A SMALL recording studio in Dunfermline has played a part in reimagining what Pictish music may have sounded like.

Garry Stanton, a Fife musician, used Gracenote Studios on Queen Anne Street to record his new album, The Killing Chill, which uses historical instruments and modern technology to put a 21st century twist on techniques used by the ancient peoples who lived in the north and east of Scotland.

The release focuses on birth, life, death, and the idea that the Picts could still live on in today's Scots, and was inspired by his daughter's expertise in the field.

Garry, 58, told the Press: "I thought what can I come up with which would be a little bit different?

"I've been writing and recording stuff for quite a few years off and on, it's been ballads, a bit of rock, a bit of pop.

"Nobody really knows what Pictish music sounded like, we know what Celtic stuff is from the modern folk scene but my stuff is nothing like that."

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And the process of creating the album has been unorthodox in itself - Garry wrote many of the songs after thinking of a title first, and didn't had a set plan for how he wanted them to sound or what he wanted them to portray.

He explained: "If there's a concept theme at all, I never started out deliberately wanting to do that, but it ended up being birth, death, existential stuff which every civilisation has thought about.

"There's a song called 'Elemental' which is metaphorical for planting seeds in the ground and if that works we can live for another year.

"If you think about it, back then those folks would have had a life with quite a bit of hardship, if your crop failed there's a reasonable chance you would die.

"There's 'The Army of Ghosts' which is the thought that people back then still live on in us, in modern Scottish people."

Garry has been working on the tracks since May 2021, writing and recording much of it himself, with some help from Dom Hardy, the owner of Gracenote, backing vocalists, and musicians able to play traditional instruments.

He said: "You want people to be good at their job, but there's also a dynamic, if you get on with someone it makes it 90 per cent easier.

"I have acoustic instruments and have synths as well, I wanted to have this marriage of the old and the new.

"I managed to get in touch with this guy, John Kenny, who plays the Carnyx which is a fascinating thing - it's a long ceremonial horn with a boars head on the top which were used in ceremony and in conflict. "There's very few practitioners in the whole world."

While he did research - he took advice from his daughter and from a lecturer at the University of St Andrews - to ensure his music was as accurate as it could be, Garry admits that it's "kind of made up", as there is so little known about the Picts.

He will be releasing the album under the pseudonym Calgatus, the name of a Pictish warrior who, according to legend, led an army into battle with the Romans.

Garry said: "I've almost invented a genre, that's not for me to say but I'll see what people think. "There's a song called 'The Horned One' which is about people back then praying to gods in the woods to try and make the crop grow, I got help with names I would use.

"I didn't want to get things wrong or for people to say it was inaccurate.

"The problem is with the Picts they never wrote anything down as a document, all we have are these standing stones with carvings.

"It's like a blank slate in terms of if you're going to do something creative, you can just do it.

The Killing Chill will be launched both online and in person at a gig in Kirkcaldy on March 26.