Simon Scott

Tone 70 Simon Scott – ‘Migrations’

Released 26th June 2020

Vinyl – 2 tracks + DL – 2 tracks

Track listing:

Side A
1. Red Square

Side AA
1. Murmurations

Bonus tracks (digital only):

3. The Borderlands
4. Fen(ce)

Vinyl in an edition of 300 copies plus digital – with two digital bonus tracks when purchasing from our Bandcamp. Vinyl mastered at SPS Mastering. Cut by Jason @ Transition. Digital mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio (NY). Photography and design by Jon Wozencroft.

Buy on Bandcamp.

Full track notes:

A. Red Square 14’ 14”

‘Field recordings captured during a day under Moscow’s Red Square in the underground metro in 2015. It has a narrative of motion as my microphones move with me through a vast sounding environment. The space reveals the aural diversity of the people moving beneath the Russian city of Moscow, the complex acoustics, and complex rhythms mixed together in a subterranean space. These communitive sonic events transformed my perception of space and time as reverberant boundaries led my ear into unknown acoustic destinations.’

AA. Murmurations 18’ 53”

‘Recorded in March 2018 at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in, Norfolk, UK using DPA 4061 microphones. I was showing Australian sound artist Lawrence English around the Fens of East Anglia, when he requested we head to Buckenham to find a flock of crows roosting. I recorded the spectacular murmurations of thousands of crows, rooks and jackdaws, as the spring sun slowly set at dusk, and deer ran across the marshes. The field recordings are accompanied by a gradually shifting modular synth tone, that musically represents the slow change colours, until the light fell off the horizon.’

Download only: ‘The Borderlands’ 6’ 30” and ‘Fen(ce)’ 7’ 06”

Both compositions were recorded in Holme Fen nature reserve, Cambridgeshire, with two JrF contact microphones on 22nd to 25thMay 2020. The long lines of wires and wooden posts stretched across the sunken landscape of the Fens follow the man-made drainage canals and rivers for hundreds of miles. Bowed, plucked and struck by natural phenomena (strong winds caused by climate change) and indigenous flora, reveals dynamic sonic intra-events and hidden acoustic ecologies.


Feature in The Battleground may be read here

data.wave (USA):

Simon Scott is not only the resident drummer in the shoegaze band Slowdive, but he has also been releasing solo works in the genre of ambient since 2009, which have been coming out out on various renowned labels such as Miasmah, 12k and the British label Touch. His newest creation bearing the name of Migrations, has also enriched the discography of this English label. It is worth mentioning that Scott has his own unique vision of the genre, and it can be felt since the very first seconds of the album.

Hard cyclical cold sounds of the composition ‘Red Square’ are accompanied by simultaneous train noises, as if the audience were in the metro, reminiscent of an ever-moving city at nighttime. This city is akin to a machine, it doesn’t stumble over obstacles and instead bulldozes right through them. At the very end of the track, a voice can be heard announcing the Tverskaya station of the metro.

Softly and carefully, like the night’s breath, the track ‘Murmurations’ pours into the world of sound, as if a spinning mechanism, later turning into a more static drone piece with vibrating and strong like a beverage audio personality. At times, one can hear sounds made by an airborne machine, birds’ chirping, rushing waters, and a squeaking animal. Nevertheless, ‘Murmurations’ is still an image of a harsh and, in a way, dormant nature, where even a small event appears to be a huge conscious step in the direction of something new. Around the 10th minute, the drone structure becomes increasingly aggressive, reaching the peak of the electrification of the proceeding.

‘The Borderlands’, the third track of the album Migrations, begins with pleasant and appetising crunching of an unknown item. It is also possible to hear odd apocalyptic sounds that resemble moving objects. The bassline of ‘The Borderlands’ adds a feeling of concern for what is occuring, a premonition about some forgotten island on Earth suffering an irreversible catastrophe, like a tsunami, since starting with the 4th minute of the track we can hear waves. All of it causes one to feel that we are facing a giant ocean, there is an old rusty vessel anchored nearby, and the bottom of the ocean is infested with an enormous amount of sunken objects.

The final composition ‘Fen(ce)’ yet again contains chirping of birds, something reminiscent of a squeaky rope, and also minimalistic noises made by a device which is seemingly still looking for a signal in that same lost spot of the map. By the 4th minute, the minimalistic sounds form a cosy melody and for the first time in the whole album, give some warmth to the audience. Suddenly, the surrounding atmosphere becomes familiar and attractive for a while, losing all its greyness, after which, the signal searching sounds make a return, leaving behind a degree of ambiguity.

Migrations is a real anthem to land that hasn’t been stepped on by man, and if someday you decide to visit some cold and uninhabited place, don’t forget about this album, it will help you feel that which is impossible to appreciate with the mind.

Stellage (Russia):

Релиз доступен для предварительного заказа. Ориентировочная дата поступления в продажу 26/06/2020 /


Бессменный (со дня выпуска их первого альбома) барабанщик русской народной шугейз-группы Slowdive Саймон Скотт десять с небольшим лет назад наконец-то, после двух десятилетней работы в поп-музыке, позволил себе выдохнуть и занялся сольной карьерой. От бушующего эмбиента с барабанами его собственное творчество постепенно двинулось к тому, что сам Скотт называет работой «звукового эколога», то есть — обработанным студийно, переосмысленным и отредактированным полевым записям, которые на одном из своих уровней посвящены вопросам влияния человека на окружающую среду. Не только в плане экологии — но и вообще влиянию как инструменту конструирования окружения. Именно такую идею несут два альбома, которые он уже успел выпустить на лейбле Touch: дебютный, «Soundings», вышел в прошлом году, а вот сейчас подоспел новый — «Migrations».

