Hailing from Scotland but now residing in England – North Yorkshire to be exact – Andrew Stewart is a talented singer-songwriter with his finger in a few collaborative pies. Performing under the pseudonym 1.0.8., the Glasgow native fuses elements of folk, alternative rock and post-punk breeding a new brand of…well, there isn’t any name for it. Using his experience in international music and visual creative projects, Stewart adopts a cinematic approach with his music. His debut release as 1.0.8. is the EP Nine Times Twelve.
Following on from Stewart’s previous projects, Nine Times Twelve uses observations of contemporary society to form a profound soundtrack to 2020. Collaborating with renowned musicians, such as Dave Dunn Birch and Joe Roughton, and incorporating elements of different genres, Stewart shares a musical narrative with smooth transitions from one style to another in the five-track EP.
While each track contributes to the album as a cohesive story, the songs can also be considered independent singles with an identity of its own. In ‘Sawdust & Hay’ Stewart incorporates spoken word beneath his bold vocals to illustrate the subtly provocative and intriguing content. However, ‘Sirens’ holds a darker Leonard Cohen subtext to a guitar-driven folk-rock sound – and these tracks are placed one after the other.
One of the most profound songs on Nine Times Twelve is the protest song ‘Rooks and Crows’. Showcasing versatility and flexibility as an artist, ‘Rooks and Crows’ employs different genres and instruments to create a vivid, aggressive response to the plight of people attempting to reach a place of freedom and safety – most times without too much success.
As I listen to Nine Times Twelve for the tenth or eleventh time, I notice a common thread fusing each track on the EP – Andrew Stewart’s vocals. From the post-punk ‘Mask’ to the upbeat Americana ‘Magical Dave’, Stewart’s vocals are prominent and powerful with a comforting warmth regardless of the content. Aristotle once said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts and Nine Times Twelve is the evidence.