Next month sees the release of The Gathering, the debut album from Welsh guitarist Toby Hay who is also the driving force behind Cambrian Records.
In December we were treated to the release of Birds, a five-track EP which also formed part of a collaborative exhibition with artist Keith How, and blacksmiths Nick Buchan and Tom Robinson of Gofannon Forge.
If that work formed a lasting impression, then this debut album will take that journey still further. The award-winning author Robert MacFarlane, whose writings on landscape and nature have cast an incredibly wide influence, had this to say about the album:
“I first listened to The Gathering late in the day, late in the year – the year of Trump, of Brexit, of tides of darkness rising fast on all sides. And for a bright hour, Toby Hay’s music cast strong light, fought the shadows back a little. The tracks of this album – quick-fingered, deep-felt – open landscapes in the mind’s eye. It feels, listening to them, as if they have a little of the power – the power that linguists call ‘illocutionary’ and magicians call ‘conjuring’ – to summon things into being, or bring pasts briefly back to life. It came as no surprise to learn that Toby has sometimes hoped that the playing of ‘Starlings’ (in which the notes teem and swoop and swarm) might one day call up an actual murmuration. Place, memory, nature, loss and dreamed-of geographies are the subjects of this beautiful music: that gathering of feelings that go by the untranslatable Welsh word hiraeth. There is a sadness at what has gone here, but not a nostalgia. The world’s dew gleams on this music, but the world’s dust swirls through it too.”
The Gathering is released on 29 March 2017 via Cambrian Records
Pre-Order it here: tobyhay.bandcamp.com/album/the-gathering-2
Toby will be touring extensively throughout the UK and Ireland in support of the release – details to be announced soon.