Thursday 19 April 2012

...Greyhound Out Of Mainline!

I quite like the imagery conjured up by the phrase 'Greyhound Out Of Mainline'.   A long, and sometimes bumpy, journey into the unknown.  Getting away from the norm.  Going with the flow and seeing where life takes you.   Anyway, as far as music is concerned, I also love the sounds conjured up by Greyhound Out Of Mainline, or Ally Winford as he's also known.   To be honest, those images and his music both go hand-in-hand.   Ally has just released Quirky, a self-made album recorded whilst travelling through Europe.  It's an unashamedly lo-fi affair which fleets between grand and often quite sinister soundscapes, and delicate, shoegazy compositions... and in the case of Arkhangelsk below, even combines the two to stunning effect.  

I wouldn't consider myself to be a particularly miserable guy, more of a moany bastard at times if truth be told, but when it comes to this kind of lo-fi miserablism, I can't get enough. 

Here's what Ally had to say when I asked him my usual Introducing... questions.

Kowalskiy:  Who is Greyhound Out Of Mainline?
Ally:  Greyhound Out Of Mainline is me, Ally, in my bedroom in Edinburgh, playing around with cheap, plastic, nasty recording equipment and free, nasty recording software. I did, however, manage to bully a couple of brilliant people into collaborating on my new record, 'Quirky' - Chris Tenz from Calgary (Frozen Arms was one of my favourite records from last year) and Alyssa Bicoy, a writer-slash-singer-slash-poet from New York. Both are maddeningly talented and it was nice to bring different ideas and points of view into what is usually quite a solitary project. As I type this, I've just realised what a horrible cliché the 'recording lo-fi music in the bedroom' thing sounds like...

Kowalskiy:  How'd you describe 'your sound'?
Ally:  My sound is a sort of sludgey lo-fi miserablist mess, although if people wanted to label it 'shoegaze' I'd be more than happy with that. There are a lot of layers and a lot of textures in the new tunes - part of the idea is to test if it's possible to record quite ambitious ideas on crap equipment with no finesse whatsoever (I still have no idea what the answer is, mind). I also like the idea of a record being a patchwork of conflicting styles and influences, rather than production and mastering giving an album a sonic uniformity. On 'Quirky' there's all sorts going on - a cover of an old jazz standard, field recordings, spoken word, loads of shoegaze guitar. I was basically just trying to rip off as many people as possible that I truly love - Amusement Parks On Fire, Bark Psychosis, Galaxie 500, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Adam Gnade and countless others. If someone described the sound as 'confused' I'd probably take that as a compliment - obnoxious, much?

Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Ally:  I released 'Quirky' in March this year, which can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp.   It's based on a short story I was writing over a year's worth of adventuring in central Europe and needless to say, I lost any kind of objective sense of if it was any good or not and eventually just cut it loose at a certain point after tinkering with it for what seemed like forever. A few people have said nice things about it though, which is rather lovely.

Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from you in the future?
Ally:  Greyhound Out Of Mainline is something that exists only as a recording identity; God knows if any of the tunes could be done live in the way I'd want them to sound. 'Quirky' is done and released now which just feels like a relief at the moment, so who knows when I'll start thinking about new ideas for tunes. In more practical news, I just played the first gig with another project called Convex Mancave, which is incredibly noisy sonic mangling with Matthew Collings. Hopefully the first of many!

You can download Quirky over on Ally's Bandcamp for free, or as a limited-edition CD-R "with lyrics booklet, a bonus CD-R of extra tracks and alternative takes, 3 vintage Soviet-era postcards, vintage Soviet stamps and 'Quirky' short story".  But sadly no cuddly toy.  If you fancy something that wee bit different then it comes highly recommended!

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