IMAGINE it is late afternoon. Imagine it is late afternoon in Dundee. The violet hour.

Maybe you are walking through Balgay Park. Maybe it’s today. Maybe it’s some half-remembered day from childhood. Maybe the sun is shining, and shadows are lengthening. The air is still, sound muted and at a distance. There is no one around. Only you, alone, as the day slips away.

How will you remember this moment? How does it make you feel? Is there a sense of grace to it? A tremor of anxiety? Maybe both?

Or maybe the question to ask here is what does that afternoon sound like? Perhaps a little like the fourth track on Andrew Wasylyk’s new album, entitled, yes, The Violet Hour. A tremulous, rolling piano line, an urgent, restless ticking undertow – provided by finger-picked acoustic guitar and pizzicato strings – that sounds like time running on (or time running out?), and above it all a saw (played by Avril Smart) that sings skywards.

What is this? Hope and memory and anxiety all turned into the consolation of music.

Andrew Wasylyk, the alias of Scottish writer and producer Andrew Mitchell, one-time Hazey Jane front man, sometime member of Idlewild, Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award nominee, has returned with a new album, Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation, a wordless musical journey through landscapes past and present. The follow-up to his SAY-endorsed album The Paralian, it doesn’t need lyrics to conjure up its freight of loss and desire and joy. Fugitive Light … is the sound of all those half-remembered late afternoons in our past and the sighing distance between then and now.

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The mood of the record is conjured up in its evocative titles – The Last Sunbeam of Childhood, Black Bay Dream Minor – all of them full of beauty and the ache of its absence.

“I think there’s a lot of metaphorical and emotional landscapes being unearthed in there,” Wasylyk admits as he sits at home on one particular August afternoon. “There’s a lot of anxieties and accepting love and loss and the idea of metaphorical lightness and dark gathering together and the curious grace that produces.”

This morning Wasylyk has been out helping a neighbour take a cupboard down a tenement flight of stairs. (“Ropes and all sorts. It’s the most physical exertion since February.”) After we speak, he will leave to go to his studio as he does most days.

But right now he is talking to me about the landscapes of childhood, Liz Lochhead, his dream of one day writing a score for a film (if his favourite director Peter Strickland is reading this Andrew would be happy to take a call) and, mostly, about turning memory into music.

“I grew up right across Dundee and I spent a lot of time in Invergowrie,” he recalls. “I spent a lot of summers down the road in Kingoodie quarry swimming. And I think that all fed into it a lot. Walking through Balgay Park watching skeins of geese disappearing for the winter, wandering what on earth I’m doing with my life.”

What he has done with it is make music, in pop groups and now as a composer and multi-instrumentalist. He played nearly everything on the new album himself, with the exception of Avril Smart’s saw, string arrangements by his friend Pete Harvey, and field recordings of school kids and the oyster catchers outside his studio window. “They’re so noisy. I had to keep stopping recording, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just have to embrace this.’

“It’s not really some grand or vulgar display of virtuosity,” he demurs, talking about his hands-on approach. “It’s really just time and economy. I think we’ll only see more of that, unfortunately, in light of events.” He doesn’t say the word coronavirus but …

“There’s nothing like working with a larger ensemble and having that interaction ,” he continues, “having that synergy in a room together. But it’s not always practical. So, I often find myself working on my own and building these things from scratch. It could start with anything from a piano motif to a drum machine groove.

“I have a little space where I have various instrumentations set up so I can noodle away on different instruments and see what kind of door opens up.”

In some senses, he says, the new album was a reaction to the slightly disorienting success of The Paralian, particularly in the wake of its SAY nomination.

“I have never had any acknowledgement for my work like that before. It was deeply humbling. I wasn’t really sure how to process that either.

“One way of doing that, I thought, was to start work on something new. And also, I didn’t want somehow for The Paralian to begin to define myself in my own head.

“I think this album is a counterpoint to The Paralian in other ways. It’s an extension of where that record was headed. I think that it’s fair to say that if The Paralian looked outward to the North Sea then this album probably turns and explores upriver into the [Tay] estuary, into these almost empty sunlit streets … In my mind anyway.

“It’s probably threaded with different anxieties that encouraged me to write it in the first place. But I think there is also a hopefulness in there too.

“I collaborated with my good pal Tommy Perman on a couple of videos for the new album. Tommy’s a brilliant artist and he has a beautiful mind and we got to discussing youth and nature and light as these markers; three symbols of optimism for the future. And I’d really love it if the album echoed that ethos and it came across in the listener’s journey throughout.”

Influences cited for the album include John Barry and Virgina Astley’s cult 1983 album From Gardens Where We Feel Secure. Wasylyk probes at a similar hauntological seam of security and sense of loss as Astley’s cult album, albeit with a bit more grit.

Of course, memory is a register of grief in a way, as the opening track A Further Look at Loss acknowledges. “Without going into heartbreaking detail,” he says, “I think whether you feel or acknowledge your age, one way or another these things seep into your daily life. You reach that stage and the only thing you can only properly rely on is change and that encapsulates a lot of beautiful things. It encapsulates a lot of really challenging things. But in many ways, they are one and the same. That particular piece is trying to make sense of that in some way. And, yes. there are loved ones, family and friends, who aren’t here.

“But they are here as well. They go on with us.”

Wasylyk is 38 now and admits to being a “hopeless nostalgist.” And yet he keeps forging ahead, working on new music. Along with the album he has released a five-track EP, Still Life, Sweetheart, in collaboration with the poet Liz Lochhead.

“Liz is a real inspiration to me, really. She’s been a constant maverick for decades and I love being in her company. I love just listening and learning from her. Her stories are the best, often headspinningly hilarious.”

The recording of the EP, back in February, was not without its adventures. “We arranged to meet in Oban to catch a ferry to the isle of Mull to work with Gordon Maclean. Her train was late, so we very nearly missed the ferry. We caught it by the skin of our teeth. And then, as we arrived, an Atlantic storm blew in and cancelled all the boats, so we were trapped.

“We got to work over just a few days and it was amazing working with Gordon Maclean. Working in An Tobar’s live room it’s a sacred place for me, all the history and the people who have worked there. It’s very special.

“Then we very narrowly made a ferry off the island only to drive through a blizzard in Glencoe at 10 miles an hour listening to Joni Mitchell, giggling the whole way really.

“We thought that was dramatic. Little did we know what was around the corner. That was February. We thought we’d had all the ups and downs of the year then, but no.”

His last gig was at the Paisley Arts Centre at the beginning of March, not long before lockdown. “I really feel for the people who make live events happen; the crew, security, engineers, tour managers, electricians – their work has just disappeared without any clear guide as to when it’s going to happen again.”

Still, he hopes, this time out of the normal rush of things will at least allow us all to reflect on how we live our lives, at both the macro and micro level. “Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I hope it’s a period that provides us with space to reflect and readdress aspects of our world issues like climate crisis and globalisation and black lives matter. It would be nice if they kept gaining momentum

“And in our own lives, too, if we were able to take stock of the pace we move at.

“We are so caught up in the pace of our days and we’re always expected to be on transmit. I would love the floodgates being a little bit more controlled instead of the volume of everything being turned up.”

Andrew Wasylyk has a new album out. You don’t have to play it loud. But it doesn’t hurt if you do.

Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation is out now on the Athens of the North label. You can order it here. Still Life, Sweetheart by Andrew Wasylyk and Liz Lochhead is also out now via Blackford Hill