Первая сторона — четверть часа повторяющегося звука ударов божьей наковальни. Звука, собранного из записей акустической панорамы московского метро («проходящего под Красной площадью», да и собственно сама композиция называется «Red Square», но все-таки хотелось бы конкретики — писался ли Скотт на «Охотном ряду» или на станции «Александровский сад»? Или где?). Музыка сходу обнаруживает в себе руководящую ее собственной логикой эмоцию: трепет перед неизвестностью, которую открывает для человека пребывание в радикально изменяющих природу пространство, таким образом подчиняющих ее своей воле –что вплоть до недавних времен было синонимично широкому пониманию понятия «прогресс» в принципе, — но совсем не проясняющих будущее. Пресловутый трепет не пропадает в мрачных пульсациях звуковых композиций Скотта и на второй стороне пластинки, на которой записаны звуки уже не машинно-человеческого, а природного происхождения: крики и песни тысяч воронов, грачей и галок, слетевшихся одним вечером на полосу побережья в Норфолке. Птицы выступают хором заволакивающей слух тревоги — такого рода, что хочется то ли покаяться, то ли помолиться, то ли все сразу. А потом — навечно уйти из реальности, взявшей в окружение травмами, которые она успела причинить всем и сразу. [Олег Соболев для STELLAGE]

The Attic Mag (net): Staff Pics –

Simon Scott is a British composer, mastering engineer and sound artist from The Fens in Cambridgeshire, England. His work explores creative methodologies of field recording, the process of active listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition. ‘Each of us is beginning to feel the ground slip away beneath our feet. We are discovering, more or less obscurely, that we are all in migration toward territories yet to be rediscovered and reoccupied.’ (Bruno Latour, Down To Earth: Politics in the New Climate Regime, 2018, Polity Press. Cambridge).

V33.20 Simon Scott – ‘Emergency Exit’

Emergency Exit was composed by Simon Scott from field recordings of flood water and burning embers captured during 2019 in the Fens near Cambridge, where he is based. They are a microcosm of a much bigger global crisis – ‘Climate Change’.

Emergency Exit by Simon Scott

Track listing:

1. ‘Emergency’ 10:01
2. ‘Exit’ 9:00

Available from Bandcamp

Tone 72 Scott | Paul | Skeen – ‘Touch Live in California 2019’

DL – 3 tracks – 61:36

Recorded live on Touch’s tour of California in May 2019, with dates at Zebulon, Los Angeles, The Battery, San Francisco and Land and Sea, Oakland.


Track listing:

1. Simon Scott – Live at The Battery, San Francisco
Mastered by SPS Mastering. Desk recording by Mike Harding.
2. Zachary Paul – Live at Land and Sea, Oakland 14:24
Mastered (mono) by Stephan Mathieu. Desk recording by Mike Harding.
3. Geneva Skeen – Live at Zebulon, Los Angeles 28:03
Room recording by Guy at Third Eye Memories. With thanks to Yann Novak.

With thanks to Jen & Charles Belleville, Chris Duncan, Kevin Corcoran, Stacy Horne, Colleen Curlin, Lara dela Cruz, Joce Soubiran and everyone who had a hand in making these events happen.

TO:112 Simon Scott – ‘Soundings’

Release date: 22nd February 2019

CD & Cassette – 8 tracks – 52 minutes

All tracks composed by Simon Scott
Strings played by Charlie Campagna & Zachary Paul
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham

Track listing:

1. Hodos
2. Sakura
3. Santori
4. Mae
5. Grace
6. Nigh
7. Baaval
8. Apricity

You can listen to an extract from the album here:

*Additional 20 minute bonus track features a live recording from the Jazz Café in London in October 2018

Soundings, his debut studio album for Touch (he previously released the live album Floodlinesi n 2016 and re-issued Below Sea Level in 2017), finds Simon Scott, the composer and sound ecologist, using field recordings from various cities around the globe; modular synthesiser treatments; live strings and laptop electronics to create an album of transition and shifting time zones. The recordings were edited and composed in hotel rooms across the world as Scott was constantly on tour as the drummer for Slowdive, who successfully reformed in 2014.

‘Hodos,’ the album opener, begins with 85 mph Storm Barney recordings, ending with the fading sounds of bellbirds and cicadas recorded in Brisbane 2018. ‘I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing’. This album was created from the US to Asia, South America to Europe and the Arctic Circle back to the UK via California. ‘Working in hotel rooms and on flights, listening to and editing the recordings I’d made from all of these distant cities formed the basis of the album. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling’.

The cassette version features an extended 60 minute version of the album remastered by Scott.


somewhere cold (net):

A prolific composer and consistently incredible sound-smith, Simon Scott has been putting out experimental music for a decade now. Yes, it is that Simon Scott, the rhythmic god who pounds the skins in the glittering progressive band Slowdive. Soundings is his newest album with 52 minutes of music combining field recordings, live strings, synthesisers, and soft synths created as he travelled across the globe touring with Slow dive. Recordings stretching over the course of four years, Scott records and produces a soundtrack to his meandering years on tour and all that means.

Soundings begins with field recordings on ‘Hodos’ which give the album’s beginning an organic feel. Sting voices peer here and there among the shadowy and fuzzy tumult, while more effulgent strings begin to hum, giving a floor to the piece. There is a patience to the opener, allowing the listener to soak in the subtleness of the moment. What sounds like birds punctuates, ever so slightly, the sonic landscape, giving this piece a living population. ‘Sakura’ follows with an opening synthtone and bright, melodic notes. The dance of the synths becomes more intricate and then water flows as the centrepiece of that moment. As the water fades, the synths once again dance alone, sparkling in the foreground.

‘Santori’ begins seamlessly as a subdued beat punctuates the air and deep, abiding strings ring out. A slight crackle fills the mix, giving a hint of aural texture. Vibrating electronic tones move and slide between speakers as they ungulate. There is an almost deep, beautiful mournfulness to this composition which moves the listener into a melancholic state.

