Kinbrae is the musical project of twin brothers Andrew & Michael Truscott based in Edinburgh and Dundee, Scotland. Their signature sound is at once evocative and experimental, mixing brass, acoustic guitar, percussion and musique concrète to create works rooted in a sense of place utilizing both ambient and contemporary classical elements. The liner notes for their 2015 release Coastal Erosion succinctly described it as “sonic map making”. It is a concept they continued with 2016’s Tidal Patterns (1631 Recordings), which was inspired by a year spent on the Hebridean lsle of Coll and againg with their most recent release, Landforms, which is themed around Scotland’s longest river, the mighty River Tay, as well as its surrounding landscape and the impact growing up on its banks had on the two brothers.
The album unfurls like a cinematic travelogue that takes in the river from its origins on the slopes of Ben Lui in the west to its eastern tidal reaches near Perth as it approaches the North Sea. It is a meandering 120 mile journey through a vast catchment presided over by iconic bridges, sprawling countryside, and bustling towns. To help create an expansive sound worthy of the album’s central protagonist, the Truscotts collaborated with Ben Chatwin (aka Talvihorros) who provided additional instrumentation as well access to his Edinburgh studio where they were able to experiment with adding modular synthesizers and effects into the mix.
“For this record we wanted to expand ourselves sonically to combine brass parts with synths, electronic textures and manipulated field recordings to create an expansive orchestral sound. Movement of Light was one of the first songs we wrote for the record and from early on in the recording process we thought it was well suited to open the album. Collectively these water based tracks come together to form the overall ‘Landforms’ album, mirroring the way in which water itself forges natural features on the land, helping to give the music a sense of place. ” – Andrew Truscott
The result is a charismatic and beautifully immersive record in which the river is majestically omnipresent while being viewed through a panorama of varied perspectives. Heavily layered synths evoke its breadth & depth, ambient guitars its shimmer, and pulsing bass & percussion capture its incessant rhythmic flow while Mike Truscott’s horns steal every scene in which they appear lending a real sense of grandeur to the proceedings. Where will Kinbrae take us next? Landforms is something to savor while we wait to find out.
Landforms is now available on 12″ heavyweight vinyl as well as digital download from Truant Recordings.