King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Earlier this year King Creosote returned with the absolutely amazing Thrawn, an album that will undoubtedly be spinning for quite some time in houses across the globe.  But, in what could be his most prolific year, King aka Kenny Anderson has teamed up with ambient producer Jon Hopkins to reform/rehash some old tunes that have been laying around the house. Together they completed Diamond Mine for Domino Records, and if anything, it just makes the return of King Creosote that more powerful, as we won’t find too many people writing such incredibly emotional songs.

The first real track on Diamond Mine is titled “John Taylor’s Month Away,” and from the minute you play it, you can tell Hopkins has aided here, as gulls echo in the far-off distance, prior to the entrance of a steady strum from Anderson, along with his magical vocals.  One could try and continuously analyze the lyrics, but there’s an emotional tug that overcomes all the meaning one can try to extract. But, it’s not nearly as touching as “Bats in the Attic.” While King Creosote definitely has the ability to win you over on his own, just light touches such as the static in the background of the piano really forces you to acknowledge Kenny’s vocal quality, which is soon matched by a female counterpart.  You’ll find a softness to the presentation that surely will fit your playlist during those emotionally trying times, or perhaps just a winter mixtape that needs a bit of grace.

One of the things to appreciate about the King Creosote & Jon Hopkins collaboration is that it seems to have allowed Mr. Anderson a bit of time to wander about, such as in the folk-ish track “Running on Fumes.”  While the musical accompaniment is understated, there’s a fragility to Anderson here that seems so sincere that it the lyrics wrap around you, drawing you into the wilderness of the song itself.  Somehow you’ll drift off, just as the song crackles a wee bit; moments such as these don’t exist too often nowadays. Juxtaposed with the quieter element is the more electronic-laden “Bubble.”  It may not be the strongest track here, production wise, but at this point, you’ll pretty much do anything to listen to the vocals over and over again, haunting you until the end of your days.

Closing out Diamond Mine are two of the record’s shorter numbers, but they seem to fulfill the promise of the more developed songs that have been completed throughout.  If you’ve made it this far, as you clearly should have, you’ll likely find yourself caught up in the gracefulness of everything King Creosote seems to touch. Compile that with the studied touch of Jon Hopkins, and you have yet another startling release from a man who can’t seem to stop winning over every single listener he encounters. Let’s just hope the string of excellent releases, such as this one, keep coming down the pipeline for some time to come. Otherwise the world will probably seem a whole lot less beautiful and serene.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/03-Bats-In-The-Attic.mp3]

Download: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bats In The Attic [MP3]

Diamond Mine is out now via Domino Records.

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