NBHAP Rating: 4,2/5
[one_half last=”yes”]A MOTE OF DUST
A Mote Of Dust
Label: Babi Yaga Records
01. A Mote Of Dust
02. Cracks in the mirror
04. Pull me back in
06. Work of our hands
07. Wolves in the valley
08. The circus
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
What do ABBA, CONVERGE and BLUE NILE have in common? Nothing would be the most obvious answer, although it is actually not true. They share a fan: Craig B, bustling figure of the Scottish independent scene for a long time now, frontman of the legendary AEREOGRAMME and one half of THE UNWINDING HOURS; which other half has recently maneuvered himself into a slight pop dilemma with CHVRCHES. Something that, for better or for worse, never would have happened to Craig B – the man of strong opinions in soft voices. While some of his former colleagues are busy living the popstar dreams, he’s recently finishing his Master degree and in order to fund that (and a pizza, and some beer), set up a new solo project: A MOTE OF DUST.
“I know that you know that this thing might kill you before you let go/ so why do you need to hold on?” – B opens up the lyrics of this new project in Cracks in the Mirror. A song, according to its title, is as much of a self-observation as an accusation. Indeed, wether it was AEREOGRAMME splitting up because of lacking financial success or THE UNWINDING HOURS temporarily falling apart because of Iain Cook’s choice to fully go popular, it appears to be a legitimate question: ‘Why do you need to hold on?’. The answer is probably pretty obvious: Because this kind of music that Craig B holds on to is the one closest to him personally; and he can’t help making it. No matter what the odds are to make a living out of it.
‘I Sleepwalk In Circles’
The name of this latest project refers to a Carl Sagan quote about a mote of dust in which all of mankind’s history’s condensed – a strong image about everything being connected with everything in the end; and also a fateful equation that allows little superiority. In many ways, A MOTE OF DUST‘s music – which is so absolutely Craig B – is an aptly way of expressing humbleness; but with a certain grim and stubborn furor. Here’s a man trying to make sense of things; which includes anger and frustration but most of all: reflection.
Repetitive and sparse acoustic strummings are the foundation of A Mote Of Dust‘s nine tunes; eventually spiced up by a piano, drums and rays of harsh electronica. But at the core of it all is what’s been so exclusively Craig B’s, that it’ll always justify the time being spend with it: his voice. One that rests confidently in itself, perfectly pretending to be fragile – a voice as if WILLIAM FITZSIMMONS would’ve decided to spare us with yet another soothing ballad of psychoanalysis and instead sing us a song after spending a night with a bottle of Scotch in the darkest corner of the pub.
‘The Darkness Won’t Hide Your Name’
B’s having a hard time now and then, he’s probably natural born melancholic and yes, he’s still struggling with his twisted relationship towards religion and spirituality. “I defied all the heavens and the saints/ I turned my back on all their wicked ways/and I left only questions in my wake/ but all these things, save me from my fate” B lingers through Wolves In The Valley, only to find his own reflection later on, revealing to him that it “never knew your name”, doubled by a haunting background voice.
There’s no point of listening to this music as anything but personal. It’s a record you probably put on if you’re alone and in need of directions. These unobtrusive tunes bear the potential of guidance as they’re written from the point of view that’s troubled by the same questions all of us come up with sometimes. Is this it? Why am I, where and who I am? And, most importantly, who am I supposed to be? In a totally unhippie way of meaning it, A MOTE OF DUST answers these questions with the simple and ongoing reflection of self. “There’s always excuses and someone to blame/ but goddamn this silence, the curse on my home/ if I remain frozen/ on my own” – it’s good to have a voice like this lingering in the back of our minds. It’s good to have Craig B in our lives.