Fans of Pictish Trail will no doubt be aware of the artist and his band’s adopted home of Eigg, a remote Hebridean island. Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail) invites and encourages artists to share in this stark and wild landscape, away from the stresses of city life, and equally share in the ability to be off-grid, where they can be free to dig deep into their creative souls. Every time I write about any music emanating from the Lost Map label I do so with a pang of envy, as the island of Eigg looks so invitingly remote and unspoilt.
Electronic artist Makeness has produced four tracks, as part of a residency on Eigg, and this work can now be found as part of V I S I T ▲ T I O N S – a multi-part set of special limited-edition releases, written and recorded in a “bothy” cabin on the label’s Hebridean home. This season sees releases for the first time wrapped in at no extra cost with Lost Map’s PostMap Club subscription service, which each month gives members exclusive access to brand new music from Lost Map artists and guests.
Makeness is AKA critically-acclaimed electronic sonic explorer Kyle Molleson. He is currently based in London, but raised in the Outer Hebrides and south-west England.
Kyle travelled up to Eigg with his good friend and bandmate Gus Beamish-Cook – a Suffolk-born synth-addict, who previously made mind-warping dance-pop rhythms as Bewilderbeast, and who also collaborates on another project with Kyle as Small Car NRG. The pair transformed bothy St Franny’s into a Tardis-like interstellar vehicle, the twinkling lights of various analogue and digital contraptions scattered across every available surface, reflecting the blanket of stars that spilled in through the windows of the long February evenings.
I Can See For Miles opens with woozy synths which inject a sense of playfulness – there’s also something about it that reminds me of the The Magic Roundabout theme tune. If the first number takes you into a pleasantly drifty space, track two, Eigg Heads, shifts the mood, gathers pace, as if you’re stepping outside the bothy to be enveloped by the night. The bleeps and bloops pulsate like stars in a sky startlingly unobstructed by city lights. There’s a staccato thrum to the track, Jon Hopkins style, echoing the vast limitless space that is so present on his recordings. The third track, Lean On, with its chanting vocals, invites us to enter a calmer space.
Fourth track, Bin Police is a reminder of the provenance of this atmospheric set of material. A somewhat mad take on Highland dancing awaits so hit the dance floor … preferably after a few beers or whiskies.
As well as being released digitally via postcard as part of the PostMap Club, Makeness’s
V I S I T ▲ T I O N S session is also available on limited edition cassette tape, available to pre-order now. The opening track I Can See For Miles can be streamed now exclusively via Bandcamp.