Dohnavùr is a 2-piece electronic band from The Lothians in Scotland, consisting of Alasdair O’May and Frazer Brown. The duo has just released a stunning debut album called You Can and You Shall on Werra Foxma Records.
Alasdair and Frazer first met through the Electronic Music Open Mic scene and specifically the night that I hosted back in 2018. That night took place at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh and it was a fabulous event full of varied music and noise making. It’s also where I first saw Noise Disco play and have written about his field recording approach previously for Analogue Trash.
The tracks on the Dohnavùr release vary from ambient to scratchy lo-fi, 80s acid house to 90s techno. All tracks are based on initial modular pieces created by Alasdair, which have then been expanded using contemporary electronic elements by Frazer. This workflow produces some lovely moments such as Can’t and Never Will Relate with its melodic synth riff and trippy drum patterns, and the highly danceable Silk Merchant. But there is another layer of really fascinating workflow going on with this album which needs mentioning.
The album is given additional colour and beauty through collaborative tracks with other artists, including Bryce Kitcher, Miss Leading, Kris Renji, and Tegan Northwood. Listening through the entire nine tracks is a journey and one on which you never know quite what to expect. Bryce Kitcher on Concert Matinal des Oiseaux provides wise words including that ‘every entity in existence ends eventually’ which feels scarily predictive at this time of global pandemic.
Apology Echo with Miss Leading provides a lighter take on the future of humanity in outer space, with a mix of vocals and spoken word, a great combination. In fact, I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Leading perform at the second Edinburgh EMOM last year where she blew us away with her poems and songs which were all written using a first edition Synthstrom Deluge. Little Victories features Kris Renji, from the Scottish band Ikari, and provides a philosophical narrative for some beautifully put together dance music.
The album ends with, for me, a very moving track called Majestic Arm featuring Tegan Northwood which both musically and through a stream of consciousness, suggests the natural environment, spirituality, companionship and isolation. In discussing this particular track, I found out that the narrative Tegan came up with was intended for chopping up and sampling, but Frazer decided to use it in its entirety. This was exactly the right decision and provides an end to the album that is steeped in travel and timeless searching.
Dohnavùr, with the help of their musical allies, have created a stimulating and enjoyable listen in You Can and You Shall. It very much deserves your ears and is available through all the usual outlets, including Spotify and Bandcamp.