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Calamateur vs. Steve Lawson

by Calamateur & Steve Lawson

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Wonder 05:27
They used you up They beat you to a pulp They filled you up with drugs They stole your strength to love And you wonder why I have no time for you now When you've asked me to help you But I don't know how And the closest you've come to forgiveness in years Is forgetting your anger and fighting your fears But you know that that's not enough Is this the last chance I'll have To drag you back To try to give a gift you can't receive To fail to be the rescuer you need And you wonder why I have no time for you now When you've asked me to help you But I don't know how And the closest you've come to forgiveness in years Is forgetting your anger and fighting back tears But you know that that's not enough
How Long 07:00
It's the right time it's the right place There's no more than there was before The curtains are drawn, supplies have run dry There's no more wood left on the fire How long How long I can't find a reason to be scared Not now I know that you'll be there Not now I know there are no guarantees And your company's better than my safety How long How long
Even After 04:13
Even after all this time you're still afraid to say my name And after all your questioning you still think I won't feel the same And I wonder if you try And I wonder if you try Even after gaining freedom you still feel the need to lie And after all the love I've promised you are still afraid to die And I wonder if you try And I wonder if you try I wonder if you try
Unimagined 03:57
Unimagined, unsupported me Our dreams and ideas on the altar of crude reality Believing in nothing and quietly dying in our sleep
Endo 05:04
I am not hopeless I am not strong I hang here useless I don't perform I don't despair I can't complain This powerless body Is racked with your blame Remember this weakness This motionless death I speak beginnings You remember the rest The city kept moving The sky kept it's hue The world kept on turning So I could keep you
Ripsukibuna 11:28
Lie in Wait 03:44
I turn around, my heart is bound by you Do you mistake my tears for joy, I don't know why Do you mistake my words for silence in your mind And I am not yours anymore No I am not yours anymore And I'll take the road out of here I won't be the one who draws you near I can't lie in wait for your mistakes The biggest one you'll ever make I turn around, my heart is bound by you
1993 06:16


9-track album album originally released on Autoclave Records in October 2007.



You’re listening to the fruits of a long friendship, a collaboration between two very different musical talents and a collection of beautiful, eerie songs.

The underground aesthetic promotes passion and integrity over craftsmanship and musical chops. Calamateur vs. Steve Lawson offers no such dilemma. The playing is immaculate, the production gorgeous and the arrangements are achingly close to perfection. These are Calamateur songs though, which means they’re loaded with yearning, loss, ascetic sensuality and a commitment to revealing personal and universal truths. And tunes, it’s more packed with tunes than a Topic is with hazelnuts.

'Calamateur vs. Steve Lawson' finds Calamateur (Andrew Howie, reclusive solo artist and sage) in a rare collaboration with another musician, the much demanded session musician, tour sideman and solo bass player, Steve Lawson.

Despite their studio polish, and the understated musical chops on display, the nine songs that have emerged from the Howie-Lawson collaboration are emotionally raw and spiritually bereft. There’s far more pain and sense of loss and inadequacy on this album than on, say, 'The Old Fox of ’45', or the 'Son of Everyone' double EP. At times deeply unsettling, and often painfully confessional (even the instrumental tracks) the overwhelming sense is of beauty in a stark place; a desolate Antarctic wilderness of songs.


Tracks 4 or 5 are the most distinctive, 1 and 3 the safest, 8 the prettiest.

1. Opening with the words “They used you up”, 'Wonder' starts us off in familiar Calamateur territory, melodic and deceptively slight, this seemingly delicate opener is more than strong enough to launch an album. “The closest you’ve come to forgiveness in years / Is forgetting your anger and fighting back tears”

2. 'How Long' throbs along gently in the stratosphere thanks to the helium filled falsetto and thin silver strands of guitar, looped through a barrage of effects.

3. 'Even After' fills a similar niche to the equally lovely 'Hold Your Stare' from 2003’s 'Son of Everyone EP' and neatly sets us up for…

4. 'Unimagined', which is creepy and damaged in the most astonishingly memorable way, with Lawson deconstructing scales and arpeggios while Calamateur layers on eerie synth beds and fractured guitar lines. The vocals are desolate, desperate and almost inaudible – a deafening whisper, as someone once described the music of Low.

5. 'Spring Snow Storm' - There are songs on 'Kid A' that wish they were this good at combining basic garage rock with extreme avant-garde experimentalism.

6. 'Endo' has been looking for a home for a while now, and now it’s found one.

7. 'Ripsukibuna' is a ‘60s TV spy show theme filtered through Future Sound of London in a slow-motion head-on collision with late period Ennio Morricone. Cool, but not cold.

8. Lie in Wait's oohs and throbs trip into one of the prettiest guitar lines you’ve heard in a long while the almost-hope-filled vocal runs us into…

9. '1993'. whose combined electronic and acoustic washes should soothe your battered spirit to sleep, ‘though not necessarily a peaceful one.

by Richard Vernon
Founder, Autoclave Records


As heard on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Scotland Introducing' podcast.


released October 1, 2007

Calamateur: Guitar, vocals, loops, electronica
Steve Lawson: Bass, loops, electronica

All songs written, arranged and produced by Andrew Howie and Steve Lawson.

Recorded at Autoclave Noiselab, Beauly and Pillow Mountain Studios, London.

Mixed by A.H. at Autoclave Noiselab except 4 & 5 mixed by A.H. & S.L. at Pillow Mountain Studios.

Mastered by Iain Hutchison at Glo-Worm Studios, Glasgow.

Sleeve design by Alister MacInnes.



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