Craig Armstrong

Sun On You


THERE is surely a wealth of subtext to at least a few among the sixteen compositions on the new album by Scotland’s renowned movie score composer Craig Armstrong. The titles of the tunes intrigue but remain unexplained, and while much of the music is as cinematic as his track record would lead you to expect, there are also many moments of intimacy that suggest some of the melodies are deeply personal in origin. The composer’s references to inspiration from visual art in interviews may be true to an extent, but equally they may be well be designed to throw inquirers off the scent.

The ingredients are, to fans of his earlier work, very familiar: the man himself to the fore on a Yamaha concert grand piano and the musicians of the Scottish Ensemble on all but a few of the tracks. Armstrong would probably make no claims to virtuosity on the keyboard, and the string players are not required to produce anything technically demanding either, although it is a measure of their accomplishment that every single note of it sounds precisely correct in terms of colour and timbre. This music is chiefly about atmosphere, but there are tantalising hints of narrative there too, which suggest the album may reveal further aspects of itself on longer acquaintance, and in these technology-drenched times its clarity of focus on natural acoustic sounds is a pure delight.

Keith Bruce