King Creosote and Jon Hopkins
Diamond Mine


4.5
superb

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
May 22nd, 2011 | 58 replies | 19,182 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's nothing left for us then us left dangling just a little shamefaced

On accepting the offer to work with King Creosote (Kenny Anderson), producer Jon Hopkins dove into the Scottish singer-songwriter’s extensive discography of releases that stretched from the beginnings of the last decade to the present, picking lost gems and refreshing new ones to arrive at the quality, albeit short, tracklist for Diamond Mine. Hopkins took on the role as acting sort of like both a repairman and a revivalist of sorts for Anderson’s work, never changing the core of the songs, per se, yet coming away with something more profound and, in retrospect, effective on record. ‘When you’ve got a voice that beautiful,’ Hopkins recently told Quietus concerning Anderson, ‘all you want to do is support it. I always let the vocals lead.’

And indeed, Hopkins does just that for the songwriter; though Diamond Mine’s identity as a collaborative effort is never forgotten or shelved either. The introductory-esque track “First Watch” is a gateway of transportation to soothing textures, according to Hopkins comprising of an ‘eavesdropping’ on singer Anderson and his daughter discussing their family’s medical history in the background, masked and accompanied by a distant piano. Entering soon after are the sounds of a light ocean spray and seagulls that readliy invite the steady acoustic guitar strum of Anderson as he breathes and swoons “John Taylor’s Month Away”, a song full of hesitant fear concerning losing track of one’s own identity and location in life. The lyrics of Anderson reach into his interpersonal connections and his very acceptance of mortality (“Bats in the Attic” and “Running on Fumes”) and always take center-stage in the recording, whatever production Easter eggs may be present.

According to Anderson and Hopkins, Diamond Mine is inspired by the pair’s shared love for Fife, Scotland. Many of the latter producer’s personal touches to the songs come from field recordings taken from various locations throughout the area itself, such as on the aforementioned “First Light” and “John Taylor’s Month Away”, the latter dealing with Anderson’s very own neighbor. On "Running on Fumes”, a relational number that’s vocal melody grips the heart and has you easily leveling with Anderson’s person in a relational feud, the songwriter and his brothers can even be heard during roadside bust-ups with car engine revs in the background. Hopkins states that ‘[he’d] brought this little field recorder up to Fife,’ and that ‘[he] took it with [him] when [he and Anderson] went to Kilrenny Church tearooms,’ in leading up to the finalizing of Diamond Mine. Anderson was quick to add, though, that ‘I hope nobody thinks we're like the Fife version of Cornish Sea Shanties’. Diamond Mine’s role as a ‘transportation-al album’, to anywhere really for any individual, comes before any intended, or not intended, geographical references.

What’s interesting about Diamond Mind is the fleeting subtly with which any outside influences – that is, names or geographical locations – are implemented into its auditory contents. The songs’ intended emotions always drive straight home without distraction: ‘You don't need to stand on that new mini roundabout to get it,‘ Anderson told Quietus. ’It's not about the place so much as the state that you're in, and what you've either been through, or need to be through.’ Heard unaware about Diamond Mine’s background, one might merely pick up a soothing piano and acoustic guitar-led folk album that bends and coils on Anderson’s vocals and Hopkins’ delicate production touches; and that’s really what its intended to be, at least initially. But there’s more than that to Diamond Mine if you’re willing to delve into it: various knickknacks and Easter eggs that challenge its initial ‘simple-sounding nature’, yet come off as sounding both comfortable and natural, adding to the experience. Its creators have made it clear that the various places where the album takes listeners is completely up to them: ‘We're not in any rush to tell the story, whatever that story is,’ Anderson concludes. Listen for yourselves, the singer seems to say, and see where Diamond Mine takes you.



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user ratings (90)
Chart.
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excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Steoandnoodles
May 22nd 2011



2832 Comments


The album is so full of charm. I loved it too. =)



Ponton
Emeritus
May 22nd 2011



5775 Comments


"Bats in the Attic" may very well be my song of the year.

Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

Steoandnoodles
May 22nd 2011



2832 Comments


'Your Own Spell' is my favorite but 'Bats in the Attic' is good too. =)

Shadow17
May 22nd 2011



67 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is a fantastic folk album. One of my new highlights of the year so far. Love the conclusion of your review. I fully see your point and agree wholeheartedly.

mehd10s
May 23rd 2011



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Bubble" est une merveille !!!

DiceMan
May 23rd 2011



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bats in the attic is marvelous

a7c7e7
May 23rd 2011



36 Comments


seriously top notch review, so well written and sold me on the album and stuff. Will be checking this out

Ponton
Emeritus
May 23rd 2011



5775 Comments


Thank you, a7c7e7. I hope you enjoy it.

This album is sort of making up for my disappointment of the new Bon Iver. I only wish Hopkins had selected a couple more songs to include on here, though.

Phideaux
May 23rd 2011



1653 Comments


Sounds pretty interesting. Definitely will check this out.

DiceMan
May 23rd 2011



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

been listening to Bats in the Attic a lot lately. Need this.

singthewordhope
May 24th 2011



106 Comments


this is awesome

Ponton
Emeritus
May 24th 2011



5775 Comments


Glad this is getting a positive response.

SharkEthic
May 25th 2011



572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So yeah, amazing... Goddamn this album needs more attention.

Edit: Just ordered this on vinyl, can't wait.

Digging: Drug Church - Paul Walker

Ponton
Emeritus
May 25th 2011



5775 Comments


Glad to hear it. I'll just keep rec'ing it around, and hopefully it will gain some steam.

psykonaut
May 25th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i'm gonna check dis out

CelestialDust
May 25th 2011



3155 Comments


after reading the review you already had me interested, and then I looked at the 'recommended by reviewer' and holy shit now I'm excited.

DiceMan
May 25th 2011



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think this might be better than new Bon Iver...

Thanntos
May 25th 2011



307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While I love this, I'm not IN love with this. Its just too short for me to really connect and get deep with. King Creosote's solo albums really flux heavily from Adult Pop to Folk, but he needs to stick with this kinda of stuff.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 26th 2011



5775 Comments


I was not aware of this when I reviewed it, but apparently this is out this week in the states. Here's a stream: http://www.npr.org/2011/05/25/136242593/first-listen-king-creosote-and-jon-hopkins-diamond-mine

scissorlocked
May 26th 2011



3479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

‘simple-sounding nature’

the background ambiance makes it even better

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches



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