Angus McOg is a strange creature, after listening to the album, and struggling to find a classification for the music, I decided to dip my toe into the waters of the internet to see what he (and others) say about him. Obviously, there is the social media stuff, giving a brief – but interesting – biography but the most detailed information I found was from an Americana music review site, but this confused me further because on first listen what you hear isn’t strictly Americana so the review describes the album differently from what I was hearing.
So let us start with the facts.
Angus McOg is an Italian gent called Antonio Tavoni, his music is described as folk and alt-folk and it’s pretty damn good.
Throughout the album there is a feeling of space, a little like the music we hear from Northern Europe or Scandinavia, where the open spaces are part of the production allowing the voice to haunt and ride within, rather than above, the sound scape. The music is complex at times, loops, heavy effects, orchestral influences and fans of Coldplay will give a little nod to the clever Johnny Buckland flavoured guitar twinkling among the rhythms. It’s an album without any stand out performances, by which I mean that no instrument really takes centre stage, so the music has a presence and character of it’s own, nothing is deemed second class to a guitar solo or drum passage (although the percussive intro to ‘Cold Sand’ made me press repeat a few times).
At times the music reminds me of Bon Iver, there are moments when the music leans away from the snowy European plains towards the mountainous landscape of America and the hints of Bon Iver and Neil Young comes in so perhaps this does slip into the Americana mould after all.
I’ve heard this album through a car stereo and through earphones and the listening experience, understandably, is different, the intimacy of songs like ‘Green Ocean Blue’ and ‘Ulysses’ really come into their own through earphones. Those small, intricate details in the production is helped by this more enclosed method, so find a quiet spot and take it in.