‘Mae’ has whirling, looped synths that pour over and over one another as they circulate and then give way to more metallic and harsher tones. Birds re-appear here, grounding the track as strings take over and great a sonic river of aural light. As ‘Mae’ fades, ‘Grace’ arises and is textually quite different in its beginnings. Almost like the metallic rubbing of a vibrating guitar string, the tone is vibratory. It is accompanied by beautiful synth tones that feel like deep pools of refreshing water and the strings slide about, creating ease and contemplative moments. ‘Nigh’ is meditative and hypnotic from the start. Dreamy synths and strings populate the piece as panning gives the sounds a glacial movement while deepening the textural choices.

‘Baaval’ is a more ephemeral piece with a deep core tone that reverberates out into a fuzzier texture. It begins a grouping of longer pieces at the end of the album. This piece is simple on the surface but increases in depth with every listen. Again, birds chirp, tying the track with former pieces. The synth work here is subtle but engaging. ‘Apricity’ ends the studio tracks on the album and it begins with a deep, flowing tone. Textural accents flow in and out of the mix and incredibly subtle strings ebb and flow. This long form piece, clocking in at over 15 minutes, is a slow and radiant build, like high tide slowly moving in to meet the shore. The strings become fuller as the track progresses and the different variations move in and out of focus. The strings eventually fade or perhaps become a part of a larger, vibrating synth drone. The final track to the album is a live piece which is over 20 minutes long and was recorded at The Jazz Café. The piece is expertly executed and fits well with the tonality of the rest of the album. In fact, It is the perfect finale to the album, graceful and profoundly moving.

Simon Scott’s Soundings is a brilliant set of tracks that demonstrates his ability to mix subtlety with depth. This is over 52 minutes of engaging, ethereal ambience that evoke open spaces and the wandering of Scott’s last four years. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Soundings as well as diving into all of Simon Scott’s back catalog. [Jason]

Fluid Radio (UK):

The field recordings on Soundings light up the music and the world. Taken from cities around the globe, and using modular synths, strings, and laptop electronics, the recordings aid in creating music of transition and transience, shifting into many different time zones throughout its trek. Edited and composed in hotel rooms at a time when Simon Scott was on tour as the drummer for Slow dive, Soundings features 85mph winds, bellbirds, and cicadas in the first track alone, moving from its British beginnings (the winds of Storm Barney, which terrorised the UK and which unfortunately wasn’t named after a huge purple dinosaur) to Australia’s Brisbane. In the space of a single track, Scott’s music faces a long haul flight. Although it’s physically demanding, the recording offers an easy ride. Two sides of the world and two different continents are united in one recording, despite travelling a huge distance. As such, Soundings is a travel document and a sonic passport.

I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling’.

Scott’s music lags without fatigue as it sails through the sky. From the USA to Asia, South America to Europe, the Arctic Circle to the UK (and with a stop in California on the way back), Soundings travels vast distances, picking up the flavours and the vibes of each place while infusing the entire album with a delicate understanding of many differing cultures and scents. Early-to-rise tones and sleepy, dusk-hidden melodies pepper the tracks, but they have an airy feel to them, high in their altitudes. The long drones never really touch down, but only vaguely circle and skirt the outlines of a city. Jet-lagged drones and darker tones gaze upon a midnight city, its glowing lights replacing the sun, its downtown twinkling like a cluster of fallen stars.

Scott’s brief stay offers an intermittent glimpse, a passing through; the music feels intentionally incomplete, or transient, in spite of it being a completed and refined work. Scott is able to bottle the journey within his tired ambient tones and electronic oscillations – which thrum against the drone and shudder like the dropping of a landing gear. The long drones of Apricity cruise in the sky, its strings imperceptibly morphing into something more electronic as they make their way home. The exhaustion and euphoria of touring is here, but, as always, the journey is more important than the final destination. [James Catchpole]

A Closer Listen (USA):

Where were you when Slowdive was formed back in 1989?  NOT BORN YET?!!  Thanks a lot, you’ve just made Simon Scott and I feel old.  But there’s a huge difference between old and irrelevant and old and vital, and Scott lands firmly on the latter side.  Although he’s shifted styles a number of times, he’s never stopped composing or performing.  Soundings was recorded during four years of touring with his re-formed band.  The album is the product of ‘a life in flux … constant change and jet lag … hotel rooms, flights and distant cities’.  As such, it feels disconnected with land, often touching down but with the knowledge it will not be able to stay too long.

The first field recording is the best, and most obvious: 85mph winds from Hurricane Barney, whipping up a storm expressed here in a morass of strings.  These strings, played by Charlie Campagna & Zachary Paul, are a constant presence throughout the album, but in ‘Hodos’ they sound foreboding, the cello unable to escape the churn.  The bellbirds and cicadas that close the piece are not from the storm, but from the safety of Brisbane, many moons later and half a world away, offering evidence that we carry our memories with us and they blur in collision with other experiences.  Scott would get as far as the Arctic Circle, an ironic mention given the fact that a famous explorer who shares his surname would perish while returning from Antarctica.

Scott’s wandering synth and electronics echo his own journey, providing few signposts along the way.  The tracks drift together like sheets of polar ice.  One would think the setup would preclude a single, but there’s actually one included here: the streaming edit of ‘Grace,’ which Scott released in full as an 18-minute track back in August.  In our opinion, the album’s only miscalculation is that at 52 minutes, the album had room to include the full composition.  Scott opted instead to offer a 20-minute live track as a bonus cut, while extending the mix to 60 minutes for the cassette.  But don’t despair, fans of long music; the album closes with its best track, the quarter-hour ‘Apricity’.

