- Clearness Of Love arrives nearly two years after the first Lord Of The Isles EP for Permanent Vacation, 301C Symphony, and just over a year since his last record, the Greane / Gigha 12-inch on Phonica. The once-prolific, 40-something Scottish producer named Neil McDonald may have abruptly halted his release schedule, but that doesn't seem to have stopped the music from flowing (it has, after all, always been a hobby). He recently told The Ransom Note that, in addition to releasing Clearness Of Love and a couple one-off tracks, he's about to wrap up an album and has two other EPs in the works. If the lush, astral, funky house of these four productions is an indication of what's to come, McDonald will pick up right where his streak left off.
What first hits you about Clearness Of Love—and what will stay with you after it's finished—is the sheer amount of melody packed into it. The whole thing brims with harmony and layered passages of keys, pads, bass and gummy 303 sequences. McDonald's longstanding love affair with acid certainly plays a role here, but it's all backlit with a halo of light at the edges. Even when "DYFM" begins with a slippery squelch, it's soon enough softened by the glow of tender chords and the mantric sample "Don't you forget me." "Bodyswerve" and "Clearness Of Love" operate on a shared wavelength, tying together spacey delay, concise drum patterns, thick low-end and innumerable synth patches into a sound that straddles early house and IDM. Though not a dance floor go-to, "All I Need" stands out for its massive bass notes and effective—and somehow not cheesey—use of pan flutes in an understated, 110 BPM framework. It's a dreamy and fitting end for Clearness Of Love.
A1 Clearness Of Love
B2 All I Need