top of page

Sounds | Silver Moth - Mother Tongue

Wat een knap staaltje songwriting door een nieuw collectief muzikanten rond Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), Matthew Rochford (Abrasive Trees) en Elisabeth Elektra. Gedurende een zestal minuten hoor je een prachtig samenspel tussen diverse instrumenten en hemelse zangpartijen. Van de zachte intro tot een subtiel aanzwellend slot neemt Mother Tong je mee op een rustgevende reis. Ik kijk ongeduldig uit naar dat album.

Black Bay verschijnt op 21 april 2023 via Bella Union (PIAS).

Ter Info

Coming out of the intensity of lockdown to what felt like the edge of the world to make a record with people who didn’t all know each other is definitely an experiment, to say the least. The fact that an album has come out of this - none of which had been written beforehand and tracked in just 4 days (mixed and overdubbed during the following 4) is almost incomprehensible. But these have been almost incomprehensible times haven’t they?

The idea of bringing a group of musicians together, booking a studio and making a record without any writing in advance intrigued me and after a message from my friends Evi Vine and Steven Hill a year prior. It must have lodged itself into my mind - although the thought of it actually happening at the time felt like the remotest of possibilities.

Some time later, a fellow musician Nick Hudson was tweeting about his trip to the Isle of Lewis, where I had spent many incredible summers as a child. My friend Elisabeth Elektra joined in the chat and I suggested we went there to make some music, tagging Evi and Jo Beth Young in my response - not expecting anything to come from it. Synchronistically (as I later found out), Elisabeth, husband Stuart Braithwaite (son of a Hebridean mother) and Nick had similar conversations to the one me Evi and Steven had had. Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

This then paved the way to conversations and dreams about making music with other people, in a spectacular location. I think we all needed something inspiring to look forward to amidst the heartache. After a couple of Zoom meetings a plan (well, more of an intention) began to gain traction and the incredible Black Bay Studio on Great Bernera was booked. After lockdown began to ease, we all booked our ferry tickets. Sadly, Nick and Jo Beth weren’t able to join us but drummer Ash Babb and cellist Ben Roberts were. A few weeks later we all met for the first time in a car park in Ullapool. Surreal, after the year we’d all had, doesn’t even cover it.

In many ways (and needless to say) this has been not only an experiment but also a risk. Would we get on? What if the music wasn't that great or the creative process was too much of an uphill struggle? With some of the key connectors between us all, unable to come, another layer of trepidation was added. But, it was still very exciting and wonderful to be out on an adventure again, post-lockdown.

They say in group dynamics there are four stages involved with how groups forge a bond - Forming, Storming, Performing and Norming and we can’t say that this has happened in that particular order (sometimes it felt they were all happening at the same time, as we all adjusted to our new surroundings). However, the magic of the creative output inspired everyone and we can say that this group of people have navigated this process with kindness and care - even when it was really challenging. Covid, isolation, careers put on hold, fear, recent grief and even homelessness added to the mix. And Jesus - we’re all living in this former crab factory studio, literally at the edge of the world.

The creative process can be easy, it can flow, especially when groups have been working together for a while, know each other, understand each other and have built up mutual respect over a period of time. When you don’t really know each other, then the ‘Storming’ phase can be (and was) a bit unnerving. It’s like a chemical reaction - it starts and you don’t know where it will lead. You need to hold your nerve. The intention to create is everything. It gets us through. We’re all in this together. We’re all individuals. We’re all part of something. But, the key thing is the music. That’s what we’re here for. And that’s where the alchemy takes form. It’s how we decorate time.

This experiment worked. Because everyone was able to be/or tried to be respectful and humble. Even (actually especially) the man who’d just had a number one album. No one imposing something, everyone looking for the space, and bringing their own unique style. And we had a brilliant producer in Peter Fletcher who steered our creativity toward a safe harbour.

Lewis is such a special place to have done this. A landscape that shapeshifts with the ever-changing light, the weather pouring in from the Atlantic, stories of Kelpies, soaring Sea-Eagles, whalebone arches, Luskentyre, the sweetness of peat smoke, the poems from my father, the lochs that move from black to gold to pink as the sun moves across these expansive skies.

Being within this music, on this island as it was being born, with this team of beautiful people, is a blessing I’ll never forget.

- Matthew Rochford, May 2021.


Ash Babb - drummer in Burning House/Academy of Sun

Stuart Braithwaite - Mogwai/Minor Victories songwriter/guitarist/singer

Elisabeth Elektra - singer/producer/songwriter

Steven Hill - guitarist/keyboards in Evi Vine

Ben Roberts - cellist/bassist/multi-instrumentalist in Evi Vine/Prosthetic Head/Abrasive Trees

Matthew Rochford - guitarist/songwriter of Abrasive Trees

Evi Vine - singer/songwriter/bassist/guitarist


bottom of page