On the radar: Conquering Animal Sound

Share this article

The modern age of electronic riposte is hard on us sensitive scribes. Instead of being met with a flush of thank yous and courtesy ales, a 500 word feature on a non-established local band now tends to be battered and bruised by misinformed, grammatically lacking diatribes lambasting writers for daring to use words exceeding two syllables.

It's these callous, avatar-fronted dressing downs that leave many wondering what the point is; perhaps our hard-thought wordsmithery could be put to better use in a world that trades in cold currency rather than blunt putdowns? But then, as if from nowhere, a band like Conquering Animal Sound (CAS) comes along.

The Edinburgh-based duo of Jamie Scott and Anneke Kampman yield a sound that has us music hacks dusting off our superlative shorts and slipping on a pair of verbosely-lined plimsolls for some much needed linguistic acrobatics. Playful, memorable and absolutely endearing, their effects-speckled lullabies are what taste-making rags sodden their tighty-whities over.

Although formed during a university music class a year ago, this stirring sonic delicacy was borne more from gawky social commonality than musical acumen: "I recall seeing this really tall guy at uni one day, looking awkward whilst being forced to play some horrendous song for an exam," explains Kampman of CAS's formulation. "I felt constantly embarrassed in my first year at university and, thus, felt an affinity there."

Sourced from the Under the Radar blog

The bond is obvious. Kampman's gorgeous intone floats telepathically into the tapestry of guitar and loops created by Scott. Recalling the minimalistic dalliances of Scandinavian progressives Mm, CAS are quite unlike anything you'll hear in Scotland today. Which, it turns out, is entirely the point:

"My own aesthetics and tastes dictate that I try to create stuff that I haven't heard before," says Scott. "I know that's a pretty bold statement to make, as the subtext would suggest that I think we are unique, and obviously we aren't. But as long as I feel like I'm making a concerted effort to create something original and un-generic, then I'm happy."

Kampman agrees: "I would say that we are interested in similar things musically. The idea of creating landscapes is a prevalent feature which drives our music forward. Some of my favorite music is very simple and I admire the ability that some artists have to create a visual scene, and a myth that surrounds their music. I love techno, the way it encapsulates the nature of industry so honestly."

The idea of techno foraging a pathway for CAS to stroll seems preposterous, particularly given their knack for pin-dropping harmonies. Yet their slow-scaling arrangements are built on the sort of repetition that, if the rpm was upped a notch or three, could captivate any disco-biscuit chomping dancefloor.

"Personally, I'd describe our music as electronic, but not in the conventional sense of electronic music," reasons Scott. "Because our instruments are mostly rudimentary - aside from a beautiful big harp - and because we don't have any nice synths or drum machines, our music sounds at once rough and lush. We can throw a lot of different paint at the canvas without worrying about breaking convention as we have no concept of what the Animal Sound actually is. Our material seems to be evolving all the time, and that excites me."

With Kampman taking the lead in Haftor Medbe Group and Scott fronting The Japanese War Effort, CAS's segue into the Scottish music scene has been as slow-creeping as their music. So what's in the CAS store-cupboard for the future?

"To go on tour and to make a few nice releases on nice little labels," heartens Kampman. Scott, however, is slightly more pragmatic: "A smooth soundcheck. We've yet to have one."

The Conquering Animal Sound debut mixtape is available to download for free from the MySpace now, or is on cassette, available at shows.

You can see the band play at the following shows:

23 Oct @ City Cafe, Edinburgh

20 Nov @ The Bowery, Edinburgh