“So who’s been unfair, Who causes you sorrow? And who’s been unkind, Who burst your bubble?”
Lyric to Bubble by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins (video)
Nothing quite like a pandemic to help your life flash before your very eyes but it occurred to us that 28th March 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Diamond Mine, a collaborative album from Domino and Double Six artists, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. We’ve selected the song Bubble to share with you whilst we revisit this remarkable album.
‘From squeezebox lullaby to tranquilized electronic waltz, this stunning track glides and flickers with all the grace of the Northern Lights in bloom’ – Bubble in Q magazine’s Q50
The album was launched with a breathtaking show at Union Chapel – a memorable moment being the mesmerizing repeat of Your Young Voice echoing through the hallowed rafters: “It’s your young voice that’s keeping me holding on to my dull life.”
Featuring lyrics and vocals from King Creosote (Kenny Anderson) sung over musical backdrops arranged and recorded by Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine is a genuine labour of love, recorded over a number of years without the pressure of deadlines, whenever Jon and KC could get together.
The album, featuring instrumental moments as affecting as the lyrical, consists of newly interpreted obscure delights picked out from 20 years of King Creosote’s treasure chest of a back catalogue. Intended to be heard as a single experience, Diamond Mine produces a near classical suite of emotion ranging from cracked despair to patched-up euphoria. Described by King Creosote as a ‘soundtrack to a romanticised version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village’, the record weaves in slices of Fife life, bike wheels, spring tides, tea cups and café chatter to produce a beautiful, unique and timeless album.
Following a the Mercury nomination they followed this up with an EP, Honest Words featuring a reworking of album track Bats In The Attic as well as songs ‘Honest Words’ and ‘Aurora Boring Alias’. The press release called this the teasing out of the truth in an obfuscating lyric, or contemplating the truth as laid bare by feline nature and star fields. The music underneath follows these thoughts into more expansive, crystalline realms, far away from the harbours and tea-rooms where they began. The album took on a deluxe version in 2012 with the Jubilee Edition featuring extra songs (Missionary, Starboard Home) and KT Tunstall supplying vocals on Third Swan.
Revisiting Diamond Mine through the lens of the past decade – the profundity of the concept album is heart wrenching and it’s hard to imagine the record is anything other than an anecdotal document of human experience. Featuring themes of humility, fatherhood and mortality – it is a sobering and fragile record. The instrumentation itself mixes tradition, spoken word and experiment as if it is musically stumbling it’s way through the changes from traditional to modern times. The lonely spaces of Jon’s treatment of organic, found and piano sounds, profoundly distill Kenny Anderson‘s songwriting. The result is a potent mix and this album marks a strong milestone in the careers of two of the UK’s musical artisans.
We would suggest that collaborations between electronic and independent songwriter whilst now fairly commonplace were still relatively pioneering when Jon and Kenny first got together to set about on this piece. It will be interesting to look back on this record in 10 years time and trace a potential musical lineage inspired by Diamond Mine.
Praise for Diamond Mine
Mercury Music Prize Nomination 2011 The Guardian
The Guardian, Mojo, Q and Uncut listed Diamond Mine in their top albums of 2011.
‘[..] fragile and lovely, adjectives that apply to the whole gig: an album on which everything just clicks, deservingly getting a night on which the same thing happens’ – 5* Guardian live review
‘ancient and modern, complex yet blissfully sparse, and very, very beautiful’- Evening Standard – 5*
‘Extraordinary album? Definitely’ – Sunday Times Culture – 5* CD of the Week
‘a song -cycle that illuminates the exceptional in the everyday’ – Independent – 4*
THIS DOMINO DISCOVERY WAS SELECTED AND WRITTEN BY LYNDEN CAMPBELL