Angus MacRae


Release Notes

Label: Nation of the Sea
Release: Vivarium
Date: September 30th, 2022
Mastered By: Cicely Balston
Artwork By: Gareth Hughes

I often think about childhood experiences. Don’t you? Remember those magical moments of discovery of how something in this universe truly works or the slow disintegration of fiction into reality or the self-guided journey into a fantasy, knowing full well that it’s really imaginary and yet completely giving in, and letting it absorb you into other worlds? For me, there were adventures into outer space, of alien planets and improbable lands, of other beings just like us, and yet completely different in every way. It’s no wonder that many of my fantastical voyages were accompanied by music, made, of course, by instruments unknown. This “space music” is what continues to attract me to some aspects of the cinematic, electronic, and experimental sounds of today. It’s no wonder I still attempt to recreate each voyage with the lush pads of my synths. For British composer and musician Angus MacRae, this reflection on childhood imagination comes in a form of his new album, Vivarium. Across twelve pieces, each representing a specific memory, MacRae uses the immediate presence of acoustic instrumentation (piano, strings, woodwinds, and even voice) to capture the emotional experience of the unreal worlds. Today I am premiering a track from the album titled “Flame” which is due out as a single on September 1st. This is a gorgeous and dynamic piece, pairing a gently wavering piano melody in a whirlwind of a rising emotional gust. Listening to this piece you can’t help but get lifted into a torrent of a sentimental storm and get carried away into those other worlds…

For a long time I had been trying in vain to capture the emotional experience of my childhood imagination. As a child the real world was as mysterious, magical, and unknown as the worlds I dreamed of and those I imagined could be real. As a child I relied on these imagined worlds to better understand the reality of the world I was living in. Yet as an adult the feeling of being immersed in them had drifted into darkness. The lessons from them had been learned, replaced by the starker realities of adulthood. The poetry of the fantastical was ever harder to connect with, and the reality of the real world was becoming ever more prosaic. And yet I began to find that there was music, fragments at first, which could offer a glimmer in the dark. They were like sparkling glints of the magic, fear and mystery which pervaded my childhood imagination. They offered an opportunity to recapture that feeling of escape. To re-inhabit those worlds that had fallen quiet for so long.

— Angus MacRae

The full album is out on September 30th, 2022 via Nation of the Sea but you can pre-order your copy now via Bandcamp. Highly recommended for those cinematic trips.