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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 248 - 11/14/16

C Duncan
The Midnight Sun
Fat Cat / Border

Glaswegian composer/musician (as well as painter) C Duncan launched his debut single "For" in December almost two years ago. In July 2015, his debut album Architect (including the song "For") was released by the Fat Cat label to critical acclaim. The album, which labelled him a 'new Nick Drake' (a modern day, electronic Drake, a much more up-beat and harmonic Drake that is, with hints of Bon Iver; Bon Iver anno 2016, mind you), earned him a 2015 Mercury Music Prize nomination as well. A year later, he is back with a second album, The Midnight Sun. Well, even though Glasgow is located far from the Arctic Circle and the land of the midnight sun, I guess he aims for some midnight sunny vibe and mood with his music.

The Midnight Sun sounds much more toned down and quiet than Architect. The sound is much more laid-back and lush than on his first album. C(hristopher) Duncan had a classical music upbringing, as both his parents were classical musicians. Young Christopher took up piano and viola, but teenage band years taught him to play guitar, bass and drums. Yet he never lost the fascination for classical composition/performance. He's schooled at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, studying music composition, and his music crawl and swirl the borders between classical music and modern, dreamy pop music. All performed and recorded in his bedroom studio. Opener "Nothing More" sets a perfect mood of some dreamy, midnight sounds. His songs curl and sway through some soothing melodic landscapes, holding neat harmonies and effective instrumentation and arrangements. The ebb and flow of his music is highly fascinating, even though I was a bit sceptical after the first listen. Even though a couple of tracks steps near the border of slickness, Duncan manages to secure his landings. "Like You Do" dances and pulsates gracefully through dreamy pop landscapes. The mixture of the warm piano/keyboard sound paired with cool, dizzying rhythms and his brushing vocals create some nice, sympathetic songs and soundscapes.

The 27-year-old presents some blissful 43 minutes of music with The Midnight Sun's eleven tracks. At times, this makes me think of Bon Iver collaborator Sean Carey, even though I am still a bigger fan of S. Carey. That said, I really enjoy the musical company of Duncan as well. His songs fly or hover lightly like colourful butterflies. Musical butterflies entitled "On Course", "Wanted to Want it Too", "The Midnight Sun" or the aforementioned songs. Butterflies in the evening, chasing the midnight sun - or the midnight moon... The Midnight Sun holds the sound of near weightless, at times sacral pop music. You'd better check out and enjoy his elegant, pleasing songs.

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