L Pierre: Dip

Written and recorded prior to Arab Strap's demise, L. Pierre's (Aidan Moffat) Dip documents the quieter side of his music-making exploits. The sound is hardly ambient, though, as guests amplify Dip's sonic range by adding cello, double bass, and trumpet to Moffat's keyboards, drums, and field recordings. Consequently, the album alternates between quieter and uptempo pieces: at one moment, Alan Barr's cello cries atop a crackling looped base of Satie-like piano fragments in the mournful “Ache,” while, in the next, a frenetic drum machine Vivaldiesque strings in “Hike.” As song titles (like “Gust,” a windswept drone) indicate, the prevailing theme is nature and specifically the sea so it's perfectly fitting that the album's framed by waves crashing ashore. The seaside character of “Gullsong” is intensified the multitudinous seagulls that cry overhead and by strings, horns, and drums that woozily waver like a ship adrift at sea. The placid dreaminess of “Drift” is trumped by the 12-minute paradise “Weir's Way” where a heavenly combo of banjo, trumpets, acoustic guitar, and an angelic choir perform. Dip signifies a marked change in style from 2004's Touchpool but is a pleasing though brief (37 minutes) companion to it nonetheless.

January 2007