alasdair roberts – the amber gatherers

wherever twines the path, i will follow
and when the map and fact mismatch, i will burn the map

i think perhaps this is the closest to the heart of folk in the collection.

take two noticeably scottish singers – aidan moffat of arab strap singing about the contemporary struggles of love and existence, replete with beats, bleeps and guitars in some raucousness; alasdair roberts in quiet rounds of death, injury, no idle hands and poetry.

it must seem as ridiculous as comparing american folk singers with rock bands. and maybe they’re just two windows on a vast house of diverse and remarkable musicians. i know they are not the only ones. however, it’s a fascinating study in two musicians who were legitimate contemporaries taking completely different approaches to their music.

a gorgeous song here is waxwing particularly when it reaches three minutes for the last minute. it is the equal of any of will oldham’s more beautiful sparse creations. this is not accidental or ironic. alasdair is perhaps the closest linked musician to will anywhere, metaphysically. i think will owes alasdair a quantity. though here, alasdair owes will on the slightly rollicking; still quiet cascading acoustic guitar; i have a charm.

in the end, alasdair was the link that drew together my two favourite musicians, like weaving strands of yarn into a blanket. i will get to this. but for his own, it feels like listening to a book of folk stories being sung in a building made of heavy stones. not comforting; not cold. it somehow just is and you are happy to be there.


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