Douglas MacGregor : Songs of Loss & Healing : The Well & The Flood15.02.2019
Guitarist Douglas MacGregor has already released two albums, two EPs and appeared on 10 other studio albums, besides collaborations with poets, dancers and other musicians. He has composed music for film and toured with Toby Hay (2018 Welsh Music Prize nominee) and Jim Ghedi. These two new songs mark the start of a fresh project - with seven releases planned, each recorded in non-studio locations specifically selected for their acoustics.
It is the inspiration of this first pair of instrumentals, and how that has been represented in what has been recorded, that makes them a compelling listen.
MacGregor lost his mother to cancer when he was seven; he did not fully grieve her passing until twenty five years later, and it is the depth of that sudden emotional outpouring that informs the new recordings, as well as the rest of the intended series. For composer (and thus listener) the music is very close to the experience - as he explains, "They are not reflections upon grief, but its manifestations".
There is poignant detail and nuance in the songs; The Well is a slow lament of sadness, The Flood a longer, more complex emotional mix of mourning and joyful memory. Both were captured at the vast, empty St. Barnabas' Church in Dalston, London. On one absorbed listen there can be no doubt that if MacGregor has set himself the task of articulating part of an emotional journey, then he has fully achieved it with these two intense, intimate and moving compositions.
MacGregor's stated influences stretch from Barrios and Tarrega to Davey Graham, Skip James and Marc Ribot - his music is intricate and dense at times, yet with a sense of space for the emotional content to play out. The totality of this project, if the remaining releases match the expressive fluidity of the first, will be both a significant creative accomplishment and a landmark for his career.
DOUGLAS MACGREGOR I The Well & The Flood