Aidan Moffat releases his fifth and final L Pierre album as vinyl-only (4 stars)

Aidan Moffat releases his fifth and final L Pierre album as vinyl-only

1948- celebrates the work of Felix Mendelssohn's 'Violin Concerto in E Minor'

Over the past 15 years, Arab Strap mainman Aidan Moffat has sporadically indulged as L Pierre, his DIY repository for soothing found sound, scratchy samples and field recordings. The man best known for his droll, unflinching lyrics has produced to date four albums of woozy after-hours instrumentals, appropriating others' work with ever less studio embellishment of his own. But now Pierre is hanging up his boots for good.

For his fifth and final fling, he has lifted wholesale (from Youtube) samples of the recording of Felix Mendelssohn's 'Violin Concerto in E Minor' by esteemed soloist Nathan Milstein with the New York Philharmonic. The original recording became the first ever 12-inch long player release in 1948, hence the title, with the date left hanging pointedly because, despite persistent whispers of its demise, vinyl isn't dead yet.

The Mendelssohn is a gorgeous, sumptuous, sad symphony but the medium is as interesting as the message here. This swansong will be released strictly as vinyl only, with no sleeve to protect against wear and tear (personally I couldn't – my copy is now safely encased in a plastic sleeve, as this is a record I'll want to play again, thanks mainly to Felix … ).

Accordingly, the music comes pre-distressed, with the tremulous, slightly creaky strings sounding a little warped and the concerto chopped up and stuck through a blender. Following a tantalizingly slow fade-in, a mournful melody takes subtle hold, running through the piece like a blue mist, the patina of distortion conjuring up images of European melodramas from the 70s, a realm of long doleful glances, lurid eyeshadow and fur coats.

These moody moments are punctuated with stirring, urgent passages and dramatic crescendos before fading out on an exquisite haunting requiem which hits a locked groove at the end so that the listener can lick that wound for as long as they wish. It's what Pierre would have wanted.

Out Fri 28 Apr.

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