Ailein duinn ("Dark-haired Alan"), An ataraireachd àrd (The surge of the Sea) and other songs in the Starless Trilogy feature the sound of the ocean. The manipulation of field recordings, electronic sound textures and orchestration are used to help print emotions through-out the recordings. The works are a collection of songs / compositions, a combination of new works and new interpretations of traditional Scottish Gaelic song.
Sorley Maclean said of the song An Ataireachd Àrd “It crystallises, by the skilful blending of the idea of human desolation and a mournful sound in nature, a mood of universal sadness, a sense of the transience of the world".
The sound of the sea supports the narrative by coalescing the many elements of the recorded work. I decided to travel to Harris to capture found sound elements for the records, it was something I felt compelled to do. Although I am Scottish, I have never travelled to the Hebridean islands, lots of artist I have worked with over the years have told me of the beauty of the islands. I spent hours collecting on beaches and cliffs collecting the recordings, it was quite an experience and I feel the result gives a resonance and authenticity to the work.
During my visit I went into The Mission House Studio and met Beka Globe. Her stunning Black and White photography of Harris in the book “Land Sea and Sky” were the perfect fit for the artwork of Earthbound and I was delighted when she gave me permission to use the beautiful work.
Ailein duinn ("Dark-haired Alan") is a traditional Gaelic lament that was written for Ailean Moireasdan ("Alan Morrison") by his fiancée, Annag Chaimbeul ("Annie Campbell").
Ailean Moireasdan was a sea captain from the isle of Lewis and in the spring of 1788, he left Stornoway to sail to Scalpay in Harris. During the voyage they sailed into a storm and all the crew perished, except for Annag.
You can find Beka’s work here.