“Insomni” sees Cambridgeshire man Simon Scott embrace a broader range of moods and timbres than on his previous album “Below Sea Level”, at times harking back to the heavier sounds of his early solo work for Miasmah. Although he cut his teeth as a drummer, the music released under his own name is mostly guitar- and synth-based, with the field recordings used to such great effect on “Below Sea Level” also making themselves heard on the new record. The title refers in part to the sources of many of these recordings, no longer limited to the natural world: unable to sleep, Scott’s ears tuned in to “the hum of the fridge… the fish tank, dvd player, a broken laptop…”
While “Below Sea Level” was a tribute to the wide open spaces and hidden aquatic and avian lives of Scott’s native Fens, “Insomni” traces a route through more mountainous terrain. While the late summer haze of the previous album is sometimes felt, this time round the music spans a season of torrential downpours and biting wind as well as moments of warmth and light. From the dense and rough to the light and buoyant, the wide range of timbres and intensities create a more dramatic scenery, with strong contrasts between epic grandeur and quiet intimacy. Tone and harmony are still important, but the music becomes increasingly melody-driven as the album progresses, with pace and rhythm, fleet-footed yet urgent, replacing the steady surge of the drone.
Indeed, “Insomni” is a record of two halves: the first drone-heavy, with harmony and texture the key developing principles; the second more melodic and foregrounding Scott’s skills as a guitarist. In this sense, the music cuts deep into time and sound to encompass a sedimentation of moments and influences that have led Scott to this point. Like a journey with many different waystations along the route, the album offers a range of different vistas and pleasures. Though no clear final destination is arrived at, a red line nonetheless draws itself through each of the album’s points, linking them together: a gaze from a train window as the worlds of the world roll by.
Image by Marcus Fischer