Robin Guthrie – Pearldiving

photo by Violette Guthrie

As his new EP, Riviera, is unveiled close on the heels of the album, Pearldiving, we have taken to that larger exploration of sound and intimation to share with you the compelling composing and craft of legendary Scottish music-sculptor Robin Guthrie. The album itself came out mere weeks after Guthrie’s acclaimed Mockingbird Love EP, yet as proven time and time again each encounter provides a distinctly new and individual adventure for ears and imagination alike.

Renowned for his band Cocteau Twins, there is a certain inherent curiosity for the work of Guthrie whether musically or in his art or photography. It is an appetite which Pearldiving embraces and takes to fresh realms of eager contemplation and thought evoking possibilities. Guthrie’s composing has for film scores equally earned rich praise with those for Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin and White Bird in a Blizzard inescapably notable and there is that kind of cinematic grace and richness to the instrumental tapestry of Pearldiving and its individual yet connected evocations of sound.

Each track is as atmospherically suggestive as they are sonically vivid, all haunting and enticing the imagination with their unique paintings of sound as proven by album opener ivy. The track simmers into view, a shimmer on ears and thought which rises into a clinging seduction of grace and beauty. Yet there is a melancholy to the breath of the emerging piece, shadows courting its radiance to add a sense of honest and open intimacy from within its author.

It is this fusion of evocative hues and mercurial emotions which as much makes Pearldiving enthralling as Guthrie’s sure yet skilfully subtle weaving of layers and textures, the following likes of ouestern with its humid melodic glare over heart sharing keys and the insular contemplation of castaway swift captivations built upon this prowess. Each takes the listener to places of their own devising but woven in Guthrie’s imagination and intimation; ten such explorations across the release resulting in ten richly individual ruminations and pleasures.

The calm and reserved yet rapturous on the trail of grace and les amourettes with its similar if even more subdued countenance equally absorbed ears and thoughts, each casting haunting beauty and reflections in their own distinctive proposals while euphemia and oceanaire respectively enticed especial sonic portraits of darkness and respect cultured elegance and spirit enlivening warmth and splendour from thoughts.

The eldritch seduction of presence equally had ears and imagination fully in its captivation with kerosene courting the same with its own mercurial and vividly moving moment of emotional dilemma before the amber room brought Pearldiving to a close with riveting craft, suggestion and drama. It is a fine end to an equally gripping release, a track bearing heart bred tempestuousness, which at times is more hinted at throughout the album, but with respectfulness for the beauty and emotional sensitivity it shares.

Every listen with Pearldiving breeds new adventures as the imagination evolves its interpretations and storytelling from Robin Guthrie’s guitar and keyboard spun tapestries of sound; every outing more cathartic and gently but surely rousing than the last.  

Pearldiving is out now via Soleil Après Minuit; available as the Riviera EP @

Pete RingMaster 23/12/2021

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Music

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