Tisso Lake – Carnival/Canter 7″

tl If you head over to the Tissø Lake Bandcamp page you can pick up a copy of a new 7″ they’ve just released, and umm, by the fact that I here posting about it I suppose you’ve already realised that I recommend that you do.

That you probably don’t know too much about Tissø Lake is probably more down to Ian Humberstone himself – the man behind the project – than anything else. Not that he’s not a lovely guy, because he is, and not that he’s one of these artists who deliberately sabotages their own success either, because he doesn’t. In Ian’s case he just doesn’t play all that much, although I don’t know if that’s a deliberate decision or not, and he really doesn’t release that much either.

As a label who has released at least one thing by Ian, albeit under his own name, I’ve tried to encourage him to record and release more stuff as subtly as I can. Artists can be funny when you are trying to encourage them to do things though, and when you don’t know someone all that well genuine enthusiasm can come across as bungling harassment, so for someone not generally known for tact or sensitivity, I’ve tried to tread as carefully as I can.

Anyhow, apparently Ian is just someone who likes to work at his own pace and in his own way and won’t really be pushed into stuff until he’s good and ready, but the pace of new releases seems to have increased recently and there is talk of an album happening in the relatively near future, which is most exciting news.

Before that, however, there is this. It’s less glacial than some of his previous things, which can either have a late-evening sense of gentle comfort to them or a reassuring twinkle. In this case there’s more of a clip to the songs, with Carnival dancing around to the tune of a disciplined violin which sounds really quite traditional most of the time. This song and Canter work in much the same way, with that lovely violin playing over a rolling, plucked acoustic guitar.

I think it’s probably Canter which most obviously embodies why I like Humberstone’s work so much. I might just prefer Carnival (that’s not a value judgement, it’s primarily because it’s not an instrumental and he has a gorgeous voice) but towards the end of Canter the violin and guitar rise to increasingly bitey* little squawks, not too abrasive, but just enough to make this weird and interesting. And that, I think, is the essence of what makes Tissø Lake such a rewarding listen: in amongst a wash of warm, gorgeous, reassuring music there are these constant moments of surprise to stop you getting complacent and lazy as a listener.

*Yes, it’s a word. Because I said so.

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