Amble Skuse: 'Our three different takes all try to weave something magical together'
- David Pollock
- 28 August 2018
Electronic musician discusses her new partnership with Alasdair Roberts and David McGuinness
'Our live show is pretty much a feat of "can we do this?"' says electronic musician Amble Skuse, who is describing the performing set-up around What News, her recent album in conjunction with renowned Scottish folk artist Alasdair Roberts and composer and musical historian David McGuinness, being performed this month as part of Sneaky Pete's Central Belters series. 'Our three different takes all try to weave something magical together; Ali brings a kind of timeless traditional ballad singer sensibility to the record, David roots it in this regency piano sound, then I swoop in with electronics and try to lift it up and make it fly through time and space. It's about being delicate whilst being huge, elegant while over the top, and sparkly whilst raining.'
Such fantastical language seems fitting in describing the trio's music together, a selection of centuries-old tunes played on instruments – primarily pianos – assembled by McGuinness which are more than a century old, all given a dream-like contemporary spin by Skuse's laptop work. While Roberts and McGuinness were already working together, the latter heard Skuse's work on her very first day living in Scotland – a composition of hers' was being played by Mr McFall's Chamber – and asked if she would like to collaborate with them.
'I think it definitely helps that we're three very different musicians,' says Skuse 'Although I'm not sure we all made the same record, really. I received Ali and David's stuff already laid out, so I had to figure out what I could add. I listened to the tracks in my campervan while exploring lanes and mountains and lochs in Scotland, and decided I wanted to try to bring a sense of the magical to the tracks. Most of the time I'm adding things which make you feel cold, or blustery, or dark, and then sometimes I add something magical, something which roots us in folklore, fairies, mermaids and witches. That was the part of Scotland which I wanted to put on the record.'
Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Fri 28 Sep. The album What News is out now.