Claude Speeed - My Skeleton
LuckyMe release prioritising mesmerising dreamscapes over big drops
Modern art is too often about cheap thrills and easy pickings. Pop music is preoccupied with attention-seeking and shock factors; horror movies cast aside creeping uneasiness for loud noises and jump-out-your-skin scares that come and go but leave no lasting sense of dread; comedy uses gross-out humour for cut-rate laughs; dance music is about the drop rather than the build. We’re modern people who want everything and we want it now.
My Skeleton is the debut album from Claude Speeed, an artist who refuses to give up anything easily, whose album opens itself up to only the most devout and patient listeners. Nothing here can be described as immediate, but that makes the cathartic release, or even the frustrating refusal, of that gushing emotional moment even more powerful. As with most music of this nature, you must let the feel and the environment created by the sounds in your ears envelope you. The record opens with ‘Washaa’, a mesmerising dreamscape of intergalactic electronics and swooning string chords that wash over you like a warm welcome, justifying the onomatopoeia of the title. From there, Speeed is most preoccupied with ushering you into his musical memory, with the album only picking up (cough) speed on the bizarrely titled ‘Tiger Woods’. There is ostensibly nothing golf-related in this track. Instead we are greeted with an agitated synth line that is the closest Speeed comes to a pop melody throughout the record. It becomes more frenetic as cooing vocals and industrial grit are layered on top, only for it to fade and die just when it seems it might explode. It is the perfect example of drawing you in but refusing to give everything up, a characteristic drawn from a metaphorical bloodline of electronic artists influenced by rock sensibilities, such as Edinburgh’s own Boards of Canada.
Claude Speeed himself comes from a sure footing in Scottish futurist rock – he is a founding member of Russia and American Men – and it is clear that My Skeleton is a very personal escapade. The songs evoke a daydreamy contemplation, as if staring out of the window on a long train journey. Field recordings taken on various modes of transport and in very normalised environments make up a lot of the unusual, hard-to-place sounds that crop up on My Skeleton to create a very abnormal, almost dystopian melancholy. Speeed ramps up the volume on ‘Prove You Exist’ and the Mogwai-esque ‘Field’ to distort that sadness into an anger – that’s when My Skeleton really takes off.
LuckyMe’s annual Edinburgh Festival Party takes place at La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Fri 15 Aug.