On ‘Apricity,’ all the threads come together.  The length of the piece allows one to surrender to the flow of time, an important nuance as the album references the challenge of traveling between different time zones.  While listening to ‘Apricity,’ one feels a sense of drifting, falling (to quote The Ocean Blue’s 1989 hit).  More importantly, one also gets a feeling of coming home, of finally being able to rest, of knowing that one is safe, the ground firm and stable beneath one’s bed.  This beautiful, archaic word is defined as ‘the warmth of the sun in winter,’ which lends itself to a wider interpretation: we feel the warmth of home, even when we are away.  Somewhere in Cambridge, world tour complete, Scott is enjoying this reassurance.  [Richard Allen]

Exclaim (Canada):

Described by the artist as a kind of travelogue, gathered, edited, composed and considered over a four-year period that included the reunion and tour of his ’90s band, Slowdive, Simon Scott delivers an appropriately dislocated collection of soundscapes that are dizzying in their swings between blurred acceleration and detailed stillness.

Opener ‘Hodos’ serves as introduction and précis key to the album, with a field recording of 140 km winds from a storm in Cambridge that eventually cedes to cicadas recorded much later in Brisbane. The piece is laced together by a drift of strings from Charlie Campagna and Zachary Paul, who reappear throughout the album.

One of Scott’s gifts is combining layers of tone, noise and faint melody into loops whose duration and repetition invite contemplation, but with a slight uneasiness that subtly dislodges any such attempt – kind of anti-meditative meditation music.

Both ‘Baaval,’ and ‘Apricity,’ the two longer pieces that close the album, have a blend of grace and self-doubt, the former especially in its slightly off-centre drone that gives way to an open window onto nature and out of claustrophobia.

All in all, this is a masterful summary of the far withouts and deep withins from Scott’s period of perpetual motion. [Eric Hill]

Rockerilla (Italy):

Sonic Seducer (Germany):

Ondarock (Italy):

Dietro la leggenda shoegaze degli Slowdive sembrano celarsi pulsioni espressive parecchio lontane dalla fragorosa e sognante corrente novantiana: da un lato abbiamo Neil Halstead, avvezzo a intimismi folk contemporanei, più imparentati col fingerpicking che col tradizionale cantautorato albionico; dall’altro il batterista Simon Scott, affascinato dalle dilatazioni melodiche dell’ambient music e dalle sue recenti confluenze nella sfera neoclassica.

Dopo varie incursioni con etichette tra cui Miasmah e 12k, Scott rientra nella produzione a marchio Touch, che tre anni fa ne incluse una registrazione live al Cafe Oto nella serie ‘Tone’ (Floodlines, 2016). Il recente ingresso delle emergenti Bethan Kellough e Claire M Singer ha aperto ulteriormente la strada a una poetica come quella di Soundings, che come si evince sin dai primi istanti è ‘cucito’ intorno a field recordings raccolti in giro per il mondo. È il diario in forma astratta di quattro anni in costante movimento, a motivo della fortunata reunion della band, e di fatto una collezione di quiete parentesi ritagliate in stanze d’albergo sparse tra i continenti.
Si direbbe il tentativo di ristabilire un contatto con la schietta tangibilità del reale, benché tale anelito vada di pari passo con rimaneggiamenti al synth modulare e con un’armonizzazione strumentale affidata agli archi di Charlie Campagna e Zachary Paul, le cui traiettorie ondeggiano attorno al bordone portante con la stessa imperturbabile cadenza.

A tratti dimessa e malinconica, in altri trasognata e confortante, la fusione tra elettronica e acustica di Soundings evoca le produzioni finali degli Stars Of The Lid e le estasi cameristiche del compianto Jóhann Jóhannsson, invitando la mente a un viaggio che, anche a motivo di passaggi decisamente bruschi, ha come condizione la nostra presenza mentale ed emotiva affinché non diventi un ennesimo sottofondo funzionale alla concentrazione su altre e più trascurabili faccende quotidiane. [Michele Palozzo]

Toneshift (USA):

This is as if I have really begun to hear the work of Simon Scott for the very first time – even after listening to his work over a good part of the 2010’s, since Below Sea Level(12K, 2012). Soundings (out on 2/22) is a different approach to flash-fusing field recordings and electronic music, both sensitive and flowy, without bearing into invisibility. For many an artist who creates layered ambient work, such is the problem of allowing work to wither away and far from memory. Soundings is a deeply developed collection of nine shorter pieces that all folds into a nearly hour-long work of emotionally fatigued harmonies, the cassette version runs for nearly eight minutes longer for those with decks. The work materialises into something moody and narrative with drones and strings, electronics and sounds from his surroundings as he travelled.

While ‘Hodos, ‘Sakura and ‘Santori all blended so aqueously together, ‘Mae takes off in a slightly different path, one that has an unveiled industrial side. Scott recounted:-

I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much traveling I was doing.’

The listener will be grateful for his lengthy journeys given the stealthy result that offer both the tender and the vascillating psyche, documenting the experience in the US to Asia, South America to Europe and the Arctic Circle and back to the UK. Travel, in and of itself, can be draining to us all, and he’s managed to capture the passage, the road and the physical wear/tear to an extent.

There are purely harmonic moments of splendour throughout both ‘Grace’ and Nigh, where Scott looks upwards toward the heavens, or perhaps recalls the act of dangling in the sky between destinations. It’s all warm and free. On ‘Baaval’ the paler shades begin to darken at the edges and start to run rings. A sense of apprehension is palpable in this watery mix of bass drone and minimal harmonic mutation. From this bloated vibration comes the vague chirping of exotic birds at more than twenty paces.

