Simon Scott’s ‘Apart’ is a sober and extremely personal album, detailing the varying stages of grief and the immediate aftermath of loss. As well as being the drummer in Slowdive, Scott’s latest album is music of and for the psyche; music which could’ve been translated from diary entries. Apart is more than music, and more than an emotional study, as it comes after the death of Scott’s father from Covid-19, who passed away in April.
Field recordings of skylarks (which are in decline in the UK, unintentionally reinforcing Apart’s themes of disappearance and erasure) are interwoven with a long-form piano, but Apart can be surprisingly uplifting, too, as it’s also a record of healing, self-love, and self-kindness.
Reflection is a key component of the record, as is music’s ability to heal, no matter the current circumstances or events. Certain environments are also healers, and Scott has taken refuge in the natural world. 48 hours after his father’s death, Scott walked through New Decoy, a nature reserve in the Fens, where he heard the skylarks and their songs.
“Their songs rang out across the resonant environment…the auditory image created an unexpected multi-species entanglement of sound-meaning correspondence. Self-aware of the decades that had passed since visiting the Fens in my childhood in the early 1980’s with my father, the apperception augmented my profound sense of loss”.
The personal aspect of the pandemic is often forgotten amid headlines, lockdowns, and those who haven’t experienced a loss first hand. Apart goes directly to the heart because of its personal nature, cutting through all else to uncover and peel back a real, universal truth: someone lost their life to the disease; a son lost his father; a family lost a loved one.
The skylarks are essential to the music, creating a personal link and “multiple temporalities in my consciousness”, linking their own songs to the death of his father thanks to that moment in time.
“Helen MacDonald, author of H Is For Hawk, wrote about her experiences of the death of her father, and described how, in moments of deep grieving, she realised one is “clinging to a world already gone”.
As much as it is a document and an archive of a time already gone and a transitory moment that will linger long in the memory, Apart is also a record of attempted release, and of letting go.