I’ve been meaning to write this piece for the last few weeks!
A few weeks ago I received an eagerly anticipated CD through the post. I’d pre-ordered Atlum Schema’s new album, Year 0, a little while before and I’d know that it was due. I’d listened to the song sampler download that was available prior to the full release of the album, and I’d also watched the video for one of the tracks relentlessly.
Needless to say, when the CD arrived I was delighted. It’s a beautiful album, filled with great tunes, fantastic lyrics and lively melodies.
Atlum Schema (Andy Mort) makes music that deserves to be played more widely, known by more people and enjoyed further afield. Andy’s a bit of a cottage industry, writing, playing, recording, off his own back.
Along with Rivers and Robots and Listener, Andy is another example of great artists who have decided to use bandcamp, social media and online opportunities to make a go of making music as more than just a hobby. Andy is constantly exploring creativity and does some amazing things.
Now, in no way am I trying to write an NME / MOJO style review of this album, but I do want to impress upon people the impression it made on me. It’s spiritual stuff, deeply emotive, and it comes from somewhere very deep. Much of the album was apparently written while one of Andy’s close friends was incredibly ill (if I’m not mistaken) and while that can be read in the lyrics and comes across in the mood of the album, it’s an uplifting experience. This is an album to be savoured. It’s not just a CD to listen to when you are feeling depressed, or ill, or lonely, or even contemplative, it’s a sing-along drive album, it’s a great album.
Imagine Sigur Ros meets Waxahatchee, Justin Vernon and the Low Anthem for a drink: this is the music that comes out.
Musically the album is fantastic, but lyrically it is utterly flawless. Devastatingly insightful and incisive.
Let me give you some examples,
Empire of the Soul:
“We are the accepted face.
We make the rules for the game.
Carry the gun filled with fatal saving grace.
This is an empire,
I’m sure, 'cos the thing that we fear is the thing we fight for.
This is the empire of the soul.”
i’m on their side not your side this time
i’m on their side not your side of the line
you’re perfect, it’s not about you
it must be what the rest of us do
we’re vile and we’re creatures of hate
please don’t give up on us you are great
Pretending To Sleep
sleep talking investment quickly
sell my soul for a chance
priest is quick to grant forgiveness
where I’m going is hell
it’s impossible to wake someone pretending to sleep
it’s impossible to wake somebody like me
What am I worth to you if I’m alive?
What am I worth to you?
Please sir, did I meet the bottom line or am I dispensable?
Did I meet the bottom line?
Did I toe your party line or was I reprehensible?
Did I toe the party line?
I could go on and on and on. Andy’s gift is finding a lyrical hook, and nailing it. Like a poetic tweet, he writes a phrase that tears through your soul and seems to build around it.
Do yourself a favour, support an independent musician doing amazing things. Go over to bandcamp and buy this CD (or download if that’s your kind of thing!)
Anyway, enough of me, check Andy’s stuff out at www.atlumschema.com @atlumschema