Iain Campbell - 'Winter' and 'I'm Still Here'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Iain Campbell, an independent instrumental composer hailing from Glasgow. His two new singles, ‘Winter’ and ‘I’m Still Here’ are excursions through his style of classical composition, with both tracks written, performed, and produced entirely by Campbell. Both available on Bandcamp now, are they singles worth picking up? Let’s delve into them and find out!

First and foremost, it’s worth noting that classically inspired music doesn’t come across my desk nearly as much as I would like it to. There’s a hole in the indie music scene that desperately needs to be filled in that niche, and a composer like Campbell might be the person to do it. ‘Winter’ is one of the most superb instrumental pieces I’ve dug into in months. It’s doused in emotional intensity and instrumental prowess, elegantly accented by moody, but very sparse synthesizers and sound samples.

As a primarily piano-based piece, ‘Winter’ is performed in an especially articulate way. There isn’t a note that feels awry. Every piece of the sonic puzzle feels intentional and meticulously planned, but at the same time avoids sounding derivative or sterile. ‘Winter’ reminds me of Brian Eno’s famed ‘Music for Airports.’ It’s the kind of song you could turn on in the background of your day and never tire of. To that end, the second single Campbell released, ‘I’m Still Here,’ is very much in that vein as well.

‘I’m Still Here’ is similar in structure to ‘Winter.’ It’s a piano piece that’s accented by light orchestration. The atmospheric and reverb-laden synthesizers and string sections are in much more abundance on ‘I’m Still Here,’ however, offering a dynamic soundscape that’s a stark contrast from the other single. The slow building of the synthesized string sections can send a chill down one’s spine… it’s masterfully crafted and hauntingly beautiful.

It’s not often I get to dig into music here on the Independent Spotlight and leave with very little critiques, but rather, a sense of fullness. Iain Campbell’s music is the perfect soundtrack for your soul. Turn it on whenever and it’ll soothe and inspire. I hope he continues down this path and experiments along the way, too. He’s a very talented performer and composer who could do some compelling work. Keep tabs on him below and pick up the music on Bandcamp.