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Scatter - Surprising Sing Stupendous Love

  by Emma Haigh

published: 11 / 4 / 2004

Scatter - Surprising Sing Stupendous Love
Label: Pickled Egg
Format: CD


Hypnotic, genre-defying debut from sprawling Glaswegian hybrid, Scatter, who supported Belle and Sebastian on the Scottish leg of their recent tour, and who are the latest signings to the Pickled Egg label

I feel unqualified to write about this. Unlike other groups, other albums in which I am captivated painfully by poetic lyricism, or taken in sway by thrashing squalls and reeling basslines, or grabbed by the scruff of the neck and thrown sideways by the thudding seduction of a heady drum roll, there is no one element to be found in this the debut of Glasgow-based Scatter. Perhaps the Moroccan haze of muted trumpets scrapping with banshee cries; perhaps the spoken beatnik tumblings of an urban drawl; perhaps the operatic thundering vocals that caress and collide with a backbench of broken cymbals. The hook is as hidden as the first time you fall in love. 'Surprising Sing Stupendous Love' is a genre-bending soundscape that nudges free-form with jazz and folk creating the effect of being edged out of an improvisation ring that takes pains not to be improv. It is as heavily calculated as it is spontaneous and abrupt, sampling and borrowing from all the delights and individuality a collective scatters, and coming together in a hypnotic symphony of sound. The visceral concoction of primal strings, weighty tribalesque rhythm, braying trumpets and swooning flutes on Side One seem at once to play against each other, and yet weave gossamer covenant. From 'Orbling 'to 'Alternations of Pasture and Urban Conurban' each track fades and melds with a near incoherent philosophy chanted over the haunting call of swooning flutes and classically trained voices. Side Two sees the vaster scope of whirly organs and nestled percussion. The high brass instrumentation flourishes, an unflagging exercise that refuses to languish. Vocal manipulation strikes discourse in a succinctly complex conversation; it supports without drowning, never hinders or interferes, rather the focus is on the ability to create gorgeous sounds. In particular 'Make the Time', perhaps the highlight of the entire album, seeks deference amid the beauty of individual contribution. Deeply layered, the track finds its essence in merging winding trumpet with pulsing upright bass, grafting acoustic renderings over tinkling high-hats and trailing flute. The effect is a soulful harmony that engages the listener, and seeps under the skin. This is a surprising effort, easily deceived by its rather amateur packaging. At a glance the first inclination is to plop it in with the usual inundation of indie experimentation. However, inside what looks like a cut-and-paste photoshop affair is a highly intelligent and well-crafted debut that points gracefully of greater things to come.

Track Listing:-
1 Orbling
2 National Magic
3 Adventure-Equation
4 Alternations of Pasture and Urban Conurban
5 Maroon
6 Go Down Joe Downey, Part 1
7 Make the Time
8 Confused Dialectic

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The Mountain Announces (2006)
Surprisingly coherent second album from versatile freefrom collective Scatter, whose debut album came was released by Pickled Egg

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