Tidal Patterns is a lovely mix of field recordings and warm instrumentation, a tribute to Scotland’s secluded Isle of Coll. Brothers Andy and Mike Truscott surround the birds and seas with soft, swaying melancholy, but their music is so inviting that it makes one want to visit. Just look at the photos below: not a neighbor in sight and gorgeous, pristine shores.
From the moment the cornet enters on “The Dawn Chorus”, the listener is won over. The rain may fall; the power may flicker; but the feeling of safety remains. At exactly 2:31, the album makes its shift from the ambient arena to that of modern composition. Even the drums seem friendly, like a marching band arriving on the noon ferry for a lunchtime performance.
Piano and brass may be the main draw, but the brothers paint with a larger palette: celesta, kalimba, melodica and more, with guests on violin and cello. While the instrumentation is seldom thin, it’s often quiet, a kind reflection of the tides. Living on an island, one grows intimately aware of the sea’s habits and proclivities. Since the sea is eternal and will not change, those who live near the sea adapt. “Lonban at Dawn” begins and ends with the sound of hammering, perhaps a home repair spawned by a surge.
Low tides leave gifts at the wrack line, while high tides swallow grass and dunes. On Tidal Patterns, it’s easy to imagine both: the low tide as the quiet segments, the high as the brass bursts. When “Aerial View” blooms, the effect is as lovely as the transition from land to air. Even “Dark Skies” seems only momentarily shaded; the strings bring the track to a higher level, nearly spiritual, like the realization that time spent in isolation has deepened one’s wisdom and ability to persevere.
“Malin” is the most immediate piece. Arriving late in the album, the track announces itself with harmonic chords, not an incoming tide but a breaking wave. The triumph of this piece indicates an inner epiphany. One is never truly alone in nature; instead, one is part of the environment in which one moves. The metaphorical lows and highs matter less: one expects each in turn, fearing neither, embracing both. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 4 November