In 1937, Neil Gunn quit his job at the Customs Office in Inverness to pursue his writing career full time. The first thing he did was to sell his house and buy a boat in the North of Skye. He spent a summer sailing Scotland’s beautiful West Coast, seeking inspiration for his writing. May 2014 saw Mike Vass sail the West Coast of Scotland himself, recreating this voyage and finding inspiration for his own composition. What resulted is an expert blend of traditional, classical and electronic influences, creating an immersive sonic pallet. ‘Cold Iron’ features the uniquely Scottish ‘snap’ rhythm of the strathspey which lends itself perfectly to the feeling of motion at sea in a stiff breeze. This track sits atop the pulsing rhythm of water sloshing against the side of the hull of the boat, a ‘found sound’ recorded on the May trip.
Winner of the prestigious ‘Composer of the Year’ title at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012 and nominated ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ in 2014, Mike has been described as ‘one of the most original composers working in the field of acoustic music’ (Richard Lindsay, Ullapool Guitar Festival). He is in great demand as a performer, composer, producer and teacher; regularly touring with Scots singer Fiona Hunter whose critically acclaimed debut solo album he produced and arranged. He has performed extensively in the past few years with a number of acts including leading Scots Song band Malinky, the Paul McKenna Band, The Battlefield Band, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, in a duo with twin sister Ali, and with International super group Fiddle Rendezvous, featuring Bruce Molsky, Maryann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor. Mike’s New Voices Commission ‘String Theory’ debuted in 2010 at Celtic Connections, and was described as ‘the most direct and honest since the idea was first conceived … precision, subtlety and attention to detail’. In 2012 Mike went on to release his critically acclaimed solo project ‘DecemberWell’, a highly original, kaleidoscopic work inspired by the Scottish Winter month of December. In the summer of 2014 Mike undertook his most ambitious project yet: ‘In the Wake of Neil Gunn’, a Creative Scotland Traditional Arts Commissioning project featuring a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 odyssey and a new album of original music inspired by the trip.
Artist website: http://www.mikevass.com
Single title: Cold Iron
Album title: In the Wake of Neil Gunn
Single artist: Mike Vass
Single duration: 2:58
Record Label: Unroofed Records
Catalogue No: UR001
Writers: Mike Vass
Publishers: Unroofed Records
Search Terms: Electro trad funk