Alun Woodward – Music from Battle Mountain [Chemikal Underground]

Alun Woodward, the man behind The Delgados and solo project Lord Cut-Glass returns with his first release since 2009, a full-bodied and emotive soundtrack to Battle Mountain – a documentary about The Flying Scotsman, cyclist Graeme Obree.

It is perhaps fitting that his latest work is for a movie about cycling given the name of The Delgados was inspired by Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado!

 

The album is packed full of slowly building movements, echoing guitar riffs and soothing melodies; the slow moving songs give a very peaceful effect.

‘Black Box’ begins with an organ note that penetrates the soul and sets a relaxed atmosphere for the listener; it is a heavy start to the album that takes a while to get going, but then breaks out with a slightly off-sounding synth verse that is later eased with the introduction of a flute.

‘Mohair’ has a more familiar feel with an easy to listen to, relaxed and chilled out, it and ‘I Was The King’ feel like gentle, soothing lullabies and are much more like the previous work of Lord Cut-Glass.

‘65+’ teleports you to the bridge of an alien spaceship for the sounds of an alien computer system in a slightly anomalous song, while there is a sense of an emanating energy from ‘The Bells’ that then gives way to the deeper bass notes of ‘Afterwards’, which have a much harder and steelier edge.

The simple fades and rises of ‘Watership Graeme’ get a bit repetitive, but ‘Graeme Building’ is a more zealous affair with its bounding notes adding a sense of mischief and adventure to the album.

The whole soundtrack achieves its aim to be an emotional piece that brings you on a journey; it is almost entirely instrumental with Woodward only using his voice on ‘I Was The King’ and ‘Come On Nevada’.

The soundtrack as a whole is relaxed and easy listening, but underneath the surface there is a lot going on to create the effect Woodward is after.

Making soundtracks is a change in direction for Woodward and the result may not quite live up to the levels of his previous work, but it is good to see him back on the scene.

Words: Chris Cox

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