A short way into 2012, I came across a link to the first solo recordings by Paul Buchanan, former vocalist with The Blue Nile.

Now, the Blue Nile are already top dogs with me as their sublime 1989 album Hats is one of my favourite records of all time. So I was fairly intrigued to see what Buchanan was up to.

The track I heard was the title song from the album Mid Air.  It stopped me in my tracks, put a lump in my throat, made me stare into space, I may have twitched a little.  I couldn’t quite believe the beauty of it.

In a time where so much music is so loud and trite and sexualised and simply in-your-face, this simple two-minute songlet, no more than voice and piano sounded more powerful than anything I had heard in years.  In fact, it felt like I was listening to some old music through a kind of time-warp.  It was quite an emotional moment.  I had to listen to the song about five more times just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke but sure enough, spine tingles each time.


I ordered the album on vinyl and was amazed to find that the whole album was as good.  Short, beautiful songs, just piano and voice with the occasional stringed instrument.  You can hear bits of ambient noise and people shuffling about in the background in the gaps.  The cheer fact that the music has gaps and not every second filled is just unlike anything else at the moment.

The 14 tracks last only 36 minutes so I highly recommend you give half an hour of your time to stop what you’re doing, sit and actually listen to this album.

Paul Buchanan Mid Air Cover


By Ben Haynes