Linkwood and Other Lands-Face The Facts.

Label: Athens Of The North.

Format: CD.

Although producers Nick Moore and Gavin Sutherland are both based in Edinburgh, Scotland, they hadn’t collaborated on an album until they began work on Face The Facts which is the first album from Linkwood and Other Lands. It was recently released on the Edinburgh-based label Athens Of The North label, and showcases two talented musicians and producers. They take the listener on a captivating journey through disparate musical genres on Face The Facts. It’s the latest chapter in their respective stories.

Nick Moore aka Linkwood released his debut album System on the Prime Numbers label in 2009. Six years later he returned with his sophomore album Expressions which was released on Firecracker Recordings. 

Then earlier in 2020 Linkwood returned with a new album. However, it wasn’t a solo album and instead was a collaboration with Greg Foat. When the pair released Linkwood and Foat on Athens Of The North it was to plaudits and praise. It was a welcome return from Linkwood. Very few people realised at the time that he would return with a second collaboration later in 2020. 

This time it was with Gavin Sutherland who also records under various monikers including Fudge Fingas, Vin Landers and Other Lands. 

Having released his debut single Pattern Transform on Firecracker Recordings in 2018, Other Lands collaborated with The Nuclear Family on the 12” single Surface Noise. After this, began work on a genre-melting mini-album. 

This was Rehearse In Reverse, which was released on the Origin Peoples’ label in April 2019. It wasn’t until 2020 that Other Lands returned with a new release.

When Gary Superfly recorded Endless and Purple for Mother Tongue Records both tracks featured Other Lands. The single was released earlier in 2020. By then, he had started work on a new collaboration with another Edinburgh-based musician and producer, Linkwood.

The pair had never worked together before but decided to record an album for the Athens Of The North label. Linkwood and Other Facts ended up writing and recording thirteen new tracks that became Face The Facts.

By the time Linkwood and Other Facts’ debut album Face The Facts was ready for release in November 2020, the world was a very different place. Britain was locked down after the global pandemic struck in earlier the year. Like many producers who had recorded an album of what was ostensibly club music Linkwood and Other Facts were trying to promote Face The Facts when clubs were shut and there was no sign of them opening in the foreseeable future. Certainly not this side of the next Ice Age if Nasty Nic and her Nodding Dentist have anything to do with it.

While tracks from Face The Facts won’t be heard in clubs anytime soon, this eclectic outing from Linkwood and Other Facts is sure to find an audience amongst many music fans. There’s something for all tastes on the album. 

Straight away, Face The Facts heads in the direction of electro  house on Theme For A City. Synths are to the fore on this upbeat and joyous track that’s guaranteed to brighten up even the darkest day.

It’s a similar case on First Take where synths and keyboards take centrestage as crispy beats provide the heartbeat. The squelchy synths have been inspired by early house and boogie while the keyboards are sometimes jazz-tinged. Later, the sound of a siren adds a cinematic sound and gives way to Porty. Is this a reference to Portobello, Edinburgh’s answer to the Balearics, and where the city’s beautiful people party? Providing the soundtrack are Linkwood and Other Lands who combine subtle grooves and a crystalline, gossamer melody to create a smooth sounding and memorable mid tempo track for the party people.

Face The Facts is quite different to what’s gone before. Sci-fi synths give way to a driving, mesmeric, sometimes funky and haunting, cinematic sound. Kraftwerk and techno seem to have influenced Linkwood and Other Lands on what’s without doubt one of the album’s highlights.

The multilayered 3VSR features a fuzzy analogy rhythm which is combined with a myriad of electronic sounds and a shimmering, probing keyboard. They play their part in what sounds like part of the soundtrack to a futuristic video game.

It’s all change on Don’t Thrown It. Partly, that’s down to the addition of a needy vocal which is combined with dreamy electronic arrangement. This hooky track shows another side of Linkwood and Other Lands, and is one they should revisit in the future.

Dreamy, dubby and shimmering synths combine with dramatic drums on Gold Leith. Sometimes, sci-fi synths are added to the genre-melting arrangement that veers between dubby, jazz-tinged, futuristic, atmospheric and cinematic. It’s one of Linkwood and Other Lands’ finest moments and sounds as if it belongs on an album of modern library music.

It’s a case of expect the unexcited as Downright takes on a Balearic sound. This shows yet another side to Linkwood and Other Lands who flit between genres on Face The Facts.

Varial is the most experimental sounding track on the album. A pulsating synth adds a futuristic and otherworldly sound. It’s augmented by buzzing, chirping sounds that play their part in this experimental soundscape. 

Shapes is a near nine minute genre-melting epic where Linkwood and Other Lands enjoy the opportunity to stretch their legs. The track takes twists and turns and they throw a number of curveballs.Again, it’s a case of expect the unexpected as combine elements of dub, electro, electronica, house and Krautrock. Especially Kraftwerk whose influence shines through on during this captivating musical journey.

Slow, shimmering, glistening keyboards combine on Silver Nows while drums click and crack and sci-fi sounds flit in and out. Later, the drums drop out and lush orchestral sound drift in and out on this dreamy and ethereal example of electronica.

The keyboard led Up Wrong closes Face The Facts. Washes of synths are added and play their part in in what’s a slow, ruminative sounding track that encourages reflection. It’s the perfect way to close the album.

Face The Facts is a truly eclectic album from the talented and versatile duo, Linkwood and Other Lands. They combine everything from Balearic music, boogie, dub, electro, electronica, experimental jazz, house, Krautrock, library music, post punk and techno. The result is an album where no two tracks are the same. It’s a case of expect the unexpected as Linkwood and Other Lands bowl curveballs and spring surprises throughout Face The Facts, which hopefully, is the first of a series of albums from the two talented Edinburgh-based producers. 

Linkwood and Other Lands-Face The Facts.

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