Slow Summits is the culmination of all the music they’ve been engaged in since their 1997 set, Illumination. Not quite as shadowy a presence as sometimes suggested, their music has continued to grow by way of other activities; a well-regarded film soundtrack (The Last Great Wilderness, Geographic, 2003), some theatre pieces (for 12 Stars) and a collaboration with Japan’s Tenniscoats (Two Sunsets, Geographic, 2009). Slow Summits gathers on all these works but moves off in newer and older ways too with its flowing montage of autumn instrumentals, pop songs, slow motion build ups and suddenly optimistic melody lines.
Recorded in Glasgow by John McEntire and Bal Cooke, and mixed in Chicago by McEntire, Slow Summits features the core Pastels lineup of Stephen McRobbie, Katrina Mitchell, Tom Crossley, Gerard Love, Alison Mitchell and John Hogarty. Guests include original member Annabel Wright (Aggi) and Norman Blake. Two-thirds of To Rococo Rot (Stefan Schneider and Ronald Lippok) contribute and Tenniscoats too. Kicking Leaves features a memorable string arrangement from Craig Armstrong, the Glasgow-based composer. It features a two drum sets approach to music, a love of elongated jams and the turnaround.