Unsung – Myles Cochran (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Right from the start, there is a wonderful longing to be heard in the music that Myles Cochran makes. You hear a nostalgic yearning for the big skies of American, the place he first called home, but also for the more intimate landscapes of his adopted UK place of residence. But the traditional sounds of the two places have never been far apart and in his songs, you find a wonderful blend of drifting Celtic romanticism, British folk traditions and the roots sounds that were fuelled by Old World travellers washing up on New World shores.

But what really sets his music apart from any number of troubadours and buskers working in the same sonic realms is the treatment and tricks which he applies to the music. The result is a sound which comes through the sort of filter of which Brian Eno or Mark Hollis would definitly have approved. A drifting, ambient and unusual soundscape, one which drapes his deft and delicate guitar work in hauntingly beautiful tones, gossamer layers which soften the edges and add airs of mystique and melancholy.

It comes as no surprise to find that he is often found working with and playing the guitar for Brona McVittie, an artist who similarly pushes her own Irish musical heritage through similar ambient prisms and indie-folk filters.

Unsung (referencing the fact that this is a purely instrumental album) often feels like a soundtrack to a film that you have always been meaning to watch. Its lack of lyrics means that it speaks to you in other ways, bypassing the logic of the head and heading straight to the heart…perhaps even the very soul.

It is music which almost demands that a film be made for it to live in. Maybe such albums could spark a new way of approaching the film/music counterpoint. Rather than music being added after a film has been made, rather, filmmakers find albums that intrigue them and then work out what the accompanying film might be. If that ever happens, Myles Cochran’s work should be first in the queue.

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