Caught by the River

Diamond Mine

25th March 2011

Diamond Mine. A record by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins.
review by Robin:

A couple of years back, we hosted a stage for the first time at Port Eliot. We didn’t know what we were doing. That was part of the joy in a funny way. We threw together a list of people we loved and put them on one after another. It worked (thank God) occasionally against pretty well stacked odds. That said, there was one thing we were always pretty sure would work – sod it, we knew it was going to work actually. It was our in-case-of-emergency-break-glass booking, a chap with an acoustic guitar who played under the name King Creosote.

Kenny Anderson (King Creosote to the record buying public) is very Caught By The River. He’s a folk musician, in so much as folk music is what you play round the glowing embers of a campfire, three sheets to the wind, full of life and love. He sings songs, he tells tales. He makes you laugh, he breaks your heart. He’s a bit of a genius like that. His set – the closing set of the 2009 festival – featured everything from Scottish drinking songs to a plaintive, gorgeous version of Come On Eileen. A friend of ours surreptitiously recorded the set, it’s something I still sit and listen to all the time. It’s a snapshot of a perfect festival experience (remind me to put it up here someday).

Anyways, Kenny makes records. Great ones. Over the years, he’s made forty albums or so. Some low key, some major label, some handed out cassettes, all of them yielding gems, unpolished nuggets and curios. None of them, though, is quite as jaw droppingly brilliant as his latest, Diamond Mine, recorded with the equally gifted electronics don Jon Hopkins.

The record – just seven tracks long – is magnificent. Put together as a soundtrack to an imagined Scottish fishing village (probably much like the one Kenny hails from), it’s a glorious warm immersive thing. Stuck for words I recently described it as a Caledonian Spirit of Eden. Then I read something saying KC and Jon had set out to try to make something in that ballpark. Wise men with great taste, clearly. The record fair swoons on your headphones, it’s makes your heart pulse, it lowers the blood pressure. It’s just beautiful.

You’ve probably read enough things that show I’m prone to over eulogise records on this site, so I’ll stop. That said, I’d be prepared to give you the money back if you don’t like this one.

Actually, I’m pretty sure if you’ve made your way to Caught By The River and have stuck around a while, that’s not going to be a problem.

Diamond Mine is on sale in the Caught by the River shop, priced £10.