Pictish Trail: Dream Wall EP review + interview

Pictish Trail: Dream Wall EP review + interview

Pictish TrailPictish Path: Dream Wall EP

(Hearth Data)

Launched 1st of April

Pictish Path, the pseudonym of neo-psychedelia troubadour Johnny Lynch, didn’t get to be an underground cult hero by enjoying by any guidelines, and new EP Dream Wall is not any exception to his model of experimental craftsmanship.

The title monitor is a slice of lo-fi magnificence which captures its subject material (the frustration of what we craft at night time which crumbles away as soon as we get one thing from it) to sonic perfection. All buzzing mellotron, fragile vocals and dreamlike almost-rhythms, the nocturnal sensations of the wall between goals and sleep discover their aural mirror. Performing as a form of appendage to final years full-length album Thumb World, Dream World takes a few of the classes from that album and presents them in even a woozy, fuzzy and mind-expanding type, which what a number of remixes which might be completely complementary to constructing this somnambulist soundscape. I caught up with Lynch for an in-depth chat about it…

Pictish Trail

The title monitor captures its subject material so effectively, was it impressed by any specific expertise of making at night time?

Dream Wall began life about 17 or 18 years in the past as a reasonably simple tune a few recurring dream, though I’m questioning if my reminiscence of it was imagined. I’d simply moved to a small fishing village on the time, and there was a pub proper subsequent to the harbour – I’d usually stagger out after an evening of boozing with my friends, stand on the harbour wall, and stare out to sea. Within the dream, the wall would crack, I’d lose my footing, and fall – and this picture would come again to me, fairly a bit, in unconscious thought. It will need to have been about 2003/2004. I’d solely simply began writing songs however discovered myself as a part of a collective of musicians with music all of a sudden being my full-time occupation. I’m wondering now if the dream concerning the concept of my life not being actual; the crumbling wall maybe reflecting emotions of imposter syndrome or displacement.

When writing songs, there’s a component of eager to faucet into the unconscious thoughts, within the hope it’d reveal some bizarre inner-truth, or purge one thing sudden and surreal, one thing that may shock you. I’ve spent numerous evenings pretending to distract myself whereas making an attempt to write down songs. It’s essentially the most irritating feeling, particularly as when it does work you need to capable of retain that feeling, and replicate it. There are some songwriters which have a strict technique, and good for them. Doesn’t work that method for me, it’s at all times been a thriller. The primary half of this tune is about that.

Once we have been making my most up-to-date album, Thumb World, Dream Wall got here again to me. That album is about being trapped inside cyclical patterns of thought and behavior, and so the concept of a recurring dream fitted. The tune itself was like a half-forgotten dream, and in the end I didn’t really feel it fitted in alongside a few of the different tracks. I’m actually glad it’s discovered its method out now although, as a part of this EP. Folks have stated some very variety issues to me about it.

How did you place collectively the fabric and determine on the collaborators/remixes for Dream Wall?

I’ve bought a behavior of accumulating remixes right here and there. By no means for any particular goal, aside from being a fan of the opposite artists’ music. The ensuing tracks often discover a dwelling someplace, though there are a couple of that haven’t seen the sunshine of day as of but. With the Misplaced Map label, I’m fortunate that I work with a variety of completely different artists, and infrequently fee remixes as b-sides for his or her releases.

Some folks have an aversion to remixes, they don’t like the concept of somebody messing about with the construction of a tune. It’s a variety of strain to remain trustworthy to a tune, and by some means “improve” it. For me, the most effective remixes are those during which the remixer is unapologetically injecting their very own sound, and creating one thing completely completely different. It feels extra like a response to a tune, versus only a remix.

Callum Easter is an Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter we’ve been working with since 2018, and this method to recording, his manufacturing model, is so gritty and textured and abrasive, and likewise actually soulful and sparkly. You discover completely different particulars each time you take heed to one among his productions. I gave him a alternative of songs, and he got here again with a remix of Sluggish Recollections which I actually love.

Kinbote is an digital artist, who was learning in Aberdeen and was a part of a collective up there and who moved again all the way down to East Lothian final yr. He despatched me his music over the summer time, a reduce ‘n’ paste psychedelic mash of samples that he buildings songs round – and I used to be hooked instantly. I requested him if he was up for doing a remix, he stated he’d by no means finished one earlier than, and he created a extremely superbly chaotic model of the tune Pig Good.

