One of the UK’s most staunchly independent labels Song, By Toad Records has announced details of another one of its celebrated four-way Split 12’’ projects that’s sadly also its swansong.
Matthew Young decided last year to step back from running the Edinburgh label, adding a bittersweet tinge to the 10th anniversary gig at Leith Depot, which doubled as a farewell show at the venue where the label launched in 2008.
But unfinished business means Song, By Toad is returning – albeit for a farewell album that was already being recorded when Young called time last year.
The posthumous release is Vol 7 in the Split 12” series, featuring four Canadian artists with a chance to add a final chapter to the label’s legacy of supporting independent music. Vol 7 is also a full-circle release in another way, as Young is half-Canadian, even if he admits: “You’d never know to hear me speak.”
The record may feature four distinct, singular artists, but Vol 7 is a cohesive 12-track album and a wrap-up mission statement. It features three tracks each, from alt-folk singer-songwriter Dana Gavanski, lo-fi drone-folk artist LT Leif, the intricate anti-folk of Woodpigeon and the electronic and Asian traditional explorations of FOONYAP. All tracks were recorded in the Song, By Toad studio and live space The Happiness Hotel, adding to the inclusive, holistic vibe, but also explaining the 18-month gap between recording the first and final tracks, with the logistics of Canadian touring artists finding time to record in Edinburgh.
FOONYAP is an artist who can flit between indie-folk collaborations with Woodpigeon and ragged minimalist disco and punk on FOONYAP and the Roar. In her solo work, she filters Asian folk music through electronic explorations in looping violin, mandolin and voice, while still holding on to her classical training
Her track ‘Yes/No’ is a delicate introduction to the the Split 12” Vol 7 – with its minimalist plucking offset by resonant violin surges and her brittle multi-tracked vocals.
Of ‘Yes/No’, FOONYAP says: “In my early 30s I took responsibility for my sexual satisfaction and opened up my long-term relationship. ‘Yes/No’ explores my guilt and desire from plunges into my animal self: my personal liberation from religious and conservative taboos. It expresses the uncertainty of feminine eroticism, a dominant theme in my upcoming artistry.”
Song, by Toad Split 12″ Vol. 7 is out on 7th June 2019.