Imagine yourself lying in a sunny, comfortable place, with the window open just enough to let a fragrant breeze flow through. There are no people sounds, just distant nature and the quiet of the wind. As your mind and body float in a half-asleep/half-awake state, everything seems just about perfect. This is the space and time that I am sent to when I listen to Amy Duncan's EP Pilgrimage.
Duncan is a classically trained double bassist who has lent her talents to a variety of artists in Scotland, including the now defunct band Swelling Meg. She has since stepped away from classical music and decided to focus on her songwriting, as well as piano and acoustic guitar skills. When she recorded Pilgrimage, she didn't intend for it to be distributed beyond her Edinburg gigs, but San Francisco indie record label Plain Recordings (The Flaming Lips, My Bloody Valentine) discovered it on MySpace and picked it up.
The EP is a collection of eight tracks that tend to blur together in my mind, but in a good way. There are a few lines and hooks that stand out in particular, such as the doubled vocals in "Walk Away" ("be true to yourself, and everything will be right") or the tumbling fall of notes that cycle through "The Only Sound." Duncan's voice blends or contrasts perfectly with whichever instrument she chooses, guitar or piano. The song arrangements highlight the rich tones in her voice, regardless of the register in which she is singing.
Pilgrimage is simple and luscious acoustic pop that will be well received by shoegazers and folkies alike. Duncan is working on a full album, so when the thirty-five minutes of bliss ends, comfort yourself by playing it again and dreaming of the next collection of tunes.