C Duncan, no longer alone

C Duncan's highly anticipated third album sees him venture out of his bedroom and into an uncharted collaborative space.

Door Marc Zisman | Video van de dag | 20 april 2019

Christopher Duncan, a virtuoso of contemporary Scottish pop, decided to follow-up the sensational Midnight Sun released in 2016, with a third album. After Architect was nominated for the 2015 Mercury Prize, Duncan tinged his billowy pop with more of an electronic feel. Layer upon synthetic layer was added to create an airy electro sound that worked smoothly altogether. For this third album, Health, C Duncan now ventures into new territories.

The multi-instrumentalist born in Glasgow in 1989 graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has a wide range of influences, from The Knife and The Carpenters to Burt Bacharach and Arvo Pärt. It is this eclecticism, along with his musical culture knowledge of ingenious, classical compositions that enriches his music. C Duncan is a man of many talents (he is also a painter who regularly exhibits his work and designs all his album covers himself) and is obsessed with his home studio. However, this time he left it to work alongside other musicians, sound engineers and producers, including Craig Potter from the band Elbow. “This was the biggest shift in dynamic for me, having always worked alone. It was a daunting prospect but one I knew I had to explore”, the Scot explained.

On Health, he discusses personal themes such as love, anxiety and sexuality. He adds, “Writing it was a very cathartic process. It helped me through a lot of tough times and also to celebrate the good [..] I wanted to take a more direct approach, adding even more layers but thematically and lyrically laid bare. Having someone else to bounce production ideas off was really eye-opening for me. In the past I had been very controlling about how everything would sound but ‘Health’ really showed me the benefit of working with others and made the whole process much less isolating”. From these changes he has created a multi-faceted pop album that may be more direct and less mysterious than his previous ones, but is just as exciting. A pop album that is at times synthetic, sometimes with a hint of soft rock, a vast array of vocal harmonies and even some disco funk. But as always, C Duncan’s ultimate weapon is his voice, as charming as ever.


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