The field recordings at the heart of Music For Listening by Canadian sound artist, multi-instrumentalist Michael Scott Dawson were originally collected with something different in mind, an album of prairie birdsong using fragments collected during walks through the pastures and farmland on the outskirts of his childhood hometown that never came to fruition. A phone call with his 95-year-old grandmother inspired Dawson to revisit those recordings and finding himself compelled to pick up his guitar and “tinker along” with them leading to the crafting of twelve beautifully realized ambient works interwoven with tape loops, piano, and other manipulations. Ahead of the album’s release on Friday, I am happy to be able to premiere the video for its third single “Summerfallow”.
Summerfallow is the practice of allowing land to lie idle for a growing season. As I sat working on this album I found myself thinking a lot about cycles. It began with reflecting on my own mental health and the parallels between cyclical thoughts and the slow degradation of tape loops. In time it led me to consider the fields from which I made the recordings of prairie birdsong that run throughout the album. “Summerfallow” is the much needed rest we all deserve.Michael Scott Dawson
The song is a work of sublime pastoral beauty and offers an ideal entry point for the uninitiated to both the new record and Dawson’s solo work in general which is deeply meditative and organic in it’s approach. But listen carefully and one can hear all manner of sounds he has deftly woven into the fabric of his soundscape that come from sources ranging from old electric fireplaces, faulty street lamps, or even just cable noise. The ambience it creates is warm and tactile and radiates a peace as well as an acutely grounded sense of place.
To learn more about Music for Listening and the artist, be sure to check out the duologue feature “A Conversation with Michael Scott Dawson” being simultaneously published today.
The video was directed by artist/photographer Ava Wild. Although we had discussed that my album Music For Listening was inspired by my grandmother, through some strange serendipitous coincidence Ava felt inspired to make a beautiful video which captured a day with her own grandfather Leonard Pigott and his dogs Bella and Asher. It was filmed on his ranch in Saskatchewan on a -40 degree January day.
Music For Listening will be available digitally and on limited edition bone coloured vinyl beginning April 8, 2022 via We Are Busy Bodies. The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree and was funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
Links: Bandcamp (LP/digital) | Michael Scott Dawson