Ten years, a hundred, a thousand, from now, people will ask what we learned from the Gaels. And our gorgeous, hyper-cerebral progeny will rejoinder thus: we learned that the 1980s was the greatest decade – just look at Dexy’s, Simple Minds, Talk Talk. We learned that forty-something albums in, King Creosote – KC, Kenny Anderson – was still turning over new ground; still writing surprising, beautiful songs.
In 1995, Fife native Kenny Anderson set up Fence Records and began recording and releasing music under a pseudonym. The rest, as they say, is King Creosote. Since 1995, Anderson, under the guise of King Creosote, has steadily become one of Scotland’s most respected and prolific artists, releasing, as he has, over forty albums to date.
Previously Anderson operated as singer-songwriter for the bands Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra and Khartoum Heroes, but found he was beginning to move in a different musical direction. With a new blueprint to write 'songs with relatively few chords in a bluegrass style', save for 'over-elaborate bluegrass ditties', Anderson began a stripped-down approach in both musical material and instrumentation. Under the auspices of Fence he began a project of CD-R albums now numbering more than 20, beginning with 1998's Queen Of Brush County. In 2005, King Creosote teamed up with Domino Records label and began releasing records under their name, starting Kenny And Beth's Musakal Boat Rides, a roundup of the earlier CD-Rs and a new album.
The Fence collective, including Kenny's brother Gordon who records as Lone Pigeon, were becoming known for a mildly psychedelic take on folksy songwriting, a style recapitulated on King Creosote's 2005 release Rocket D.I.Y. Meanwhile King Creosote's live following grew, principally owing to his ability to extract emotion from his songs accompanied by little more than an accordion. This dedicated following, secured through label-based nights and support slots, spilled over to record buyers with his major label debut, KC Rules OK, recorded with regular collaborators the Earlies.
In 2011, Anderson attended the SxSW Music Festival and played a number of shows, two of which featured fellow Scottish attendees Kid Canaveral as his backing band. The same year, Anderson released Diamond Mine, a collaborative album with electronica composer Jon Hopkins, to critical acclaim. The album was subsequently nominated for the Mercury Prize. The duo combined again in 2011 to release the Honest Words E.P.
With a new E.P., To Deal With Things, due out in the weeks leading up to Split Festival, and a back catalogue as wide and as deep as the River Wear, King Creosote’s journey to Split may provide one of the more intriguing moments of the weekend. So come on board, raise the mast, turn it up and let’s set sail. Is this the final crossing of their revolutionary voyage? It might be, darling.