard to thank on haunted cor aglais.
awoke in the early days of a better world.
of hope and hymn, and slow motion clarinets. a late-comer composed on moog one synthesiser. the title a paraphrased paraphrase of alasdair gray’s, “work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” bless seonaid for channeling cascading alice coltrane over the outro section.
(half-light of) the cadmium moon.
cadmium moon conversations with artist and pal tommy perman tied in with my earlier studies of painters joan eardley and jimmy howie. mr. harvey as ever transcending my john barry want into his own shade of romanticism. 
black bay dream minor.
nocturne to kingoodie quarry and invergowrie bay where i swam with eels as a child. nesting oyster catchers outside my studio window refused to haud their weesht, so i invited them in for the middle eight.
lost, aglow.
adrift or searching? a darkened question with a heartening reply, or the reverse? seems to me thomas white’s 1am drums coupled with rachel’s touch on trumpet asks you in. lapping waves, the promise of the north sea. change, all the beauty and bereavement it comes bound in.

Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation is out now on vinyl, CD and digital through Athens Of The North Records. Order:

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