This was the perfect staging for the daunting outcomes via ‘Apricity’, the final track here. The bass is super low, muted, almost white-noise like, however with each cycle Scott manages to add the lightest hint of stringed harmony, exquisitely played by Charlie Campagna & Zachary Paul. This fifteen-minute plus closer has ample time to indulge in the previously foreshadowed travelogue of foibles and faultlines, and does so in a way you might imagine to delivered by a full orchestra. There is a relentless spirit moving forward on this record, and though it uncovers some fairly expected sweet spots here and there, the man behind it manages to come from behind its many layers to demonstrate a realised vision. [TJ Norris]

Das Filter (Germany):

Simon Scott ist weit mehr als der Schlagzeuger von Slowdive. Filter-Menschen wissen das sowieso, spätestens aber seit dem vergangenen Sommer, als ich hier schon mal seine Musik feierte. Nun hat er ein Album für Touch aufgenommen, sein erstes richtiges, also jenseits von Live-Aufnahmen und Re-issues. Die Geschichte ist wieder mit Slowdive verknüpft – irgendwie zumindest. Denn Scott nahm diese Platte (gibt es auch auf Tape! – mit Bonus-Material!) rund um den Globus auf, meist im Flugzeug oder im Hotel. So verdichteten sich Schritt für Schritt die Ideen zu fertigen Tracks, während er von A nach B flog, auf den Soundcheck wartete oder erschöpft an einem freien Tag im Hotel langsam wieder runterkam. Man kann dieses Album als eine Art Reise-Tagebuch hören – einen Einblick in vier Jahre Simon Scott. Denn genau so lange hat er an den Stücken gearbeitet. Vielleicht ist das genau die richtige Brille, denn so fügen sich die oft skizzenhaft wirkenden Arbeiten zu einem starken Bild der Seele eines Musikers zusammen, der rastlos durch die Welt geschickt wird, ein zwar wichtiges, aber eben nur ein Rädchen einer größeren Maschinerie ist, die, wenn sie einmal rollt, nicht aufzuhalten ist. Die Stücke sind eine Art Gegenentwurf zu dieser Schnelligkeit. Manchmal fast schon flüchtig, manchmal umso stärker und fordernder. [Thaddeus]

Groove (Germany):

Von der Überwältigungsästhetik des Indie-Rockkonzerts zur gesteigerten individuellen Hörwahrnehmung in der Stille muss der Weg gar nicht weit sein. Manchmal kommen sie sogar in einer Person oder einer Gruppe zusammen. Eine Shoegaze-Band wie ‘Slowdive’ verkörpert deftige Lautstärke ebenso wie Subtilität und Detailreichtum in der klanglichen Textur. Simon Scott, Drummer der mit Unterbrechungen seit den späten achtziger Jahren aktiven Band, ist als Solokünstler zum enthusiastischen Parteigänger der Sound-Ökologie geworden, einer Leidenschaft für das tiefen Hören von Räumen, Orten und Situationen, dem auslegen und verfolgen subtiler akustischer Spuren. ‘Below Sea Level’, Scotts erstes Album mit bearbeiteten Naturaufnahmen von 2012, war in dieser Hinsicht wegweisend. Ultraleise und intensiv, fast nichts zu hören und doch Dokument eines ganzen Universums. Schon bei dieser Arbeit wurde klar, dass Scott die Sound-Ökologie nicht orthodox interpretiert. Seine Feldaufnahmen aus einer sehr stillen Natur waren digital manipuliert zu leisest möglichem Ambient geworden. Scotts neues Album Soundings (Touch) geht in der modernen Auslegung der klanglichen Ökosysteme noch weiter. Die Tracks fußen zwar alle in Field Recordings, haben aber eher urbanen Charakter, sind von Hotelzimmerkaustik und Musikreproduktion geprägt. Umspielt von Modularsynthesizerklängen und Streichern sind sie zu etwas geworden, dass sich perfekt in den engen Zwischenraum von dynamisch gespieltem Song und statisch arrangiertem Track schmiegt. Mit diesem Album könnte Scott vielleicht sogar den Erfolg seiner Band einholen, ihre Qualität hat er schon lange.

Blow Up (Italy):

Brainwashed (USA):

This is Simon Scott’s formal debut for Touch and it is such a quintessential example of the label’s aesthetic that it almost feels like a homecoming.  It is similar to a homecoming in another way as well, as Scott composed these pieces from field recordings taken during Slowdive’s extensive touring over the last few years, diligently editing and shaping them in hotel rooms during his idle hours.  Upon returning, he teamed up with cellist Charlie Campagna and violinist Zachary Paul to transform his impressionistic audio diaries into a lushly beautiful and bittersweet ambient travelogue of sorts.  In some ways, this side of Scott’s work is less distinctive than his more dub-inflected albums, but he has a remarkably great ear for striking the perfect balance between vibrant textures and blurred, dreamlike elegance.

Slowdive’s reunion touring led them to a lot of interesting and far-flung locales, but the most striking field recordings that made it onto this album originate from Brisbane, where Scott captured the sounds of a furious wind storm.  Those crashing waves and fleeing birds appear prominently in the opening ‘Hodos,’ which is Soundings most striking and evocative marriage of nature and artifice.  That is not say that it is necessarily the album’s strongest piece, but it is quite a beautiful one, as blossoming dark clouds of brooding strings slowly move across a battered shoreline.  The way the spraying whitecaps and the languorously moaning strings interact feels quite organic, natural, and seamlessly intuitive, yet Scott’s light touch works so beautifully because he was handed such a wonderful gift: the vibrant and visceral crash of the surf does a hell of a lot of the heavy lifting on its own.  On the album’s other pieces, the focus is necessarily more on Scott’s own contributions (apocalyptic storms were apparently not a common occurrence on the tour).

