Cal Raasay is a Newcastle-based electronic producer, musician and singer-songwriter. A few months after Still, he’s back with a new EP titled Rona. Four tracks which show his delicate vocals and the minimal and evocative sound (“Rona” and “Breakers”), deep ambient textures (“Settling”) and the refined complexity of his music which you can listen more in the final track. After the full streaming, he explains the new work track by track. Check it below.
Rona is an island that lies north of the Isle of Raasay, in the Inner Hebrides. The Rona EP is, on the surface, a sonic exploration of the vast mountainous and oceanic vistas of the Western Isles. Here, I will delve a little deeper.
Settling – The spark for this piece came from a fingerpicked guitar sequence I wrote for the title track ‘Rona’. I began writing some lyrics, describing the claustrophobia in my life at the time, but I later realised the notion of the piece worked better as an instrumental. Using multilayered sends and gating of the source signals, I created a dense soundscape that would clear as the guitar melody revealed itself…through the fog, the Isle of Rona is revealed.
Rona – The song that started it all. Whilst touring in the Western Isles last summer, I remember being somewhere on the south coast of the Isle of Raasay in brilliant sunshine; I took my guitar out the van and played for about an hour, just musing away in my open tuning with a small riff I’d had in my mind. I don’t know what it was about that moment, but I very clearly remember the sonic concept of the Rona EP being almost fully formed by the time I put the guitar back in the van.
Breakers – This track features actual breaking waves that I recorded at Neist Point in December last year. The track, upon first listen, is about an oceanic sense of longing for a lost love, however the composition has an undercurrent that I hope you can follow. I have to admit, this track took a very long time to get right, mainly due to the integration of the breaking waves as part of the percussion, requiring micro adjustments as the track progresses to the climax…working on making a short film to accompany this one!
Blaven – The mysterious closer. When I wrote the lyrics for this piece, I remember being hit so hard by what I sang that I decided the two lines were enough. The composition and production is where I went down a rabbit hole. I could talk for a very long time about that but I think its better to just describe where the music puts me: floating in deep ocean at night, trying, in vain, to swim to the lights of the island on the horizon.