As I look out of the window now, I can see that it’s raining. As I focus my gaze from the houses and trees opposite my window, I can see drops of rain running down the windowpane. Some are running quickly, as they encounter another droplet their velocity increased, as does their mass, until they are at full pelt when they hit the windowsill. Others meander slowly on their journey downwards to oblivion.
While I’m looking at the rain and contemplating how their downward trajectories are similar to ours, I am listening to the debut album self-titled album from Adenine. The themes of the album concern the natural world, our place in it and, quite aptly, the rain. All the song titles are different Scottish terms for rain.
Robertson is an incredible composer. Previously she has had her work performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC’s Proms, but her debut is not a bombastic or flashy. It’s something more understated. The music that Adenine, AKA Ailie Robertson, creates is ethereal and tranquil, but not new age way. Her harp playing is clear and elegant. The melodies she weaves are captivating and immediately draw you into their dew soaked gossamer web. There is an introspection to the songs. They feature bold playing, and ambient atmospherics, but there is a fragility to them. ‘Spindrift’ features recurring motifs. They are piercing and steadfast, but on closer inspection they feel like they are made of finely spun glass. At any moment you feel they could shatter before you.
Throughout the album there are portions when field recordings of rain, and running water, intermix with Robertson’s glorious harp playing. ‘Aftak’ is a prime example of this. These field recordings give the recordings an extra texture that really makes the compositions come alive. They also ground the songs in reality and take them out of the sterile studio where they were created. Giving us something tangible to latch on it. Throughout the listening of this album I frequently have to press pause to see if the rain is in fact part of the song or coming from outside.
‘Adenine’ is the kind of album that you can get lost in. Its melodies remove us from our humdrum lives and take us somewhere far more serene while the themes of nature and solitude conjure a more halcyon time when life was slower and placid. The rain, and the album, has now stopped, but the droplets are still running the pane. I no longer have to pause the album to find out what it real and what is playing, but that feeling of quiet contentment remains. This is the album’s real takeaway. The ability to wash away the mundane world, if only for 40-minutes.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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