The second David Gray LP to be produced by Ben de Vries, the thirteen-track album departs from the shimmering electronics of 2019’s Gold In A Brass Age and embarks on a sparser, communal soundscape. The atmospheric songs centring themselves around six-part vocals with Gray trading his signature gravel for a softer tone. Recorded prior to the pandemic, the album sessions took place at Edwyn Collins’ Helmsdale studio on the Sutherland coast, with De Vries and Gray finessing the mix throughout lockdown. The album’s artwork is created by former art school graduate Gray himself. Skellig takes its name from a formation of precipitous rocky islands off the coast of Co. Kerry, the most westerly point in Ireland. The multi-vocal layering weaving across Skellig came to Gray during 2013’s Sounding Out Tour, where he recruited members of his live band – including Caroline Dale, David Kitt and Rob Malone - to experiment on his back-catalogue alongside him. Gathering up Dale, Kitt and Malone, and with the addition of Niamh Farrell, Mossy Noalan and de Vries, Gray ventured up to the Scottish Highlands to live out the creation of the record. Welcomed by the kindness of Edwyn Collins, his wife and son, the small, intimate studio felt a fitting location for a record eager to celebrate its Celtic affinity.
David Gray - Skellig CD Released 14/05/21
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