Andrew Wasylyk Balgay Hill: Morning In Magnolia

Clay Pipe
14th October 2022

Format Info

LP - yellow vinyl
Signed copy.

We’re so full of admiration for the brilliant musicians and labels who’ve managed to keep their focus through these times making sure that no matter what else was happening we would always have something new to listen to. Music’s been so important to us and as shows fell away recorded music has become the main thing that binds our community, bring us comfort and colour.

Both Andrew Wasylyk and Clay Pipe understand this and have already provided some of the best soundtracks for getting through. And now this, Andrew’s first record for this label of love and it chimes perfectly with their aesthetic. In fact it feels like it was custom made for Clay Pipe. When we heard about the combination of two of our favourite things we asked if they would do us a special edition of it and amazingly here it is. And here’s some background to the record…

As the Spring of discontent took hold on 2020, composer Andrew Wasylyk sought shelter in the familiar. Low-light morning walks in Dundee’s 19th century Balgay Park acted as sanctuary and solace to events happening in the world outside. Opened in 1871 the park, with adjoining cemetery and sweeping panoramic views across the Firth Of Tay’s inner estuary, is known for its astronomical observatory which sits high on a wooded hill and is the only full-time public observatory in the UK.

These walks, along with the comfort found in work and routine, helped alleviate the universal cloud of anxiety that swept the first part of the year, and soon Andrew found that his daybreak strolls were seeping into the music he was creating. Slowly, a collection of luminous, inventive and largely instrumental music was taking shape.

The ten compositions that make up Balgay Hill: Morning In Magnolia present themselves as hymns to early morning light, the optimism at the start of the day, and the simple joy that can be found close to home exploring an inner-city park. As with last year’s Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation and Scottish Album Of The Year Award shortlisted The Paralian (2019), trumpet and flugelhorn are handled by fellow Tayside musician Rachel Simpson, whose delivery blends muted swells and punctuated patterns.

The hallmarks of Wasylyk’s multi-dimensional approach to composing, performing and producing glow soft throughout the arrangements. His timeless, yet entirely individual, melodies remain potent and apparent. A warped tape loop cycles over a Fender Rhodes motif – elegiac strings underlined by the thud of analogue drum machine. Textures shift and shade like dawn glimmering through the branches of a sycamore. Infused with field recordings made on his morning rambles; finches flutter in the high green canopy, a dog walker shuffles in fallen leaves, the faint hum of lawnmower and passing passenger-less bus. Elsewhere, a wood pigeon clatters through a blossom tree, migratory geese call above Mills Observatory and the heavy summer rain rattles down on empty streets. Balgay Hill: Morning In Magnolia is as much a daydream rubric through solitude as it is meditative map. An invite to untold stories and images that take flight in the listener’s mind.

Here, Andrew Wasylyk offers another cohesive, unique, and transcendental journey through ambient, library and jazz. A comfort to pause, to look up, and to celebrate our human connection with the nature around us, and within us all.

Other Releases by Andrew Wasylyk