Composer, harpist, vocalist and sound recorder Ailie Robertson AKA Adenine has put out a debut album, self-titled, with tracks that are named after many different Scottish derivatives of the word rain. Adenine is a short instrumental album, compiled of five lengthy tracks, pulling you on an evocative journey through the Scottish Springs, Summers and Autumns, as we hear more pelting sounds.
Ailie Robertson grew up in Edinburgh but spent a lot of time on Skye as a child, visiting family during holidays. Despite having played piano and harp from a young age, she actually chose to study genetics at Cambridge University. However, music never took a back seat and Robertson took a masters in music performance and has been composing and performing ever since.
Adenine is very clearly from the first listen a record about nature and our place in the landscape. The song titles, Smirr, Spindrift, Flindrikin, Aftak and Haar all refer to types of rain, some more commonly known than others. Just over thirty-four minutes of reflective and experimental music, Adenine is a delicate and stunning piece of work from Ailie.
There is a feeling of nature coming alive, as this album moves chronologically. The fusion of the beautiful harp with field recordings and ambient noise to mould this LP, gives it texture and grounding for a solid piece of work. Centred on the Scottish landscape, this album gives focus on the sounds that become more vivid when you are alone with nature.
The opening track, Smirr, hosts dominant sounds of rain making it impossible to ignore them and put them to the backdrop of our awareness. Aftak features a stark and crackling recording of Skye poet Norman MacDonald reciting his 1937 poem Don Eilean Sgitheanach, discordant and wavering in aesthetic. Closing track Haar is melodic and peaceful, serene yet poignant, the title Haar seems apt, as the harp is somewhat lost in the mist of the stunning strings.
Inspired by folklore and the natural world, the words of Kathleen Jamie and the music of Nils Frahm, there is a richness to this short album. It in fact takes me back to the Cryptic Below the Blanket sonic exhibition in the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, experiencing sound and the natural world, with the two so intrinsically linked. Immortalising nature, Robertson does a fine job to give a variety of textures to her work, and a work that does not age with repeat listens.
Photo courtesy of Bianca Gaudreault