A MOTE OF DUST ON THE WEB: https://amoteofdustofficial.bandcamp.com
Three years since the release of his last recordings, Craig B (The Unwinding Hours, Aereogramme) finally unveils his debut long-player under the alias A Mote Of Dust. Taking its title from a quote by therenowned cosmologist Carl Sagan which chimes with the overarching narrative of its nine songs, theeponymous record finds its maker on supreme form across nine tracks that address themes of insignificance, anger and faith.
A Mote Of Dust was born following the success of Craig’s Unwinding Hours co-pilot Iain Cook inChvrches and, though it is essentially a label for his solo work, Craig is here joined bylongstanding friend and collaborator Graeme Smillie, whose piano playing serves as a foil for the main ingredient ofsteel-string guitar. Having recorded acoustic songs with both The Unwinding Hours and Aereogramme,Craig decided to embrace his leanings towards quieter material, an interest long fuelled by his admiration for songwriters such as Mark Eitzel and Mark Kozelek.
While the base material with which A Mote Of Dust is made stands in contrast to the glossy complexity of The Unwinding Hours’ debut album (issued in 2010) and its 2012 follow-up Afterlives (both releasedby Chemikal Underground), all three records demonstrate a craft and purpose which are recognisably Craig’s. While much of The Unwinding Hours’s music gleamed in the midday sun, however, A Mote Of Dust is an altogether more crepuscular affair.
Recorded in 2014 by renowned producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, King Creosote, Franz Ferdinand) at his Chem 19 studio in Scotland, the album shivers with details which complement the thematic gist of the songs therein. Chasmic sustains and plaintive reverb rub shoulders with stabs of electricity and disembodied choirs, each embellishment deployed sparingly to produce a suite free of longueurs and rich in craftsmanship.
Written in the run-up to Craig B departing Glasgow to continue his university studies in England, A Mote Of Dust variously tackles the fear of the unknown (Home), political anger (The Circus) and the story ofthe garden of Eden (Eve), while lead track Wolves In The Valley provides the album with its emotional watershed, a parable that pulses with images from nature while seeking the answer to an ageless metaphysical quandary: in a godless world, what is there to hold on to?