We need a better noun to describe the entity that is created when musicians from different acts work together. A collaboration often suggests something that has been thrown together on a whim, a side project automatically lowers expectations by coming across like an afterthought, and a supergroup will almost always involve large egos and Rock Family Trees. For example, Farewell, Bastard Mountain the debut - and perhaps only - album from Bastard Mountain, manages to combine several talents and yet create something distinct and cohesive from its individual elements. To call them a supergroup or a collaboration just doesn't seem right.

It is an intriguing record. I can't make up my mind whether it sounds like an album shelved years ago - like those now legendary folk artists who got sidelined for being too experimental - or if it is a bold step into the future, with its blurring of ambient textures, psych-folk and indie rock, creating something brand new. I wanted to know more, so I caught up with three of the people behind Bastard Mountain - Neil Pennycook (Meursault), Rob St John, and Jill O'Sullivan (Sparrow and the Workshop/ Bdy Prts). So how did Bastard Mountain come to be? It all seems centred around Matthew Young and his Song, By Toad label.

Neil explains, "I had done a record about five years ago called Cold Seeds which was collaboration with a couple of friends, King Creosote and Animal Magic Tricks, and Matthew and myself were thinking that we'd like to do another thing that was in a similar vein maybe with different people. We thought of Rob and Jill because they seemed like like-minded people really. We all knew that we liked each other's material and we would work well together. There wasn't much organisation needed, it just came together. The idea was that each person would bring in three songs - it was quite organic really, there wasn't much process to actually putting the band together.

Rob agrees,"It was very easy, it was something that Matthew and Neil put together, and then the three of us as songwriters plus three very talented, switched on players, Pete Harvey (also of Meursault) who plays the cello, and Rory Sutherland from Broken Records who plays violin and Ruben Taylor who plays bits and bobs of everything but mainly accordion, he used to play in James Yorkston's band and so in terms of the three of us - Jill, Neil and I - coming in with these songs that we had, it was an absolute pleasure to bring them to this group of people and have them become not only fleshed out but absolutely beautifully orchestrated, very very quickly."

Jill continues: "I've known Matthew since (my band) Sparrow and the Workshop was just beginning to play gigs. When he was a swearing blogger he asked us to do a session at his Toad house. Over time we became friends with his Toadliness and the bands on his label (in addition to putting out our third album, Murderopolis, on Song, by Toad). Sparrow had played some lovely gigs with Rob St. John and gone on tour with Meursault so they'd become friends too, it was like one big happy family. When Matthew said, 'do you want to do this project?' I didn't have to think hard. It was a lovely experience playing with friends whose songs I liked too."

So with those bonds already in place, was the recording process fairly straight forward?

"Well it was recorded in Matthew's old house," recalls Neil, "which he just recently moved out of. He had this amazing living room which could hold a five or six piece band in there and record them and we effectively just locked ourselves in there for a week and worked on the songs, using as many instruments as we thought necessary and just floated in and out of each other's material."

Rob has similarly good memories. "It was always a good place, that house, he's moved now, you didn't ever get that red light fever that you get in a traditional studio, the sort-of-terror that happens when the record button is pressed. It's a lot more informal, you can go in and out and have a beer, sit in the garden, have a bit of food, nip back in, do a bit more. We made my record ('Weald') there, and Meursault have done a couple of records there."

It's a shame that he has moved.

"In a way," says Neil."but he's kind of in Toad Hall 2.0 now though. We do actually have a designated recording space now as opposed to it being his living room which as nice as it was, it was his living room and Matthew and his wife Kate are the two most patient people in the world, any other couple would be like, "It's been a week now, get out of my house! you've had your time." They are so accommodating it's unreal."

This all seems very idyllic, but the album was finished in October 2012 and was only released in May 2014. What was the reason for the delay?

Rob explains,"I think last year was a busy year for Song, By Toad, he had a packed schedule and fitting Bastard Mountain into 2013 was difficult. The way that Matthew works is that he gives an awful lot of time and effort and emotion into every single release. I suppose that's one of the best things about working with him and he's certainly done it with this. I'm quite happy for it to be almost two years old if that's the result."

With the personnel assembled from acts on Song, By Toad and the label boss Matthew Young central to the whole project, Farewell Bastard Mountain reminds me of those This Mortal Coil releases from the eighties and nineties, where the cream of the 4AD label worked together to reversion old songs that they loved into something new. Some of Bastard Mountain's songs have seen the light of day before, although there is only one song written from outside the band - underground folkie Karen Dalton's 'Something on My Mind'. It was brought to the sessions by Rob, whom Neil suggests is the one who regularly tries to get people to listen to new sounds, whether it is kosmische music or "quite unusual sixties folk records - terrifying weird folk music about people losing their minds." 'Pissing on Bonfires', the sort-of title track from the first Meursault album, is transformed from its original electronic Neutral Milk Hotel stylings into something more atmospheric and subtle, and the songs from the Sparrow and the Workshop catalogue go through the same process. So how did they choose which songs to bring to Bastard Mountain?

"I thought I'd choose songs that I'd written in the early days of Sparrow as a sort of nod to Matthew's early support of our band, hence 'My Crime' and 'Swam Like Sharks', " says Jill. "I added in 'Old Habits' because I thought that it might fit in well with the sound and set-up of Bastard Mountain. All three of those songs are sad and slow and have room for folk to do what they want all over them but also, a lot of Sparrow stuff is loud and spiky so I wanted to be sensitive to the nature of the project. I wanted my contributions to complement and interweave with Neil and Rob's lovely songs."

