Born 1989 as the son of two classical musicians, Christopher Duncan was drawn so persuasively to indie and alternative music and playing in school bands as a teen that he added guitar, bass guitar and drums to his existing repertoire of viola and piano, studying all five instruments at the same time, and enrolling in Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) to study music composition, where his pieces were performed by various ensembles across the UK.
Watch C Duncan perform 'Here To There' and 'Say' at Dot to Dot 2015.
This classical influence can be clearly heard in his modern delivery. Lush choral harmonies, acoustic instrumentation, chamberpop, lo-fi folk, barbershop and more all blend together to create a sound reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian, East India Youth and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. He references The Knife and Arvo Pärt as willingly as Burt Bacharach and The Carpenters. Add to that shades of Talk Talk, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, The Ink Spots and the classical and choral compositions of Maurice Ravel and Gabriel Fauré, and a picture of the record collection that informs Christopher’s music starts to become clear.
His debut album, Architect is due for release 17th July on Fat Cat Records, and showcases a huge breadth in Christopher’s songwriting abilities. Christopher wrote and recorded the album alone in his Glasgow flat on a bedroom studio setup, gradually adding each layer and each instrument one at a time, building up the breadth of the pieces. Though time-consuming, the process allowed for Christopher to lovingly assemble the intricacies and subtleties for this astonishingly intricate and subtle collection of music. Lead singles ‘Say’ and ‘For’ are characterised by their gentleness and warmth, while ‘Garden’ (released as a single with the album) is bright, sunny, irrepressible. On the other side, ‘By’ and ‘Novices’ draw more overtly from Christopher’s interest in electronic music and modern composition.
The cover art for Architect, a detailed and stylised aerial view of a Glasgow side street, was created by Christopher himself. A skilled and accomplished artist, his work has been exhibited at galleries around Scotland.