Switched On – Lomond Campbell: Under The Hunger Moon We Fell (One Little Independent)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

The third instalment of Lomond Campbell’s experiments with music based on tape loops is a primal affair. While he was nearing completion of the album there was a dramatic Supermoon phenomenon known as a Hunger Moon, which occurs at the end of winter when predators are at their most desperate.

For his source material Campbell took 140 tape loops, stacked up on top of each other, and gradually whittled them down until, as the press release says, ‘the bare bones of something musical started to show itself’ on each track. The three-part project of music based on tape loops has its origins in a request from King Creosote, who was looking for a custom tape looping machine. Campbell obliged – but in the process created a musical instrument he wanted to get to know.

What’s the music like?

Moody and rather magnificent.

The title and recording process explain the album’s extremes of emotions, from intense and sudden soul searching to unexpected tenderness – but make no mistake, this is not a record that drifts complacently through the middle.

There is often an exploratory feel to this music, from the way a lone synthesizer line winds its way up through the misty textures of Bastard Wing, and the way the violin dominates Phonon For No One, with a busy drum track rather like the steady thrum of horses’ hooves underneath. Yet there is stillness too, best heard through the tolling piano that begins Leave Only Love Behind, an atmospheric tale.

We hear Lomond Campbell the vocalist for the first time, on For The Uncarved – a striking set of timbres providing the backing for his heavily manipulated but distinctive voice, which is eventually swamped by a rush of white noise.

Often the elements are close at hand, such as on the wide open and windswept track The Mountain And The Pendulum, a panorama with vivid outlines and a sweeping backdrop. It is another demonstration of how good Campbell is at setting the scene and allowing the climate to take over.

Does it all work?

Yes. Though often darkly tinged, this is a compelling piece of work – and compressed, too, the seven tracks weighing in at little more than .dfgd

Is it recommended?

Very much so. It will have you – as it did me – working back through Lomond Campbell’s impressive discography to check if there is anything that hasn’t been missed. Highly recommended, both as a trilogy and as this single, searching element.



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