Kaffe Matthews and Mandy McIntosh, Yird Muin Starn, 2013


Given the vast technological resources made available to those who wish to explore outer space, an analogue vinyl album seems like a less than adequate way to respond to the cosmos.

But in fact Yird Muin Starn is comprehensive in its dealings with such matters as star constellations, the Apollo missions, lunar cycles, the Pioneer probe and supersonic air travel.

The LP opens with a spoken word account of the landing of the Possil meteorite, which fell on the outskirts of Glasgow in 1804. So space cannot be ignored even if you were a 19th century Scot.

Other standout tracks include an Old Scots poem called Tae the Moon, which reads brilliantly even if a bit incomprehensible at time. Yird Muin Starn transates as Earth, Moon, Stars.

Flying to the Sun is just as witty. McIntosh’s vocal gets out of sync until Matthew’s drops a stalking bassline on the track. This underpins the humorous narrative of an eight year voyage to the sun.

Elsewhere vocals take a back seat to make way for instrumental tracks such as Betelgeuse to Rigel, Star Stream or Seven Sisters. These sound improvised or generative, whether they be or no.

Penetrating tones, solar wind interference, electrons rattling in a tube, re-entry static, early home computing tones, liquid silver: these are all the impressions which Yird Muin Starn leaves you with.

The album may be challenging at times, but it is never without humour and interest. You can learn much from this collaboration between artists Matthews and McIntosh.

You may not have been aware that the moon is slowly working its way free of our orbit; or that the woman on the pioneer plaque is missing an intimate part of her anatomy. I hope both facts are true.

But when you’re strapped for cash, you need a bit humour to explore outer space with. Yird Muin Starn also gives its name to a public artwork by the duo in Galloway Forest.

This site is Europe’s first Sky Park, with zero light polution and reclining Sky gazers where you can sit back and voyage to your hearts content. There are even space suits you can book out.

It sounds like the most fun you could have with someone else’s clothes on. Were this blog not composed in South East England, I’d be there like a shot, with headphones rather than a telescope.

Yird Moon Starn, the album is available from the Annette Works label. More info on the project can be found here.

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