Cal Raasay Shows Off the Grand Majesty of the Scottish Landscape on "After All" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of Cal Raasay

Cal Raasay has a flair for taking the simplest of ideas and finding its emotional heart as we hear on the stunningly beautiful "After All".

Hailing from Northumberland, Callum Lawson (aka Cal Raasay) is a songwriter, producer and composer greatly influenced by the imposing mountains and glittering lochs of Scotland. Following the release of two EPs last year, the melancholic, experimental, 57-6, and the altogether starker, Horizon/Afore, Raasay returns with new EP Still, which features the song "After All". The songs on the EP were all written on piano, a markedly different and liberating experience for him.

Today, PopMatters is premiering the beautifully lo-fi video for the track "After All", a video that uses the grand majesty of the Scottish landscape as the backdrop for the songs wavering melancholy, as Raasay explains:

"I went to stay in a bothy back in January on the sides of Haystacks in the Buttermere valley. My friend Patrick shot this time-lapse on his Go-Pro, positioned just up the mountain from the bothy. I love the footage as it encapsulates so much of the emotional arc of 'After All', and it was shot in the very place that inspired most of the Still EP."

The track itself is an emotive, stark piano piece, with crisp, definite notes that evoke the gradual build of rolling mountain mist that thickens before obscuring the landscape. As the day darkens and specks of artificial light punctuate the gloom , the tempo quickens and the song seems to gain greater purpose, finally reaching its dramatic climax as dusk succumbs to night.

Clearly heavily inspired by Nils Frahm and sharing a similar ability to write music that seems to be constantly metamorphosing, like the mist in the video, Raasay has a flair for taking the simplest of ideas and finding its emotional heart.





The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.


ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.


Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.


Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.


'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.


10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.


'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.


The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.