Glasgow-based composer and producer Richard Luke returns today with his gorgeous new single “Everything A Reason”, taken from forthcoming second album Glass Island.
As with debut album Voz, Richard Luke has collaborated once again with Scottish Chamber Orchestra violinist, Amira Bedrush-McDonald on a beautifully-realised record which builds on the minimal neo-classical piano and strings from that first release by adding ambient synths, glitches and beats.
Due out on 12 April through Canadian label Moderna, Glass Island explores the tensions of living on an island in the wake of referendums on leaving the EU and Scottish independence. The songs, explains Luke, have “confidence and strength, but also a fragility and drama that makes them almost wistful and nostalgic.”
The album title comes after Luke watched Kathryn Joseph play a show in Glasgow last year. “It was one of the most visceral, engaging things I’ve ever seen when she turned around in amongst all these mirrors and lights and sang,” he explains. “I couldn’t stop thinking of the Glass Island thing, because that’s what it looked like in an abstract way.”
Collaborating with Amira Bedrush-McDonald once again, Glass Island shows how the duo’s working relationship has strengthened in the year since Voz. Both note the same things about Glass Island; “I’ve always been drawn to big epic sound of bands like Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire, Jon Hopkins,” says Luke, “with crescendos and long builds. We’re still a way off that but it was something to aim for in these songs. “ Bedrush-McDonald adds “We found ourselves exploring a fuller sound, adding some beats, which takes it into a slightly different category. We also worked with a double-bass player (Kirsty Matheson) on three of the tracks, extending the range of sound and pitch. The music we were writing and playing was begging for that extra depth of sound.”
First single “Everything A Reason” crystallises Luke’s vision for Glass Island; the focus is still Luke’s stately piano and Bedrush-McDonald’s swooping strings, but the track gets added weight from subtle arpeggiated synths, washes of warm electronics and the pitter-patter of programmed beats. Inspired by Low’s Double Negative and the work of Arthur Russell, “Everything A Reason” is at once tense and disquieting, yet optimism glows at its edges .
“I often have a lyric going round my head when I’m writing, even with instrumental music and this track always had ‘everything a reason’ or ‘for everything a reason’ which fits with the meter of a tiny part played by a synth that repeats throughout the track,” says Luke. “It’s about hope, perseverance and belief. Regardless of whether there is something bigger at play out there (god, fate, human nature, aliens) if you believe that there is ‘something’ it will impact your reality. In my opinion, that’s kind of the point of belief, not for that belief to come to fruition but simply to impact your reality in the now.”
“Everything A Reason” is out 8th February. Richard Luke plays a special album launch show for Glass Island on 7th April at Blue Arrow Club, Glasgow.