ANYONE who has encountered composer Andrew Wasylyk will tell you that he’s a thoughtful character. Quietly spoken, unfailingly polite and a man who clearly considers what he releases to the world quite deeply.

Those who know him better know that he also has the dry, surreal and slightly twinkly sense of humour that is found in his home city of Dundee.

They will also tell you that he is one of the hardest-working musicians in the country combining his own releases with collaborations across music, literature and visual art.

That’s been a thread of his creative life for more than a decade. As one-quarter of The Hazey Janes, along with Alice Marra, Matthew Marra and Liam Brennan, he collaborated with the late Michael Marra and since then either alone or with others he has worked with the likes of Liz Lochhead as well as playing with Idlewild.

“It’s good for creativity,” he says. “There’s rarely a time when I haven’t learned something from working with other people. Working with Thomas has been a real education.”

Thomas is the photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper. Last year, Wasylyk was approached by the National Galleries of Scotland to compose music in response to Cooper’s exhibition The World’s Edge.

The commission followed a series of albums of largely orchestra compositions that responded to place, his own place of Dundee and wherever he happened to be,

Following Soroky, his first solo work apart from The Hazey Janes, the first three were something of a triptych – Themes for Buildings and Spaces, The Paralian, and Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation. Then there was Balgay Hill: Morning in Magnolia, an early morning stroll through his local park with its hill that looks out over the city.

The World’s Edge was the starting point of a working relationship with Cooper that has become the album Hearing The Water Before Seeing The Falls.

“I didn’t know too much about Thomas before the commission but I quickly fell in love with his work. Often black and white and large scale, it was evocative and beautiful and quite melancholic. The more I lived with the images, they were quietly euphoric.

“Thomas went to the extremities on these journeys and some of the islands he visited were so remote that he had naming rights to them.”

Cooper and his wife Catherine took Wasylyk on a trip out to Inchcolm Island on the Firth of Forth to get to know one another. Observing the warmth and skill in Cooper’s storytelling, he was invited to narrate part of a track on the album called The Life of Time.

“A lot of places that Thomas documented are going to be underwater in less that 35 years. That can’t have anything but a significant impact.

“When I had finished the three pieces for the commission, I realised there was unfinished work. I delved back into it, and it inspired the whole album.”

Of course so many other things inform an album and apart from Cooper’s work, the themes explored include the search of a better understanding within, themes of longing, self-discovery and new parenthood.

Wasylyk and an eight-piece ensemble are currently on a UK tour performing the album and other work. It began at V&A Dundee and ends at the CCA in Glasgow tomorrow – some tickets have just been released.

The CCA show, as did the V&A Dundee show, will have visuals by collaborator Tommy Perman.

The live shows are, without being too hyperbolic, pretty breathtaking, with the ensemble travelling effortlessly through the pieces and helping to transport audiences. The shows have seen him nominated for Best Live Act at the 2021 Scottish Alternative Music Awards.

The albums, the live shows, the collaborations – the life of a modern musician working in Wasylyk’s field means a great deal of self-management, but as far as possible Wasylyk tries to write everyday.

“I try to write every day in some form – it’s healthy to get into that routine. Of course, life can get in the way of that. Professionally – with looking at different aspects of the tour – and personally.

“Covering new parenthood on the album is definitely a personal thing as the father of a baby daughter.

“When we talk about opening the door to new possibilities, everyday has infinite possibilities as a parent. All the emotions and every hour of the day.

“In one way it makes everything infinite, but in another way it reduces everything to the most simplistic.”

Here Wasylyk sounds almost bewildered, still almost in awe of having his own family.

That does come with its responsibilities, particularly in a climate where streaming makes it’s difficult for the majority of musicians to make a living.

“That idea of rich has never held any interest for me. As long as my family are OK and I can carry on doing making the music I want to make I’ll be happy.”

Part of the praise given to Hazey Janes’ albums and his first solo outing Soroky related to Wasylyk’s singing voice. Would he consider a more “conventional” album again?

“I’m open to any possibility. Whether the opportunity comes externally or it’s something I want to explore myself – I’d be naïve to say that I would rule it out. For the meantime, I’m happy exploring the composition and ensemble work.”

Wasylyk has become an important figure on the Scottish music scene and has been delighted to see albums of his appearing on SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) lists.

“That list is always a snapshot of the range of beautiful and diverse music being created on Scotland. I’m happy to be working at a time when I can be among it.”

Hearing The Water Before Seeing The Falls is out now on Clay Pipe Music. Extra tickets have been released for the live show at Glasgow CCA on Friday, December 16.