I grew up in a rural Canadian fishing village. Before I moved on and settled into my own life, I spent many summers on the ocean working as a commercial fisherman. One memory from this time is so simple, yet so accute in my mind. I was probably seventeen. It was mid-August, at around two or three in the morning. Only myself and the captain were awake. I took my coffee on deck and sat in a pile of rope. Looking up I observed the most pristine sky I’ve ever seen. Several hundred kilometers from any form of light pollution, I saw an expanse of stars innumerable. It was a brilliant sight.
I recently had the pleasure of discovering the music of Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Duncan. It was with great fortune that I happened across a track called Momento Antes on her SoundCloud. Immediately, that night on the ocean looking at the most brillant expanse of stars was called to mind. The imagery of the our little portion of the galaxy open to me, along with the rolling sounds and superb voice of Amy Duncan combined to form a complete picture.
The song itself is an intricate linking of amazing vocals set to sounds I can only liken to Tangerine Dream‘s Phaedra. Independent of what your musical tastes may be, the beauty of this song warrants appreciation.
I moved on from Momento Antes and began exploring the rich catalogue of songs offered by this vocalist. I stumbled upon Ordinary Day. It had a picture of a mum and child. Being a father and being in a contemplative mood to begin with, I chose to let this one play through. As the name suggests, it is a song about an Ordinary Day. For those younger than me it may not be so appealing. But to me, the ordinary days are what now comprise my life. And I am completely content with this. I don’t get to many gigs, and never have been much of a party person. To hear a song such as Ordinary Day, I had to smile. It was as if the song were written for my family.
I moved one-by-one through the songs. Each had something new to offer. Each was so exceptionally crafted. In many cases I was presented with an acoustic guitar and vocals. In others, the hints of Tangerine Dream played again; an undercurrent of mature ambient sounds drawing on the early trailblazers.
The strong connection between the sounds of Amy Duncan and imagery is profound. I mentioned Tangerine Dream in this article for a reason. In my experience, they were masters at using sounds to call to mind imagery. It is a talent that is not learned but falls out of the creativity process. Amy Duncan embodies this capability and applies it with excellence. It is a rare trait, and one to be valued.
I enjoy using this space to highlight what separates the supreme musicians I listen to from the mainstream radio artists. In this case, it is evident from the musical offerings of Amy Duncan and I needn’t dwell further on it. It is a story of an artist with incredible vocal talent and an intelligence concerning music that is in a class all its own. Quite frankly, until listening to Amy Duncan, I was not a huge fan of the musical genre she belongs to. But that’s the problem with genres. If you limit yourself, who knows what you are missing!
Michael Dakin //