TONIGHT, ten nominees for Scottish Album of the Year will discover if they have been chosen as the recipient of the £20,000 grand prize.
Set up this year as a brand new national prize, designed to reward and encourage diversity and creativity of art and music within Scotland, the SAY awards was developed by the Scottish Music Industry, in partnership with Creative Scotland.
The award aims to recognise the most outstanding albums released by Scottish artists in 2011, focusing on artistic merit rather than sales, genre or label.
£20,000 is also commissioned to Scotland’s art students, with one successful graduate being chosen to produce unique artwork for each of the shortlisted artists.
With the nine runners-up set to pocket £1000, every entrant is a winner in one way or another - but who are the ten nominees?
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
King Creosote, also known as Kenny Anderson, is something of folk royalty. Having released over 40 records, and established record label Fence, which he co-runs with Jonny Lynch of the Pictish Trail, Anderson’s Diamond Mine album is a collection of songs featuring his vocals and lyrics set to music by Jon Hopkins, the former keyboard player with Imogen Heap’s band, who has also collaborated with Coldplay and Brian Eno in recent years. Diamond Mine was also nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize, and has received positive reviews across the board.
Recommended listening: Bats in the Attic
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything’s Getting Older
Aidan Moffat, formerly of Glasgow band Arab Strap and now mostly plying his trade with former bandmate Malcolm Middleton’s solo project, has recorded this album with pianist and bassist Bill Wells, who has collaborated with a number of musicians including Future Pilot AKA and Isobel Campbell. Music magazine Mojo placed the album at #17 in their list of 2011’s best albums, and the 40-minute record has been met with positive acclaim.
Recommended listening: (If You) Keep Me In Your Heart
Mungo’s Hi Fi - Forward Ever
Mungo’s describe themselves as a sound system, following the original Jamaican idea - a group of DJs and MCs playing ska and reggae music. Based in Glasgow, the four-piece have been featured on teen TV drama Skins, and have been around for about 12 years, founded in 2000 by Tom Tattersall and Doug Paine. The band have featured at festivals such as Glastonbury and Womad in that time, and three albums including the SAY-nominated Forward Ever.
Recommended listening: Ing
Twin Atlantic - Free
Long-time darlings of the Glasgow music scene and winners of the public vote, rockers Twin Atlantic finally made a breakthrough this year with their debut album ‘Free,’ following positive reception of their two previous EPs, A Guidance from Colour and Vivarium. Having supported bands such as Blink 182, the Smashing Pumpkins and Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic have toured relentlessly in recent years in a bid to gain recognition. Could 2012 - and the SAY award - be theirs?
Recommended listening: Free
Rustie - Glass Swords
Rustie, aka Russell Whyte, is a producer from Glasgow, who has released three EPs and four singles in addition to his highly-acclaimed LP Glass Swords. His brand of electronic dance music has been hailed as some of the most exciting in years by critics, with some fans claiming Glass Swords has redefined electronica. Listen to ‘Ultra Thizz’ and make up your own minds...
Recommended listening: Ultra Thizz
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
Shoegazing stalwarts Mogwai have made it to the final ten with their seventh album, Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will. Having been around for the best part of twenty years, the quartet were championed by the late John Peel and recorded seven Peel Sessions as a result. Named after the creatures from the Gremlins film, frontman Stuart Braithwaite has laughed off any significance behind the group’s name, commenting ‘we always intended on getting a better one, but like a lot of other things we never got round to it.’ Hardcore... entered the charts at #25, and this track is our favourite - maybe you’re in the video?
Recommended listening: Mexican Grand Prix
Conquering Animal Sound - Kammerspiel
Conquering Animal Sound might well be Glasgow’s worst-kept secret. The duo, made up of Anneke Kampman and James Scott create songs that sound like they belong in a musicbox. The minimalistic Kammerspiel manages to juxtapose melancholia with uplifting positivity. CAS must surely be a strong candidate to pick up the award. The band are in the process of completing their second album, and in their own words: ‘Conquering Animal Sound have been making music together since back the year of 2009. Since then we have written some songs and played some shows and other cool things.’ We’ve linked you to Flinch, from Kammerspiel. We reckon it’s probably filed under ‘other cool things.’
Recommended listening: Flinch
Tommy Smith - Karma
Saxophonist Tommy Smith was born and raised in Wester Hailes, earning a scholarship to Berklee College of Music aged 16. Since then, he has recorded 23 albums and toured extensively with some of the jazz scene’s biggest names. Often billed as ‘the most hard-working jazzman in Scotland,’ Smith has rarely downed tools (or saxophones) sinec the 1980s, and Karma is a tribute to his tireless effort. One of the quite incredible things is that Smith manages to make ‘Scotitsh jazz.’ Listen to the following track from Karma (Land of Heroes) and see what we mean.
Recommended listening: Land of Heroes
Remember Remember - The Quickening
Signed to fellow nominees Mogwai’s Rock Action label, Remember Remember aka Graeme Ronald, is a purveyor of hypnotic soundscapes, with glockenspiels aplenty and minimalist piano. Our chosen track, Scottish Widows, isn’t a tribute to the Edinburgh pensions company (as far as we know) but it is one of the best songs you’ll hear this year. Remember Remember’s instrumental masterpieces really do sound like nothing you’ve heard before. We could go on and on about Ronald’s talents but we’ll just let you listen to our recommended track and wait for you to agree with us.
Recommended listening: Scottish Widows
Happy Particles - Under Sleeping Waves
Graeme Ronald makes a second appearance in the nominations with band Happy Particles, in which he plays bass. Under Sleeping Waves was released at the tail-end of 2011, and (whisper it) there are more than a few similarities with Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros. Elaine O’Connor reviewed Under Sleeping Waves for The Scotsman Radar, saying: ‘You could float on this album for days, allowing its gorgeous melodies to wrap themselves around your head and soothe your tired mind.’ We can’t really put it better than that. Without further ado, here’s the lovely ‘Slowness’ from Under Sleeping Waves.
Recommended listening: Slowness
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 19 C
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Wind direction: West
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