The first dedicated Post-Progressive label, Kscope launched in May 2008 (with new albums from its first signings The Pineapple Thief and No-Man, and reissues from genre leaders, Porcupine Tree). An artistically focussed and sympathetic home for an evolving, flexible and adventurous style of music without boundaries. Kscope is as concerned with packaging and artwork as it is with music and has established a distinctive visual, as well as musical, identity.
Seven successful years after its auspicious beginnings, by continuing to utilise a combination of both new and established talent, Kscope offers a creative nurturing point for like-minded artists. The label has given a springboard for previous unknowns such as Nordic Giants, Iamthemorning, Nosound and North Atlantic Oscillation, greater exposure for the likes of The Pineapple Thief, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Crippled Black Phoenix, Gazpacho, Katatonia and No-Man, and achieved significant chart success for Steven Wilson and Anathema.
In celebration of this dedicated, forward-thinking label, we’ve packed our stores with their records, all from just £5, check out some of our highlights from their roster below.
Old Fire – Songs From The Haunted South
Though The Earlies may not quite be a household name, the two kaleidoscopic albums that the Anglo-American quartet released last decade – 2005’s These Were The Earlies and 2007’s The Enemy Chorus – still exert a rare pull on those who have heard them. One quarter of the band, Texas-born John Mark Lapham, has crafted a spooked, hazy album under the name Old Fire; part Americana and part ambient, and originally begun with singer-songwriter Micah P Hinson, it’s been a decade in the making.
Lapham’s ’90s electronic work has certainly informed his work here, but Songs From The Haunted South appears to be primarily inspired by the dark ’80s dream-pop of This Mortal Coil, as well as the lighter drifts of Brian Eno’s most gaseous pieces. As on This Mortal Coil’s albums, most of the songs are covers, helped along by a varied cast of guest musicians and vocalists, including multi-instrumentalist DM Stith, Swans guitarist Thor Harris, and Tom Rapp of ’60s psychedelic folk veterans Pearls Before Swine.
Song choices are similarly diverse: Shearwater’s “Helix” is here based around a weighty Rhodes piano, while Jason Molina’s “It’s Easier Now” comes enriched with martial snares and tremolo guitar. Other selections are more out-there, with Psychic TV’s “The Orchids” given a tumbling treatment like Nico’s “These Days”, before being enveloped by uncoiling Ebow tones.
Lapham’s ethereal instrumental tracks are also crucial elements to Songs From The Haunted South, with the opening “Old Fire 3” building to a hazy, reverbed crescendo, and the synthetic choir on closer “Deadhouse Dream” reminiscent of Popul Vuh’s soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Even Old Fire’s overly reverential version of Low’s “Laser Beam” can’t disrupt the gloriously spooked mood that Lapham builds up throughout this immersive record.
The Anchoress – Confessions Of A Romance Novelist
Garnering comparisons to John Grant and Lana Del Rey, The Anchoress’s concept driven compositions were the talk of the music press in 2016.
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD & producer Catherine Anne Davies (who also plays in the live line-up of Simple Minds) sums up her album’s overall concept as, “Partly a concept album narrated by the titular potboiler author, partly a series of imaginary character pieces, and partly a deeply personal outpouring from someone who’s been through a fair amount of personal hell.” Whichever way you choose to describe The Anchoress’ compelling debut ‘Confessions Of A Romance Novelist ‘(co-produced by Mansun’s frontman Paul Draper) one thing’s for certain, this is something truly different.
Co-producer Draper has helped Davies capture a collection of songs on which she has played a variety of instruments, including piano, guitar, flute, omnichord, mellotron, wurlitzer, glockenspiel, and celeste. The 2CD edition includes a bonus disc of 5 brand new acoustic versions, featuring string arrangements from Gillian Wood.
Steve Hogarth & Richard Barbieri – Arc Light
‘Arc Light’ is a collaborative release from Steve Hogarth (Marillion) and Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree). A 5-track mini-album and ‘little brother’ to the splendid ‘Not The Weapon But The Hand’, ‘Arc Light’ features 4 new tracks and a new version of ‘Intergalactic’ featuring Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses, Ian Brown) on guitar.
‘Not The Weapon But The Hand’ was the 2012 debut album from the cult hero collaborative. It featured appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) on drums and Dave Gregory (XTC) on guitar, bass and string arrangement Steve Hogarth is best known as the frontman of Marillion, the progressive rock legends that he joined in 1989, following spells in The Europeans and How We Live. In addition to the 12 albums Marillion have released in this time he has also recorded and toured as a solo artist, under the name ‘h’.
In recent years Richard Barbieri has been a core member of Porcupine Tree playing keyboards on all the band’s albums since 1993 as well as releasing two solo albums, Things Buried and Stranger Inside. Prior to this, it was in the new-wave pioneers Japan that he originally came to prominence, helping to create the ground-breaking synthesiser sound that defined the band and influenced the likes of The Human League, Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Talk Talk and a whole raft of artists to follow.
North Atlantic Oscillation – Lightning Strikes The Library: A Collection
Lightning Strikes The Library features North Atlantic’s most highly praised offerings to both the prog and electronica worlds. Known for their unique combination of sonic complexity and melodic intrigue, North Atlantic Oscillation have released three albums of delicately intelligent music, and frontman Sam Healy has recorded a warmer, intimate take on the band’s sound as part of his solo project SAND.
Their second album, Fog Electric, features twice on Lightning Strikes the Library with the 2012 burners “Soft Coda” and “Expert With Altimeter”, and among the four tracks from their 2014 album The Third Day “Glare” has previously only ever been available digitally.
Steven Wilson – Insurgentes
2009 debut studio album from writer, producer & Porcupine Tree founder & member, Steven Wilson. Comprising 10 tracks that range from ballads and anthems to all-out industrial noise assaults, the dark, cinematic, and richly textured album represents two years’ worth of creative output and numerous recording sessions worldwide in studios from Mexico City to Japan and Israel. Wilson recruited a stellar cast of guests to work on the album including bassist Tony Levin, Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), alongside Japanese Koto player Michiyo Yagi, British guitarist Sand Snowman, and jazz flautist and saxophonist Theo Travis
also in the offer
Anathema – Distant Satellites
Ian Anderson – Homo Erraticus
Richard Barbieri – Things Buried
Blackfield – Welcome To My DNA
Blackfield – IV
Paul Draper – EP1
Engineers – Always Returning
Gazpacho – Demon
Gazpacho – London
Gazpacho – Molok
Gavin Harrison – Drop
Henry Fool – Men Singing
IAmTheMorning – Belighted
Mick Karn – More Better Different
Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul
Lunatic Soul – Lunatic Soul II
No Man – Flowermouth
No Man – Speak
Nordic Giants – Build Seas, Dismantle Suns
North Atlantic Oscillation – Fog Electric
Nosound – Northern Religion Of Things
Nosound – Lightdark
Pineapple Thief – What We Have Sown
Pineapple Thief – All The Wars
Porcupine Tree – Recordings
Porcupine Tree – Octane Twisted
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dream
Porcupine Tree – On The Sunday Of Life
Receiver – All Burn
Sand – Sand
Se Delan – Drifter
Bruce Soord – Bruce Soord
Bruce Soord With Jonas Renske – Wisdom Of Crowds
Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Motorcycle Amnesiacs
Tesseract – Polaris / Errai
Ulver – Childhood’s End
Ulver – Live At The Norwegian National
Steven Wilson – Cover Version
Steven Wilson – Transience