All the lucky people who managed to get hold of a Home Game ticket this year: here's something to get you in the mood for three days in Anstruther. Having spent a late summer holiday in the East Neuk last year, just one listen to Diamond Mine’s seven tracks and we were back, between the Forth and the green hills, on Fife’s secluded prow. Rarely has a record so vividly transferred the essence of place into sound.
Together, Fife native King Creosote and longtime Fence collaborator Jon Hopkins have created a record of astounding, unhurried beauty, a wistful elegy to life on a quiet coast. KC, of course, is perfectly capable of creating wistful elegies on his own, so what has Hopkins contributed to Diamond Mine? When fellow Fencer Pictish Trail hooked up with electronicist Adem last year, the result was the high-camp disco assault of Silver Columns.
The Hopkins influence here might be more subtle, but it’s mightily effective. KC’s plaintive lilt is left intact, as are his guitars, banjos and accordians (some of the songs here have been recorded earlier in different versions), but behind them swell choirs of keyboards, offbeat rhythms and hints of machine melody. Everything’s left to proceed at its own pace, giving the whole record an ethereal, languid feel. And field recordings reinforce the sense of belonging: gulls whistle, waves lap, cafés chatter and clink. You might also imagine boats rocking and creaking in stone harbours, crunchy footfalls on sandy beaches, distant tractors at work.
It’s an album of delicate, insistent charm, but you don’t need to have ever set foot in Fife to appreciate Diamond Mine – just don’t expect it to let you forget where it’s from.