Relatively unknown outside of his home country, Scott Mannion won the hearts of critics in New Zealand with his first release in 2003 - two albums released simultaneously named ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Butterfly’ as part of dormant duo ‘Tokey Tones’ with Li-Ming Hu.
Recorded at home by Scott in Auckland in a run-down flat nicknamed ‘The Ghetto’ (Lil’ Chief Records headquarters for the next decade) the Tokey Tones albums showcase Scott’s collection of weird and wonderful instruments - analog synthesizers, organs and celestes blended with real strings and a uniquely Pacific feel through the use of ukelele and nature and bird sounds from New Zealand.
After relocating to Wales - Scott found himself bogged down with a day job and the workload of running a steadily expanding indie label. This coupled with his self described “perfectionism to the point of a mental illness” had him working on his unfinished follow-up for well over a decade.
Eventually, Scott discovered and fell in love with a small medieval town called Chelva in the mountains outside of Valencia and took up an artists residency there with noise musicians Peter Bosch and Simone Simons. Sitting in a valley at the base of the majestic Pico del Remedio and surrounded by olive and almond groves here in Chelva Scott found himself the only native English speaker in a medieval town rich in the history of the Moors, Christians, the Spanish Civil War and, importantly - music. Despite his love of his new surroundings it was a turbulent time for Scott with the ending of a 9 year relationship, followed by a chance meeting with the woman who would become his future wife, both experiences which inspired many of the songs he would write and record over the coming years.
An older more weary brother to the Tokey Tones debut, Scott’s long-awaited follow up ‘Loving Echoes’ is delicate, fragmented and painstakingly arranged. It is bold and ambitious like anything from obvious hero Brian Wilson but at the same time understated (think Young Marble Giants) with the tenderness and fragility of a Sparklehorse record.
In trademark Lil’ Chief Records style the album features cameo’s by Scott’s New Zealand label-mates (Jonathan Bree on Bass, Lawrence Arabia and Princess Chelsea on Backing Vocals, Ryan Mcphun on drums) as well as some new spanish collaborators including a string section recorded in an old church in Chelva and Catalunyan musician Clara Viñals who duets with Scott on ‘Your Kinda Love’.
Scott’s weird and wonderful instrument collection eventually travelled across the sea and also made its way to the village of Chelva - a residency he never left.
The album is called Loving Echoes. That’s taken from a line in one of the songs ‘You Are The Substance That I Can’t Live Without’ (“still we speak those, loving echoes”) but originally it’s a Kurt Vonnegut reference from Slaughterhouse-Five: “And on and on it went - that duet between the dumb, praying lady and the big, hollow man who was so full of loving echoes”.