Laucan

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Jul 11, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share


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Laucan (pronounced Lor-can) is the given name to Laurence Galpin's soundscaping, sewn with the helping hand of Andrew Phillips, one half of the organic post-rock duo Grasscut. Galpin brought his acoustic arrangements to fruition in collaboration with Phillips, and Laucan's first EP, Up Tomorrow, as well as the forthcoming debut album, FramesPerSecond, were formed. An openness to find concert with others is reflected in the obscurity of his name.

"I wanted to have something abstract which could acquire meaning as the project progressed," Galpin explains. "I also wanted to avoid using my own name to enable me to change the band dynamic and collaborate with other musicians. Generally, I wanted to avoid the potential stigma attached to a singer/songwriter type setup." 

Up Tomorrow does not lend itself to stigma. An enveloping phosphorescence pulls you into the setting like a brilliantly descriptive introductory paragraph where Galpin's call searches through a lush atmosphere, familiar to those who know Phillips' Grasscut compositions.

"I'm so pleased with what he did with my arrangements," says Galpin. "I love the collage approach he takes, how he combines drum machines, samples, and synths with field recordings and acoustic and string instruments. He's really knowledgeable of sculpting sound with electronics, something that I was less confident in. I had ideas of what I wanted to add and where, and he enabled me to do that."     

Galpin attributes the bucolic, film score expanse that surrounds him musically to growing up in Lewes near the south shores of England, a place he describes as quite idyllic.

"There are loads of really amazing hill ranges around Sussex and South Downs. I love being outside, in nature, and somehow incorporating that. I suppose it's a cinematic type of tool. I studied composition for the moving image and it's something that I'm really interested in, that synergy with images and sound."

Having parents with good taste in music played a part as well. "They were really into folk music like John Martyn and Nick Drake, so I was always aware of those guys. I've always loved that organic kind of sound and it seems like it resonates, being from a small town in the countryside."

Without a band after moving to Londonand on from his prog-math rock group in Leweshis own loose interpretation of solo acoustic based music took shape. The essential stroke of influence then came in a trip to The Hebrides Islands off the west coast of Scotland. There he discovered a historical perspective that informed his spacious folkloric sensibility and, in turn, the genesis of Laucan.

"I got really interested in these songs for weaving called 'walking songs.' They were recorded by Alan Lomax, an ethnomusicologist who travelled the world and recorded folk music in loads of tiny villages and places where the original music was kind of dying out. I sort of connected that to London's history, trying to find out about the songs that were in and around London, particularly South East, where I live.... I think London can be a very lonely place. You're surrounded by millions of people who don't talk to each other. But something that I did love was the history and being surrounded by that. There's evidence of it all around still, in hidden corners."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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