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Shipwrecks & Static

Mike Harding | 16:07 UK time, Friday, 19 February 2010

I wouldn't think of trying to sum up / be glib about / make a crass joke about Inge Thomson's new CD. You know how it is sometimes when you put a CD on the player thinking it's going to be a certain kind of music and then you find that it isn't, but you keep on playing it because you sense that there is something very important going on in there?
Inge Thomson comes from Fair Isle in Shetland and is a great box player and singer soaked (nay drenched) in the tradition of the islands and further afield. I know her from her gigs guesting on other peoples' albums and from her work with Karine Polwart, Drop The Box and Harem Scarem. The last two bands, of course, were fairly left of the trad field and should have prepared me a little for what was to come.

Forget boundaries and envelopes, her new CD 'Shipwrecks & Static' pushes all the walls over and leaves Humpty Dumpty with nowhere to sit. Samples and loops run alongside Armenian choirs, mandolin and piano accordion.  

Do I like it? Very much.

I've listened to it several times through  and enjoyed it more each time. Folk?  I'm not sure. New Age? Definitely not. Ute Lemper meets ambient meets Fairground Attraction meets Malinky perhaps ­ but really I haven't a clue ­ I just like it ­ a lot.

If you get a chance listen to 'Girl With The Swan's Head', 'Scoundrel Clouds' and 'John' and give the music time. I'm listening again as I type this 6 a.m. in the Yorkshire Dales and I sense that I'm listening to something very truthful and very important and more than a little beautiful.

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