Hurtling Through (ep)
Flying Nun Records
This is a smart move – for both. Hamish Kilgour is an inventive player and yet he couldn’t quite carry it off and showcase his particular brand of magic on his own solo effort, Hollie Fullbrook aka Tiny Ruins is a confident, accomplished songwriter and performer – and her second album was wonderful. It isn’t quite time for a brand new Tiny Ruins full-lengther, so this collaborative, 7-track EP is not only the perfect stopgap, it creates new setting, and a new musical world for both musicians.
Kilgour essentially ‘dirties up’ the Tiny Ruins sound – I say that because these are Tiny Ruins songs, it’s her guitar and voice to the fore, her writing too. But in many ways it is the Kilgour magic – the stuff you cannot learn from a book, nor in a school – that gives these songs a rustic vibrancy, just the right kind of meandering. If Tiny Ruins, previously, had pinned the butterflies to the wall this is the sound of them in full flight.
The opening track is a Yeats poem turned into a Tiny Ruins song. From there it’s to Hollie’s words and tunes, apart from Public Menace, a field recording of Fullbrook and Kilgour walking the streets, talking and laughing as Hamish scrapes across a harmonica and finds drums to hit along the way, turning anything – briefly – into a percussion instrument. On its own it’s a bit of an oddity only, a weird indulgence nearly. The pair could have made this a full-length record with one or two more of the found-sound segues and just one or two songs. But instead they’ve bottled what magic they made, as schedules would allow, across two sessions – a year apart.
That they could do this all again – and/or may never quite reconnect – is part of the allure of this EP.
But it’s Kilgour that brings the real sense of the sixties and seventies to this sound, not merely the bedsit folk nature, it is instead his innate understanding of the Angus MacLise-like world of beatnik-nacking, of framing poetry and mantras in the madness of rough-sewn percussion. He’s given Fullbrook a new world to explore. And her songs have a grit now, they feel like more than just display material.
Hurtling Through is a wee gem.