A collection of songs of love and loss for a dying planet: These Southern Lands announce the release of debut album, Midnight Oil
These Southern Lands have announced the release of their forthcoming debut album titled ‘Midnight Oil’. The alt-electronic collaborative project was inspired by the climate emergency, inviting listeners to reflect on the current crisis and the actions that must be taken to save our planet before it is too late.
These Southern Lands is the brainchild of Glasgow-based, Brooklyn-bound, multi-instrumentalist and composer Duncan Sutherland. Produced by sound artist, musician and composer Kim Moore (aka WOLF), These Southern Lands features various vocalists and instrumentalists from across Scotland. The result is a genre-spanning project that combines classical and acoustic elements with experimental electronic sounds to build a heart-rendingly ethereal ten-track soundscape.
‘Hear Me’, the opening track and lead single from Midnight Oil, is a mesmerisingly atmospheric track that builds as Duncan’s vocals ebb and flow over warm synths. “Feel me, feel my bones, with sticks and stones,” Duncan sings modestly in a meticulously realised testament to our increasingly delicate, yet vital, relationship with our own planet.
From here, Midnight Oil guides the listener through an eternal world of its own, drawing parallels between timeless topics of love and loss and our life on Earth. From Want Away with shimmering production and pleading vocals; to Lost for a Forest, an immersive instrumental track culminating in birdsong and perfectly introducing the alt-pop leaning The Birds and the Bees, each track forms a glorious blur of compositions that refuse to be categorised.
Fun in the Pink is the fifth track and third single to be taken from Midnight Oil. Warm vocals are interwoven with crisp, infectious synth hooks, providing a moment of nostalgia-tinged joy amidst the confusion and anxieties of the modern world. One Two Blue is an instrumental track that musically encapsulates the album’s overarching theme of experiencing a play, or contrast, between two worlds, lines or timbres that are in conflict with one another.
“Pay a little debt to tomorrow, today,” Duncan sings with indelible passion in The Tomorrow Thief, before launching into track no.8 and the second single to be taken from the album: Peace vs. Quiet. Borderless and transcendent, Peace vs. Quiet billows softly through a celestial, layered sonic soundscape, totally transfixing the listener in the moment.
Speaking on the forthcoming release, Duncan said: “One of the issues around the lack of emotional responses to climate issues is that the threat is offset from the actions by a large time delay – so we don’t immediately face the consequences of our actions. This project tries to bridge this gap, so the future consequences of our actions - or lack of - hits home, helping us to prevent an avoidable reality before it’s too late.”
Midnight Oil’s penultimate track Happy Orbiting is an enigmatic, 4-minute journey led by haunting vocals that duck and weave over gloomy synths, building to a climax that sounds as foreshadowing as it does fervently hopeful. The album comes to a close with Cruel Light. Glitchy, glimmering synths glint underneath Duncan’s voice: “It’s a cruel light, this hindsight,” he repeats over a woozy acoustic guitar as Midnight Oil comes to a heart-stricken conclusion.
These Southern Lands picks up where Duncan left off with former band Turning Plates, whose 2014 album The Shouting Cave was dubbed by The Herald as “one of the standout albums of the year”. A multi-instrumentalist with a PhD in Renewable Energy, Duncan has combined his passion for music and knowledge of the natural environment to create an album with one intent: to inspire listeners to think about the reality of our precarious existence on this planet.
These Southern Lands features: Cemre Arca on vocals; violinist Georgina MacDonnell Finlayson on Lost for a Forest and The Birds and the Bees; viola and violinist Sagnick Mukherjee on The Birds and the Bees; cellist Joanna Stark on The Birds and the Bees and Happy Orbiting; and flautist Kris De Roeck on Fun in Pink.
This project has been supported by funding from Creative Scotland.
Single and video are published today!
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