James Lindsay – Strand

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

How would you describe this project?

Strand is a merging of the musical styles that I love and shave spent much of my career working in. At it's core it's a mixture of folk and contemporary jazz, two genres that I have immersed myself in since moving to Glasgow. My goal was always to blur the lines between those musics to create a different sound. I wanted to take melodic inspiration from the folk tradition and alter them rhythmically and harmonically whilst at the same time taking jazz ideas and orchestrating them for folk instruments. As well as this I made an effort to contrast densely composed material alongside open improvisation sections. As the music developed my other influences crept in, aspects of minimalism, mathematical metal and ambient music.

Thematically the album became a bit of a concept based on the Scottish coastline. I was reading at the time of composing about various contemporary stories affecting our shores, such as the legacy of war, the oil industry and the natural environment. There's perhaps a gloominess in much of the music that to me reflects a dark and stormy sea, wonderful artist Jane McMillan allowed me permission to use her painting 'Into the Blue' as my cover and I think it perfectly reflects the mood I was aiming for. 


This project takes traditional music into a new space…what was the process that took you


Since moving to Glasgow I've met and worked with some amazing musicians from all genres, when writing the music I had these players in my mind and knew they could bring the perfect colour to the music I was writing. It was also being around all this amazing live music in the city that initially sparked my excitement for writing. When I was awarded the Martyn Bennett Prize for composition in 2014 that really pushed me on to take my writing to the next step. 


What other projects do you have on the go at the moment?

I'm still working with Breabach full time, we are working on new material as we speak. I'm also piecing together ideas for my next album which I hope to start recording by the end of the year. 


What other pieces have you seen or heard in the last year that you think will stand the

test of time?

So many, but a couple that spring to mind...I love Ben Wendel's album 'Frame', big influence on my writing, amazing playing and genre pushing music. Gabriel Kahane's 'The Ambassador' is brilliant, a perfect example of intricate composition presented through a contemporary-pop lens. 


In an ideal world, what is the piece or project that you would most like to write or create

Tough one, I tend to change my mind all the time! I would like to collaborate with musicians from different cultures, taking my musical ideas and blending it with tradition bearers from other countries.


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