Neil continues, "(the choice) was left to the person that had written the song, so it was a case of picking stuff from your existing catalogue that you think would suit being played by these people and sung by these people."

"But existing catalogue didn't mean that it had been released," explains Rob. "My two songs were pretty new but had been written for my own album plus the Karen Dalton cover was unreleased, and two of Neil's hadn't been released before."

So when you have made one of the gentlest, most atmospheric records of the year, why did you call yourselves Bastard Mountain? It appears this is all Rob's idea!

"The band didn't have a name for quite a long time," he explains, "but we played at Edinburgh Queen's Hall last month and I was quite ill and ended up getting drunk on hot toddies and I gave a very rambling five minute explanation so I'll try and keep this concise, but.... the band had a number of different incredibly daft names just after recording - Fork, Gammon Rider, that was a favourite for a wee while..."

Neil interrupts, "We got to the point where we couldn't pick a name and Matthew said right, you're called Gammon Rider, and he had (the album) saved in his itunes as Gammon Rider for about a year."

Rob laughs, "As anyone who has been on tours with me knows, I have vivid dreams quite a lot of the time, and we were away with Meursault I found that Sam the drummer had a similar thing, and we would quite often chatter to each other in the middle of the night, which is one of Neil's favourite things! About four years ago I had been up to Glencoe in the Highlands by myself, doing some wild camping and walking, and I was in this tiny little tent and there was a really crappy night, stormy and cold. I ended up packing up at dawn and walking back in and I went home to Oxford where I lived at the time with my girlfriend. I woke in the middle of the night a few nights later just forcefully saying "bastard, bastard" and she said what's wrong, and I said "oh, bastard mountain!" and she said, "ah ok, farewell bastard mountain," and I went back to sleep. I was obviously dreaming about mountains being a bit of a bastard but I was reading a book last year by Ian Svevonious from the Make-Up called 'Supernatural Strategies for Rock n Roll' and one of the things he says is that your band name has to be something that you do not flinch when you tell people about it. You've got no qualms and ideally that it should come from your subconscious. it should come from a dream if at all possible so I thought right, that's the band name."

I imagine that logistically it would be difficult for Bastard Mountain to tour much, so what does the future hold for your own projects? Since this interview was done, Neil has announced that the next Meursault gig - in Edinburgh in August - will be the last under that name.

Neil: "I'm busy making a record at the moment, I'm playing a lot of solo shows and just building up new material. I've found that I find those as quite different things one of them is me on my own and the other is more of a band effort and I see Meursault now as a band. Although it started out as a solo project it's been probably about six years or so since I was playing solo shows as Meursault and it just feels like a different thing, so making a record on my own probably won't be as Meursault, maybe under my own name or something else."

In your head what makes the difference between a Neil release or a Meursault release?

"I just feel that Meursault is a band because I've been working with consistently the same people for long enough and I've building a band sound with those people that it just feels different now. I decided quite a while ago that if I was playing solo I didn't really want to be seen as Meursault, I didn't really want people to be referring to me as Meursault if you know what I mean, it's not like a King Creosote/ Withered Hand type name, it's definitely not a pseudonym."

Interestingly Jill has a similar situation. "After a pretty intense 5 years of touring and putting out three albums that we're immensely happy with, Sparrow all needed a bit of a breather," she says. "We've all been keeping busy though. Apart from, you know, other jobs to help pay the rent, Gregor and his partner had a gorgeous wee boy so they moved up north and are living the country life at the moment, rearing pigs and chickens and he's playing in a unique project called The New Distillery Ceilidh Band. Nick's working on an audio equipment project called Gold Tooth Audio and a experimental music project called Part-Time Waitress and I've been working with my sistah from another mistah Jenny Reeve on Bdy Prts. I've also been playing music with Sean Cumming as Do the Gods Speak Esperanto. Sparrow might pop up again, we're just all focused on other stuff at the moment."

Rob, as a solo artist, says "I've written a new record that will be my second record, that I'm pretty happy with, it's just a case of actually recording it and putting it out there. Amongst a million other things to do it just hasn't got done yet, but it will. I've been doing a lot of different projects, collaborations and so on, it's just balancing things, there's not enough hours in the day sometimes. I work as a freelance writer and I write mainly about the environment, or about art and music and some blurring of those in between as well."

The Bastard Mountain album has been created by musicians who know and respect each other working together, without any industry pressure. Scotland over the years has seemed to nurture such things, why do you think that is?

Neil says,"I'd like to think that happens everywhere, the thing with collaborative projects, because of the nature of them they can be quite hard to promote, I think it's the kind that does happen more than you think."

"I think it's a visibility thing," says Rob. "I think in Scotland, because there are only five million people or whatever, I think there's a disproportionally creative and high profile music scene, I guess because there is Scottish press like the List, the Skinny, the Scotsman and the Herald that are championing local things all the time, and I think it's a really good thing in a lot of ways, new projects regularly get attention. I lived in Oxford for three or four years and it just felt like the competition and the clamour for a "new band" to actually make themselves heard was a hell of a lot more competitive and tricky. One of the wonderful things about Scotland is that there's not only that supportive media and support network but there's also a regular emphasis on doing things slowly and with care, all the bands and artist that we regard as our peers, don't rush stuff, there's not that same circle of hype that there may be elsewhere."