Most of my favourite pieces fall near the end of the album, but not quite all of them, as the success of ‘Hodos’ is followed by another gem in ‘Sakura’. I am guessing that the gently babbling stream that surfaces in the piece was located somewhere in Japan, but Scott is quite sparing with the background details, largely limiting his contextual clues to the one-word song titles alone. There is a certain logic to that decision, as ‘Hodos’ is the only piece on Soundings where nature has truly earned equal billing.  With ‘Sakura,’ the beauty originates almost entirely from Scott himself, as the piece unfolds as a flickering and dreamlike reverie of processed guitar sheen.

The album’s second (and more sustained) hot streak starts to cohere a few songs later with ‘Mae,’ a lazily churning and sizzling drone piece that gradually gives way to a quiet coda of happily chirping birds.  Once that avian chorus takes their leave, the album blossoms into a thing of truly sublime beauty with the two pieces that follow: ‘Grace’ and ‘Nigh’. On ‘Grace,’ a warm and gently undulating haze of strings twists and drifts across a landscape of shivering and shuddering chord swells.  It is an absolutely rapturous piece of music, but ‘Nigh’ is even better still, cohering into a sun-dappled and lovely procession of chord swells mingled with swooning violin melodies and a dreamlike nimbus of subdued flutter and hiss.

For me, those two pieces are the true beating heart and emotional core of the album, but Scott saves a couple of other strong ideas for the album’s final act.  I am guessing that ‘Baaval’ originated in either Moscow or the Arctic Circle, as both were among Scott’s stated recording locations and it is initially a very dark and cold-sounding piece, evoking a windswept expanse of frozen wasteland.  By the end, however, it warms into something approaching a sort of precarious radiance, like a faint sunrise chasing away some of the more menacing shadows.  That piece gives way to the album’s slow-burning closing epic, the 15-minute ‘Apricity.’  For the most part, it marks a warm and lushly beautiful return the terrain of ‘Nigh,’ as rich, slow-moving chord swells surge beneath a lovely and lyrical violin melody.  As a result, ‘Apricity’ initially seems poised to be the album’s crown jewel, but it takes a curious detour around the nine-minute mark and rides out its final third as kind of a locked-groove of gently pulsing, pastoral ambient music.

I am admittedly a bit perplexed as to why Scott chose to dilute one of his strongest pieces in that fashion, as well as end the album on such a comparatively forgettable note.  Artists sure can be inscrutable sometimes.  Still, it is not nearly enough of a wobble to derail an otherwise excellent album.  Soundings is a curious sort of excellent album, however, wonderfully exceeding my expectations some moments and leaving me scratching my head during others.  For example, the very restrained and subtle use of field recordings for much of the album feels like an exasperating missed opportunity to me, as Scott could probably have gotten all of the same recognizable sounds without ever leaving southern California.  There is nothing among the bird and water recordings that distinctively call to mind Peru, Tokyo, or Moscow, even though Scott recorded in all those places.

On another level, however, that decision is actually kind of cool, as Scott eschewed the easy and obvious path to make something considerably more elusive and abstract: a record of his own impressions during a sometimes beautiful, sometimes lonely, sometimes disorienting adventure through many of the great cities of the world.  As such, Soundings is a dreamlike procession of elusive individual moments brought to vivid life.  Granted, it is easy to imagine a more evocative, richly textured, and immersive album that might have resulted if Scott had taken a more straightforward path, but that album does not exist.  This album, however, does exist and it is often an achingly lovely and poignant one. [Anthony d’amici]

Loop (Chile):

Artista sonoro, compositor, multi-instrumentista y baterista de la reformada banda Slowdive, Simon Scott saca su nuevo álbum de estudio, después de Floodlines (grabación en vivo, 2016) y la reedición de Below Sea Level (2017).
Soundings incluye arreglos con sintetizadores modulares, laptop, secciones de cuerda en vivo y grabaciones de campo que compuso y editó en las habitaciones de hoteles en distintas partes del mundo, mientras Slowdive se encontraba de gira por Estados Unidos, Sudamérica, Europa, el Círculo Ártico y en el Reino Unido.

Este álbum según Scott es la banda sonora de cuatros años de su vida, en un flujo constante de cambios, de horarios y el vertiginoso movimiento de los viajes.
Soundings son ocho composiciones ambient cuyas líneas de sintetizador atmósféricas y los bellos acordes de las cuerdas, le dan un carácter expansivo que invitan a dejarse llevar por la imaginación. Las grabaciones de campo de tormenta, pájaros e insectos le ponen la nota de realidad que remite al medio ambiente de alguna parte del mundo.
Por un lado están las composiciones con acercamientos a lo clásico (‘Santori’, ‘Grace’ y ‘Nigh’) y por otro, a la experimentación electrónica como en ‘Hodos,’ ‘Mae’ y ‘Baaval’.
Cierra este álbum ‘Apricity’, del que emergen lentamente líneas nostágicas de pura fragilidad y belleza.
Scott realiza un disco de gran factura con cuidadosos arreglos que muestran su incuestionable sensibilidad. [Guillermo Escudero]

Art Noir (Switzerland):

Es beginnt mit dem Meeresrauschen, so weit so klischeehaft. Denn die Geräusche, denen man bei Feldaufnahmen am meisten in der Musik begegnet, sind bestimmt die See, Vogelgezwitscher und das Knistern des Lagerfeuers. Simon Scott, welcher während eines Grossteiles seiner Zeit als Schlagzeuger von Slowdive durch die Welt reist, tappt aber nicht in die Fallen der plakativen Ewigkeit, sondern vermengt auf Soundings seine eigenen Ambient-Drones mit Klangaufnahmen aus aller Welt zu hübschen Neufindungen.

Ja, bei ‘Mae’ hört man Vögel, und auch die menschliche Stimme sucht sich ab und zu ihren Weg auf ‘Soundings’. Doch alles wird von Simon Scott geschickt abgewogen, mit melancholischen Streichern versehen, von dröhnenden Synthesizern unterwandert. Das Album ist ein Versuch, aus dem rastlosen Tourleben einen Sinn zu destillieren, aus den unsäglichen Wechseln eine Konstante zu produzieren. Mit viel Geduld, Konzentration und dem Fokus auf einzelne Details. Ein Reisetagebuch der anderen Form also, persönlich und doch global.

