Saturday, April 07, 2007

Gloomy Buoyance

Many regard Edwin Morgan among Scotland's greatest poets. My first encounter with his work came with the release of Idlewild's 2002 album The Remote Part. That album solidified the band as one of my personal favorites, and particularly striking was the album closer "In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction." The song features Morgan reciting his poem Scottish Fiction, written exclusively for the album, as the track comes to a thunderous conclusion. A snippet of that poem: "It's a red haunting vibration pushing through the walls of dark imagination, finding no equation." I won't pretend to always understand the intentions of the prose, but his structure and tone resound differently than many poets before him. It was a pleasant surprise then, to discover that Idlewild has teamed with Morgan once again on the new track, "The Weight of Years." Morgan himself does not appear on the song, but all lyrics are his. Roddy Woomble's youthful take on the 86 year-old's words is at times inspiring and at times somber, realizing how Morgan's description of elderly deterioration and acceptance must have been difficult to formulate on paper. Traditional highland string arrangements add to the melancholy, further imprinting Idlewild's footsteps on the cultural landscape of Scotland.

Idlewild - In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction
Idlewild - The Weight of Years

- Brad

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