Ambient folk collective Pine the Pilcrow (Kevin Murray, Rob Campbell, Shay Sweeney & Hannah Ryan) present their latest track “Black Hills”. It follows the bands April 2020 single “If It’s True”, a postcard from their journey into seismic sonic territory.
As a further departure from the quartet’s minimal beginnings, a host of new instruments and techniques are deployed in Black Hills. Peppered generously with producer Alex Borwick’s impish wizardry, the piece is alive with percussive pulsing rhythms from pizzicato strings to foot stomps, sparkles of piano to banging hunks of metal… like a tapestry woven from nature’s chaotic fabric.
About his first contribution to the group as singer and songwriter, cellist Rob Campbell had this to say….
“Most people have a place, or places they go for head space. Ardgillan Castle is one of mine. I’d often walk its boundaries, off the beaten track… this area is called Black Hills. The song is about going there as my therapy when life feels shitty. I just pass through and watch nature carry on regardless of the world around… life in full voice. It breaks the walls down, resets perspective, reminds me that I’m just a tiny part of something incredible and unfathomable. There’s comfort for me in that.”
It is the second of three songs recorded in late 2019 with the acclaimed Alex Borwick (Parliament Funkadelic, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Niamh Regan, Lankum) as producer. The songs were set for consecutive releases in late spring / early summer 2020 but amidst the unfolding uncertainty, the band postponed the release of all but the first song from these sessions. “If It’s True” was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and reaction.
Despite the cancellation of their summer tour dates and further 2020 bookings, Pine the Pilcrow remained as active as possible, recording a selection of covers including John Lennon’s “Isolation” which they used to raise money for charity and having their music featured in the Donal Moloney documentary “Let The Rest Of The World Go By”, airing on RTE television on January 11th. It included a version of the Willie Nelson track of the same name recorded especially for the film. The brief easing of restrictions in 2020 allowed Pine the Pilcrow to complete work on their sessions from 2019, paving the way for further releases later this year. Like all artists they look forward to the eventual resumption of live performance and future appearances around the island.