Under This Hunger Moon We Fell is the new album from the uniquely talented, multi-instrumental artificer Lomond Campbell, the third and final installment of his experiments using tape loops at the heart of his music making process.
Of his new enchanting single "Sister Rena," Lomond Campbell tells us “I wrote this track on the piano but after recording it I felt like it was lacking something. I wanted it to sound more like it had been played on a mechanical device, like a player-piano or an orchestrion, so I programmed an array of 41 tiny motors (the same kind that make your phone vibrate) to play along with the melody. I layered this up with the piano part, so you can hear them actuating with each note of the piano. It was written after seeing an old photograph of my grandmother as a child, holding her younger sister Rena’s hand.” He notes that “as the album was nearing completion there was a particularly dramatic supermoon called a hunger moon. Apparently it has this name because it occurs right at the end of winter, when predators are at their most lethal and desperate, and those seen as less powerful are preyed upon.”
These themes can be clearly heard on an album that feels cold and bleak in tandem with moments of vulnerability and tenderness. Under This Hunger Moon We Fell stalks from the shadows with a natural, quiet confidence before exploring more carnal heaviness and occasionally brutal displays of dramatic tension. It meditates in cycles and is at both times predator and prey, conveying the balance of these relationships with its cinematic compositions.
The album ranges from soft, delicate atmospheric musings such as "Bastard Wing" and "Leave Only Love Behind" to the dark electronics of "And They Are Afraid Of Her" and "Phonon For No One," which Campbell describes as “akin to a massive machine starting up, like a huge sinister power mobilising.” During its gloomier moments, Under This Hunger Moon We Fell buries tonally ambiguous ambience underneath hazy, distorted textures created via the gradual degradation of the tape. It creates a dream-like backdrop with a moody undertone created by deep basslines and hulking percussive elements, blended with orchestral sounds that add an air of humanity.
As source material, Campbell spooled out and spliced up his album Lost Loops, as such you can hear the ghosts of his previous work haunt his current. Each track began with 140 tape loops stacked up in a multi-track project. Through a subtractive process this was gradually whittled down until the bare bones of something musical started to show itself. He then built on top of the spectral melodies suggested by the unstable sound of the remaining tape loops playing together. By working this way, Campbell allows aleatory to infiltrate his music as the sounds of the past, encoded on these tape loops, interweave and drift in and out of focus.
“I normally like to work quickly when making music, but this album became a protracted process as I worked subtractively from the tape loops all layered up. I had to be steady in order to gradually delete loops to try and find harmony and interesting musical moments created by chance. Often I would strip it right back to only a handful of loops that I felt worked well together, before building it back up and adding instrumentation.”
Although his music is grounded in sound it often incorporates sculpture, engineering, product design and visual art. Using a combination of hardware hacking and industrial manufacturing techniques, Lomond builds his own unique instruments and devices for creating sound which he combines with modular synths, piano and voice. This record is a dichotomy of concepts and ideas, balancing lightness and darkness, motion and stagnation, clarity and distortion, demonstrating a range of emotions and thoughts representative of the turbulent global situation during its recording between November 2021 and March 2022.
The album also sees Campbell’s vocal debut on "For The Uncarved," having originally written the part for a friend. “I was supposed to be recording her album in my studio The Lengths, but she was struck down with Covid so the session was scrapped. It felt like the album needed some kind of human element so I resorted to singing the part myself.”
Under This Hunger Moon We Fell concludes a trio of albums using tape loops, which was kickstarted with an email from Lomond’s long-time friend and collaborator King Creosote. He was looking for a custom tape looping machine so Lomond set about designing and building a unique music machine, inspired by Reich and Basinski, that plays 10 second tape loops which disintegrate over time as they pass near a rotating magnetic disc. Campbell built and then tested the machine by recording a series of improvisations with it which became LŪP, the first album in the trilogy.
Under This Hunger Moon We Fell serves as the natural conclusion to a two year enquiry into using tape loops at the centre of his music. Campbell is currently locked away in his workshop building the next series of musical contraptions.