Andrew Wasylyk & Tommy Perman Ash Grey and the Gull Glides On

Clay Pipe
30th August 2024

Format Info

Monorail exclusive signed ash grey LP w/booklet

We have a long running and happy association with both Andrew Wasylyk and Frances Castle’s Clay Pipe imprint. This is Andrew’s third album for the label – a collaboration with film-maker and fellow composer, Tommy Perman, which features Aidan Moffat on a perfect closer, ‘Be the hammer’. Ash Grey And The Gull Glides On points towards new directions while keeping hold of the melodic, rich patterns which have made previous works from both so completely compelling.

Wasylyk and Perman have orbited each others worlds for a number of years through audio-visual collaborations spanning record releases, films and sound installations. Wasylyk’s cinematic compositions have been nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award and been awarded BBC Radio 6 Music’s Gideon Coe’s Album of the Year. He has collaborated with former National Poet for Scotland, Liz Lochhead, and written soundtracks for Radio 4. Perman’s work as a musician and DJ has taken him across the world, with numerous record releases under his own name and with experimental group/arts collective FOUND, alongside visual works at the Sydney Opera House and National Museum of Scotland.

Ash Grey And The Gull Glides On is the pair’s first collaborative album as a duo. The record is rooted in Perman’s ambient-acid-house grooves and multi-textural percussion built from sampling the knocks, clangs and creaks of Wasylyk’s upright piano. These are woven through a palette of drum machines, rolling transcendental piano motifs, fluttering synthesisers, saxophones swells and hymnal choral vocals.

Approaching the meditative ten-song collection, Tommy posted Andrew three envelopes containing ‘Recording Instructions’, ‘Tempo Cards’ and ‘Chord Cards’. Nodding towards the Fluxus instructions of Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit and the environmental cues of Perman and Wasylyk’s collaboration on Sing the Gloaming (‘If it’s wet outside: 100bpm. If it’s dry outside: 70bpm’) the cards inspired exploration and improvisations which were then cut up and collaged.

The spirit of this project channels through ‘Communal Imagination’ as Wasylyk’s trademark airy piano chords float above Perman’s juddering rhythms, conjuring a Balaeric abstraction of Basil Kirchin. The group brass and stuttering echoes of ‘Root Grow Emerge’ are accompanied by field recordings of Tommy’s children playing and reciting cyclical chants. ‘Blessing Of The Banners’ slowly unspools through spiritual cinematic jazz patterns into a hymn of hope, whilst ‘Spec Of Dust Becomes A Beam’ ignites into an expansive, kosmiche four-to-the-floor crescendo. A sense of warmth, openness and curiosity floods through ‘Ash Grey And The Gull Glides On’. A document of forward-thinking artistic union from a pair at the height of their imaginations, perched over the Tay estuary.

“So leave us as you found us, walk with us or around us, you might find nothing to see here, but come tomorrow we’ll still be here,” warmly warns Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) over ascending chords on the album’s closing track ‘Be the Hammer’: a mantra of quiet defiance from idiosyncratic composers in full flight. Liminal, illuminating ideas landing where melody meets rhythm:

Ash Grey And The Gull Glides On is a place where community, love and goodness prevail.

Other Releases by Andrew Wasylyk / Tommy Perman