Prog - - Limelight -

Ed­in­burgh elec­tron­ica duo take you on a be­witch­ing trip.

“I dIdn’t re­alIse I could sing un­til I was about 20.”

It’s this rev­e­la­tion by Mi­das Falls’ El­iz­a­beth Heaton that per­haps sums up the sub­tle, beau­ti­ful and hum­ble charm of Mi­das Fall. One of the band’s most no­table fea­tures is her re­mark­able voice that com­bines the oth­er­worldly odd­ness of Bat For Lashes with the pu­rity of An­neke van Giers­ber­gen.

The ori­gins of Mi­das Fall lie in Ed­in­burgh’s eclec­tic mu­sic scene, where Heaton and Rowan Burn met. Now on their fourth al­bum, they com­bine post-rock melan­choly with the icy beauty as­so­ci­ated with the elec­tron­ica of Óla­fur Ar­nalds. It’s shat­ter­ing stuff, suited to the wild­ness of north west Scot­land where the pair are now based.

Per­haps their di­verse in­flu­ences helped to cre­ate their un­usual sound. When they met, Burn was into Tool, Primus and Pan­tera, while Heaton lis­tened to a lot of post-rock and folk. To gales of laugh­ter, Burn points out,“You had your big phase of lis­ten­ing only to Frames for about three months. It was be­com­ing quite an agony.” Heaton ac­knowl­edges with a laugh, “Yeah, I think that an­noyed you quite a bit!”

It’s this chem­istry that seems to drive Mi­das Fall for­ward. New al­bum Evap­o­rate rep­re­sents a key de­vel­op­ment in their mu­si­cal jour­ney. As Burn says,“The first three al­bums we worked with other mu­si­cians, but the lat­est has been en­tirely us. It’s been dif­fer­ent to do it that way.”

Cer­tainly Evap­o­rate feels like a huge step for­ward from their last al­bum, The Me­nagerie In­side, which was shaped by a rock sen­si­bil­ity and ba­si­cally recorded in a week. This time the sound­scape has been more clearly de­fined by clas­si­cal sounds and new tech­nolo­gies, es­pe­cially the cello and use of the Even­tide re­verb pedal. The bal­ance gives Evap­o­rate a real emo­tional grip.

A cynic might claim that this re­flects the fact that this is mu­sic made by women. Burn and Heaton rightly have a lot of push-back to of­fer in the #MeToo era. When asked how it is be­ing a woman in rock’n’roll, Burn says, “It varies be­tween be­ing fine and a to­tal fuck­ing night­mare,” adding, “The con­de­scen­sion you have to put up with is mad­den­ing.”

Heaton agrees. “Post-rock is still seen as a boys’ club,” she says, but Mi­das Fall push stale con­cepts of genre out of shape and show what tal­ent – whether male or fe­male – looks like.

Nei­ther have for­mal train­ing, mak­ing fa­cil­ity with a wide range of in­stru­ments even more im­pres­sive. Burn re­calls how, as a child, “There was an ad in Tesco’s, some old woman was selling an old pi­ano for a ten­ner and I had 10 quid’s worth of pocket money and my mum got it for me. I couldn’t play it, I just bashed around. I got lessons, but I think the pi­ano teacher was ex­as­per­ated by me and gave up. When the band started, all I could play was gui­tar.”

Mi­das Fall have come a long way since those ori­gins. Laugh­ing, Burn adds, “I think with this al­bum we got to the point where our play­ing of in­stru­ments like the drums or keys was ac­cept­able.”

It’s as if they’ve found their rai­son d’être, and it shows. As Heaton re­veals about Evap­o­rate,“We were more con­trolled. We’re not try­ing to overcomplicate. It’s more sound­scape-y and tex­tu­ral.”

Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, Burn fin­ishes the sen­tence: “There’s space to breathe.” rM




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