Fortune seems a particularly fitting title for the new album by Robin Guthrie. Chance, luck and fortune, both advantageous and adverse, are interwoven throughout all our lives. Fortune speaks of an artist’s life, but it also speaks to all of us on our own journeys. Robin Guthrie’s music has always been an intensely personal and unique expression, but his gift for the translation and evocation of emotions and experiences lends his songs an appeal that transcends their origins in his own life. It’s personal, and never more so than on Fortune. In these ten new songs the listener can find a companion and confidant, a source of inspiration and reflection, and above all, a beautiful expression of all that life’s twists and turns of fortune can bring to our lives.
Opening with the appropriately titled ‘Cadence’ and the seductive, heady waltz of ‘Circus Circus’, Fortune quickly reveals itself to be a rich and varied emotional journey. The delicate, refined ‘Ladybird’ and lush, immersive atmospherics of ‘Tigermilk’ lead into the heavenly ‘Like Water In Water’ and gentle, reflective ‘Lavona’s Life’. The album opens up further in the second half. The poise and elegance of ‘Forever Never’ and ‘Perfume And Youth’ lead into the epic, climactic ‘Kings Will Be Falling.’ The album closes with the tender ‘And So To Sleep, My Little Ones’, a beautiful track that ends the journey on a note of tranquil reflection.
Fortune exemplifies the lush, layered guitar arrangements that are Robin Guthrie’s trademark, whilst also displaying a level of poise, orchestration and refinement that can only be found in the work of an artist at the top of his craft. Guthrie’s approach to his music is perhaps more akin to that of a painter or a photographer. The adept use of light and shade, melody and counter melody, the carefully and precisely arranged instrumentation, musical textures and colorings gives his music a depth and level of detail that are the hallmarks of a master craftsman. It’s often said that the signature of a highly accomplished artist is the ability to make the complex and otherworldly seem natural and effortless. This could not be truer of Fortune, unquestionably Guthrie’s most sophisticated and refined instrumental release to date.
Throughout Fortune there is a level of finesse and flair that can be hard to find in instrumental music. The key here is the emotional content. In contemporary music this is often thought to be the domain of voices and words. Guthrie’s instrumental recordings, film soundtracks, and collaborations turn this convention on its head. His is a music of wordless emotion. Free from the dictated meanings of lyrics and vocal cliché, the listener finds and forms connections and meanings for their own thoughts and experiences. Expressive, beautiful melodies, and orchestrated harmonies speak on an emotional level. The dedication of Guthrie’s countless followers and the acclaim for his recordings attest to this.
Fortune is Guthrie’s first new instrumental release since his acclaimed 2011 album Emeralds. In the intervening time he’s collaborated with Mark Gardner (Ride), Italian electronic artist Eraldo Bernocchi and continued his series of albums with revered American pianist and composer Harold Budd. In addition, Guthrie’s production, remixes and guest appearances have included the likes of Telefon Tel Aviv, Ulrich Schnauss and Heligoland. All of this is but a small snapshot of a long career. Guthrie first came to prominence through his band Cocteau Twins, a unique and groundbreaking groups whose influence can be heard today in artists such as M83 and School Of Seven Bells. He was not only hugely influential for the iconic shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, but he also produced much-loved albums for Lush and Chapterhouse amongst many others. In recent years Guthrie has scored director Gregg Araki’s films ‘Mysterious Skin’ and ‘Kaboom’ as well as independent Spanish film ‘3:19’. Guthrie’s discography is vast, varied and testifies to his abilities, vision and knowledge as a producer, musician and guitarist.
2. Circus Circus
5. Like Water in Water
6. Lavona's Life
7. Forever Never
8. Perfume and Youth
9. Kings Will Be Falling
10. And So to Sleep, My Little Ones