Und wie geschickt Simon Scott dabei vorgegangen ist, das merkt man, wenn man erfährt, dass ‘Hodos’ nicht am schönen Strand, sondern mitten in einem Sturm in Cambridge aufgenommen wurde. ‘Soundings’ ist ein Werk, das mit der Wahrnehmung spielt und viele Überraschungen in sich trägt. Bis am Ende mit dem langen ‘Apricity’ die Erhabenheit überwiegt und nicht nur die Seele des Künstlers beruhigt. Das Ziel ist erreicht. [Michael Bohli]

Etherreal (France):

Installé chez Touch depuis 2016 (ces pages s’étaient fait l’écho de album Floodlines livesuivi d’une ressortie de Below Sea Level), Simon Scott semble s’y trouver à la bonne place puisque l’Anglais y propose, avec Soundings, un disque entre ambient et field recordings. En effet, profitant d’une sorte de tour du monde réalisé avec Slowdive (dont il tient la batterie) en 2014 lors de la reformation du groupe, le musicien a capté des sons et des enregistrements un peu partout avant d’y ajouter quelques instruments réels.

C’est ainsi qu’une guitare électrique saturée vient placer ses traits sur les nappes extérieures (‘Mae) ou que, dans un registre nettement moins éclatant, les cordes de Charlie Campagna et Zachary Paul enrobent avec suavité les textures du Britannique (‘Nigh’). Alors qu’on craignait un peu (et les premières minutes ne font rien pour écarter ce léger scepticisme) que Simon Scott limite un peu son intervention à un simple pressage de la fonction « rec » de ses machines, ses apports instrumentaux viennent conférer une dimension toute autre, nettement plus riche.

Au surplus, plus le disque avance, plus la longueur des morceaux s’allonge, partant d’environ quatre minutes pour terminer au-delà du quart d’heure. Comme souvent avec pareil registre, le musicien trouve évidemment matière à déployer son propos avec cette durée étendue. Quelques bruissements et crépitations continuent de s’entendre, reflets des captations réalisées de par le monde, mais l’adjonction des cordes, des accords de synthé, de rythmiques un peu lointaines et autres traitements permettent d’aller vers des contrées plus riches encore. [Francois Bousguet]

Dark Entries (Belgium):

Naast drummer voor de in 2014 herrezen shoegaze cultband Slowdive (eerder actief van 1989 tot 1995) is Simon Scott een multi-instrumentalist en geluidskunstenaar. Inspiratie en interesses haalt hij uit klankecologie, digitale media, compositie, geluidskunst en muziektechnologie. Hij bracht eerder al een aantal albums uit waaronder zijn debuut Navigare (2009), Below Sea Level (2012) en in 2015 Insomni. Vanuit zijn woonplaats Cambridge vertrok hij dan op wereldreis. Een tocht die hem van Australië naar de Verenigde Staten bracht, dan via Azië en Zuid-Amerika naar Europa, om na een ommetje naar de poolcirkel terug te reizen naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk. De componist in hem zorgde ervoor dat hij naast opnames van thuis, zijn reizen van continent naar continent wist te documenteren met allerlei veldopnames. In hotelkamers en in vliegtuigen nam hij de tijd om naar alles te luisteren en die registraties naderhand ook te bewerken.

Het is de soundtrack geworden van vier jaar uit het leven van Simon. De composities met als vertrekpunt omgevings- en natuurlijke geluiden zijn zowel blootgesteld aan modulair bewerkte synthesizer handelingen als digitaal gemanipuleerd. Scott maakte ook gebruik van organische, akoestische texturen en strijkinstrumenten. Soundings is een verzameling van zeer minimalistisch opgevatte miniaturen die een beeld schetsen van de natuurlijke wereld wiens geluiden door middel van moderne technieken worden omgezet in een bezielende en belangwekkende muzikale beleving. [Paul Van de gehuchte]

Rockerilla (Italy):

Chain D.L.K. (USA):

This new release from Simon Scott, already known as Slowdive drummer, is presented as a collection of tracks composed in a four years time span so the field recordings are not a sound make up to give a sense of reality to electronic music, but a temporal tag which link the track to the place, and time, where it was conceived.

The recordings of Storm Barney open ‘Hodos’ and introduce the listener towards a concept of music where field recordings and electronic music, mostly drone based, merge in a cohesive whole. ‘Sakura’ is a melancholic track based on resonances upon the sound of flowing water. ‘Santori’ has an almost dramatic tension while ‘Mae’ has moments with impressive sound masses. ‘Grace’ and ‘Nigh’ borders modern classical territories with their catchy melodies on strings. ‘Baaval’ is instead a drone interlude to ‘Apricity,’ the longest track of this release, where the long tones on strings evolves until they obtain a lyrical force which could be a little too sentimental but of great impact.

An example or organic ambient music which could not have those elements of originality that could charm the listener at first sight but whose impressive craft for harmony and variety will give a lasting place below the laser lens of the player. A really nice release.

