Cédric Pin and Glen Johnson first played music together in 2005 as part of cult, London-based, Anglo-French "ghostrock" group, Piano Magic. Pin's programming and keyboard contributions to the group's (arguably) most lauded album, 'Disaffected,' (which also features Cédric as the cover star) was instrumental to the band's flirtation with electro-pop at that time. The electro theme was explored in much greater depth on Pin and Johnson's Future Conditional project of 2007, from which an album, 'We Don't Just Disappear,' was released on the Factory Records re-issue imprint LTM Recordings.
Despite Pin leaving London for the comparatively sleepy town of Alès in the Occitanie region of southern France in 2008, they kept in touch. Pin raised a family and exercised his talent for painting, whilst Johnson continued to record and tour across Europe and beyond with Piano Magic. In 2009, the latter also recorded a debut solo album, 'Details Not Recorded' and co-founded a new independent label, Second Language Music.
Around 2013, the two mooted a new album, though this time of darker, more esoteric electronica, that was to become Second Language's 37th release, ‘The Burning Skull.’ Initially swapping music files by email, Pin and Johnson, spent the Winter of 2017-'18 putting the finishing touches to the project at their home studios in London and Alès.
‘The Burning Skull’ was greatly inspired by the key themes of vanitas and memento mori, ever-evident in contemporary, materialistic society and social media. Johnson explains, “It really interests me how pop music is increasingly escapist – that modern songwriters seem hellbent on frivolity, on shallow themes – physical attraction and lust, in particular. Whereas, should you address, say the shortness of life, the vapidity of materialism, vanity, etc, you’re lambasted for spoiling the party. People would rather just walk a big circle around life’s truths. Whereas, our songs actively embrace them.”
‘The Burning Skull’ also comes with digital EP, 'Craquelure,' featuring two, exclusive, 20 minute bonus tracks : ‘Concatenazione Dei Spazi’ by Pin and ‘Set The Time Machine For Never’ by Johnson.
supported by 44 fans who also own “The Burning Skull + Craquelure EP”
For me this is a longed for sister album to Piano Magic’s swansong ‘Closure’, often that album strayed a bit too far into straight up love lorn rock for my tastes, but this album steers Glen’s output back into the arcane haunted delights of earlier Piano Magic. No matter what the title of the band this showcases Glen’s unique musical approach and let’s hope he continues to create music whatever he decides to name its output. Richard Grant
supported by 20 fans who also own “The Burning Skull + Craquelure EP”
I keep going back and listening to this new disc by Memory Drawings, as it is all kinds of wonderful. Entirely instrumental, it features gorgeous hammered dulcimer and aching violins, and is a blend of ethereal sounds and dreamy orchestral passages with elements of ambient and shoegaze. It keeps hooking me in and drawing me back; this is an incredibly passionately emotive and meditative jewel. Eve McGivern
supported by 19 fans who also own “The Burning Skull + Craquelure EP”
Adorable ‘clockworktronica’, full of playfulness, melody, eeriness and warmth. Sounds like an orchestra of automata from the V&A Museum of Chilhood mixed with wonderfully evocative, nostalgic, retrofuturistic electronic music. I was lucky enough to get one of the 50 physical copies back in 2009, and I am happy to buy this again, though digitally, now in full, with the lovingly unique ‘sketches’ only the original owners of such treasurable hand-packaged CDrs were able to hear at the time.