Rachel Norwood is one among my favorite musicians. She performs with Bas Jan, Trash Equipment, Rozi Plain and as a part of Jenny Moore’s Mystic Enterprise – and likewise fronts a mission referred to as BAMBOO, a collaboration along with her good friend and synth wizard Nick Carlisle. I actually love the music they make collectively, though it’s tough to explain. It’s kind of progressive synth-pop, though that feels fairly a vapid description. That’s one thing actually emotional about it – the mix of her voice and the melodies inside the songs, and the way they’re organized, they make me cry. Ha! I’m not ashamed to confess that. The remix they did of Sluggish Recollections is absolutely haunting, and I’m extremely touched by the trouble they made with it.

My expensive good friend Suse Bear performs keyboards/digital gizmos within the Pictish Path stay band, and likewise creates her personal lo-fi pop below the identify Good Canine. We’ve recorded music collectively up to now, and for this mission, she approached me about doing a remix of Dream Wall. She’s fittingly reworked the tune right into a hypnagogic pop tune, transposing the chords and melody into one thing utterly new, and blissed-out.

It was the final remix to return in, and when Suse was engaged on it, I began considering that it might be very nice to bookend an EP, accumulating collectively the opposite remixes I had been sitting on. All of them match collectively very well, I really feel.

As somebody so concerned with a number of components of the DIY music scene, who helps to raise a variety of different artists, how have you ever navigated this previous yr? 

The toughest side has been making an attempt to steadiness new issues/ operating Misplaced Map, whereas dealing with childcare, actually. I’ve bought two younger children and with the nursery closed, I’ve spent most of my time with them. Lockdown kicked in simply as I used to be about to go on tour. I had a pile of unsold merch and no concept after we might get again on the highway. When the Bandcamp Friday stuff all began, it had such a profound influence – so many individuals purchased stuff, and made donations, and simply usually supported what I used to be doing. It was actually humbling, and I’ll always remember that generosity. It considerably alleviated my monetary stress.

Being a mum or dad is so all-consuming, it’s been tough looking for time to write down new materials. There’s a bizarre self-imposed strain to have one thing prepared for the top of lockdown, as there appears to be this sense everybody goes to blow up and need to attend as many gigs as potential. I’m wondering if that would be the actuality? At first of this yr, my companion might see I used to be in a little bit of a frantic place, mentally, so was cool with me going off and recording demos all day for every week (so long as I got here again to assist out for the youngsters’ dinner/tub/bedtime.) So it was an awesome train in getting the noise out of my mind, I’ve began writing music that feels so completely different to something I’ve finished earlier than, it’s actually thrilling.

And at last, what three acts have had an influence on you that you simply’d urge anybody to take heed to – one native, one nationwide, and one worldwide? 

Native – hmm, it’s actually arduous to choose only one. In case you’re wanting to find new music from Scotland, I’d actually encourage people to hitch Misplaced Maps membership membership, PostMap Membership. It’s been an awesome outlet for brand spanking new music on the label, from quite a lot of completely different acts – from all throughout Scotland and past. It’s solely £3 a month, and there’s an accompanying podcast too, Numerous stuff to lose your self in – and one thing that’s a relentless inspiration to me.

Nationwide – Currently, I’ve been consuming a great deal of music by Mica Levi of Micachu and The Shapes/ Good Unhappy Blissful Dangerous. I’ve at all times beloved the initiatives she’s been concerned in, however by some means they’re resonating with me greater than ever proper now. Numerous YouTube movies. Her movie scores and collaborations with Oliver Coates and Kwes, and Tirzah. It’s mind-blowing. These first two Michachu albums are those that I’m misplaced in in the intervening time. So many concepts, and it feels so free and wild, and gross and enjoyable. All of the sounds are recorded in a method that feels actually sincere, nothing overly filtered or processed, or manipulated within the course of -the sounds really feel actually visceral and performative. The usage of panning and distortion is absolutely drawing me in, and the dynamic inside the songs themselves is great. It nonetheless sounds ten years forward of its time.

Worldwide – In case you’ve by no means spent an honest period of time with Yo La Tengo, I urge you achieve this. Such a big again catalogue now, and a extremely big selection of sound coated throughout their albums – they will get actually heavy, and psychedelic, after which heart-wrenchingly emotional and tender. However rarely in the identical tune. That’s what I actually love about them. They don’t really feel the strain to weld collectively their completely different kinds inside one tune. They’re simply pleased to let particular person tracks do their very own factor, exist in their very own world, and show the bands throughout an album’s value of distinctive songs.

Thanks Johnny for such fantastic, in-depth perception!

Dream Wall is launched on Hearth Data on 1st April. It’s out there on pre-order now from Bandcamp.


All phrases by Amy Britton. Learn extra on her archive.



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