‘Down With The Dawn’ is a warped ride through the mind of the Scottish talent, veering away from the often conceptual approach of his other albums to instead create an assemblage of the multifarious musical trajectories that he frequents. Free from any shackles of working with and molding another artist’s sounds, Howie allows himself total musical freedom on this record - and the results are wildly varied and captivating.
This album is also his most collaborative effort to date, with the likes of Gavin Friday (Virgin Prunes), Joe Hirst (Bloc Party/DJ Shadow/jarvis Cocker) and Italian musicians Riccardo Tesio and Gianni Maroccolo working alongside him.
The futuristic bombast of ‘Frankie’s City’ kicks the album into life while the lolloping ambient acid of ‘Run Always’ harks back to some of his most slumberous past works. There’s the self-explanatory quirk of ‘Kazoo’, the mellifluous warmth of the title track, and the hypnotic introspection of ‘Can I Close My Eyes’. The whirling synths and lo-fi glitch of ‘Ganzi’ are clinically juxtaposed by the hushed chimes and barely-there beat of ‘Heaven’, while the yearning synth-strings of ‘Authentication’ are an unexpected piece of intense emotion following in their wake. ‘Master Inch Mile Haunch’comes laden with brooding, dark tones, ‘Night Nice’brings some hazy electronic dub to the table, and ‘Summers Flower’ brings the album to a close with the album’s only vocal performance – a fittingly haunting one to fit with the track’s ghost-of-trip-hop aesthetic.
‘Down With The Dawn’ is a quietly thrilling album, providing a refreshing antidote to the overly-processed and predictable sounds of today – and one that will speak volumes to both lovers of Howie’s back catalogue and curious new audiences alike.