Working with Angus Gunn was, in many ways, a perfect project for Lost Oscillation.
Angus Gunn is an enviably gifted songwriter and a captivating performer.
During the initial sessions discussing what we might record together it became obvious that Angus had a long list of almost 100 original songs that had been refined through gigging, written throughout the preceding decade. It was almost unbelievable how many fantastic songs there were here that had not been recorded in a way that did them justice.
Jack and Angus set about whittling this long list down to an LP’s worth in the following way. Angus would visit Jack at home and Jack would prepare some food. Jack would cook something while Angus played through some songs. Then while eating and invariably drinking Stella the pair would discuss the songs, where they were written, what they were about, what sort of soundworld they might like to inhabit. Meantime, the two would play each other records that might be useful reference points.
From here, Angus would record demos of some songs, either direct to cassette or into Logic with a metronome.
Jack would then work on the arrangement of the songs, giving particular consideration to rhythm section elements, trying to fulfil Angus’ ultimate vision of the songs. Adding his own parts and inviting in other musicians from the broader Lost Oscillation family he gradually set about setting up networks of inference and exformation around Angus’ ideas. Throughout the process Angus, Jack, Dave and Fergus worked together to bring Angus’ singular musical personality to the forefront of the record, whether by accentuating the way he switches between registers mid-line, or adding harmony parts to emphasise particular overtones inherent in Angus’ self-taught fingerpick style guitar parts.
The project was blessed throughout by a huge array of musicians keen to contribute parts to Angus’ songs. Angus gave them free reign to interpret his songs and use them as vehicles for their own expression. This established one of the most interesting sonic aspects of the record: there is an enormous diversity of sonic worlds, musical voices and interpretations, however, they are all rooted in Angus’ musical personality, such is the power of this songwriting.
When the recording phase was (more or less complete) Dave, Jack and Fergus worked together in the studio producing and mixing the album. Here Dave scrutinised each and every element of recorded music, treating it meticulously with the full suite of software and hardware tools over which he is such a wizard creating a beautiful sounding album that straddles the analogue and digital creating a vital, original sound. The album embraces a vast multiplicity of approaches to making music, and an extremely collaborative creative methodology, all grounded in the attempt to do justice to the beauty of Angus’ songs and performance.
A word on the artwork: once again, we are indebted to Daniel Cook, an artist whose ability to create or source visuals that emphasise the character of a piece of music is truly astounding. In this case, upon hearing Angus’ LP the work of Edward Summerton (Senior Lecturer at University of Dundee) entered Daniel’s mind, in particular Summerton’s “Birds of Hell” pieces. We reached out to Edward Summerton, who having heard the music, was happy for his work to be used. For this we are extremely grateful as we feel it suits the music beautifully.