Bad Alchemy (Germany):

Rockdeluxe (Italy):

A Closer Listen (USA):

Top ten drone albums 2019

In Western cultures, people who are calm can get a bad name: if they’re one step away from serene one moment, some reason, they may be two steps from erupting the next. Soundings, Slowdive drummer Simon Scott’s debut studio album for Touch, has a monk-like pulse with no signs of snapping. Gone is the drum kit and 4/4 beats of his mainstay band. Instead, Simon’s electro-acoustic suite mulches field recordings from his global travels alongside dustings of live strings and modular synths. It all lingers calmly in a jetlag haze – a traveller’s sleepy wonderment.  [Todd B. Gruel]

Tone 64D – Simon Scott ‘Grace’

1 track EP – Download only – 18:39


1. Grace

Now available to pre-order on Bandcamp (release date 10th August 2018)

Grace begins with a 12 string acoustic guitar fed into a modular synthesiser that spits out beautiful grains of sound that rise and fall like the sun. Textures build up and then slip away leaving a pipe organ playing and the church room recordings sonically revealing passing cyclists, rainfall and Cambridge bus station. It shimmers like an oscillating river until the strings fade and the final third section slips in and a deep organ tone leads the tapestry of sound into field recordings, strings and processed instruments. The contact mics on the organ pipes are heard, floorboards and unidentified human sounds appear and the alarm call of a blackbird seeps into the piece.

Simon Scott’s forthcoming new album, Soundings will be out later this year on Touch.

Written recorded, mixed and mastered by Simon Scott at SPS in Cambridge. Strings performed and recorded in Glendale, California by Charlie Campagna (‘cello) and Zachary Paul (viola and violin). Pipe organ recorded at The Unitarian Church, Cambridge, UK.

Thanks to Charlie Campagna, Zachary Paul, Andrew Brown and Jeannie Witty.

Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd
Photography by Jon Wozencroft


Up to Speed (UK):

Simon Scott has released a single track EP.  The EP, Grace, which came Friday (August 10), was released via Touch on their Bandcamp page.  It also features the expertise of Charlie Campagna and Zachary Paul.

The Cambridge sound ecologist and multi-instrumentalist has combined electronic ambience with more conventional instrumentation to create soundscapes truly unique, hence the necessity of reviewing this EP.  He already has albums Floodlines (Touch), Insomni (Ash International) and Below Sea Level (Kesh/TouchLine) under his belt.

‘His work explores the creative process of actively listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition,’ explains his website biography.

He also plays the drums in Slowdive and has recently collaborated with artists James Blackshaw, ‘Spire’, Taylor Deupree (Between), Isan and many more.  Simon Scott’s forthcoming new album, Soundings, will be out early next year on Touch.

Sole track, ‘Grace,’ rings in powerful and cyclical.  Like an overhead fan big enough to cut you in two. Strings lend a certain graveness to proceedings. The ringing sensation is almost overpowering, a sonic assault that makes you sit up and take notice, inspiring deep thought and contemplation.  Pulsing, futuristic and maybe even dystopic.  What seems chugging helicopter blades gives way to grumbles, earthy and organic.  Ascending to the air, only to have your feet back in the dirt.

A prolonged ringing with grave strings propping it makes itself known.  The latter build in majesty but are too proud to embellish their tearful strains.  By this time, it honestly gets to the point where it feels like a spiritual experience, evocative of Eastern influences.  Glass effects are imbued with the strength of cutting diamond, the shattering sounds strangely cathartic.  A rousing change in proceedings, now more alert and grave than ever.  A conflict, it seems, has come about and needs resolution.

It rings foreboding, an occasional squeak making you feel as if you’re not alone, not in a particularly benevolent way either. The ringing pitch increases, the tension is building and you feel something of utmost importance is about to unfold.  A carousel of sound spins, sometimes sounding far and distant and sometimes sounding too close to home.  Is that massive, chugging fan closing in to cut?  It seems like the drum of a washing machine has been launched into space, its churning of clothes high pitched as it propels into oblivion. It becomes distant as the song fades out.

This was a very ambitious release.  Some people genuinely try to get away with releasing single and double track length EPs, sometimes barely deviating from the approximate three minute structure. This, however, is bold and could open Scott to far more criticism than, say, splitting this piece into three to six separate parts. It’s because of this that he’s definitely bold putting it out as one. It was definitely worthwhile not splitting the whole narrative into separate parts.

Following his gut arguably saved the EP from sounding very disjointed, if split in say the conventional way that, daresay, concept pieces are put together.  This is almost beside the point to what the music actually achieves.  Whether split into one, three or six this EP is a journey into sound, and different listeners will interpret differently depending on the power of their varying imaginations as everyone is unique.

Tone 53 – Simon Scott “Floodlines”

CD + full wav Download [If you buy from the TouchShop] – 1 track
Release date: 17th June 2016

Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye

Track listing:

1. Floodlines

Recorded live at Cafe Oto as part of “Touch presents…” on 31st January 2016

Simon Scott is a sound ecologist and multi-instrumentalist from Cambridge, England. His albums ‘Insomni’ (Ash International) and ‘Below Sea Level’ (12k/TouchLine) are out now (see above). His work explores the creative process of actively listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition. He plays the drums in Slowdive and has recently collaborated with artists James Blackshaw, Spire, Taylor Deupree (Between), Isan + many more.

This is his first physical release for Touch.

Source material recorded in The Fens, East Anglia.

Simon Scott’s blistering live set from London follows his 2015 album ‘insomni’ but features his field recordings of areas of The Fens in East Anglia that cartographically are below mean sea level. They’re complimented by underwater hydrophone recordings taken on field research trips, making the unheard audible and brings the unseen to the surface. It’s a flat landscape that was devastated by the draining of The Fens in the 17th century. The ecosystem was damaged but these areas have been left to reflood and re-establish it’s vernacular wildlife, replete with its own instrumentation and orchestras. Tapping into these, Scott’s vision encourages us to explore the fertility of the flatlands of England.

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TouchLine 2 – Simon Scott “Below Sea Level”

Simon Scott – Below Sea Level


Digital Download – One track (wav) – 34:07
74pp PDF booklet of photographs, maps and text

Track listing:

1. Below Sea Level You can listen to an extract here

Robert Macfarlane: “It’s an amazing sound world, into which you fall (subside)”

The Wire: “… this exquisite study in sound ecology.”