Sue Aston Sacred Landscapes
CD GLCD1001 Genius Loci Music 1999
16 varied tracks of solo violin in various styles from whats loosley termed new age to traditional folk.
The CD got off to a shaky start with me, especially with track two (King Arthurs Kingdom) sounding like bits of the backing track are slightly out of tune with one another. Many of the best tracks are in the Hungarian folk / Gypsy violin style. On these, Sues spirited playing stands out superbly, tracks like Bound in Gossamer Threads, Beltane Fantasy and Legend of Roche Rock.
Gordon Giltrap guests on a couple of songs; Song of the Sun (Sunrise) and Earth Sorrow (Sancreed Holy Well), contributing to a lazy Dire Straits quality on some of the earlier tracks, which you may like but isnt really to my taste at all. Things go a bit pear shaped at the end also, to me Song of the Sun (sunset) has overtones of Camberwick Green.
In the middle, the synth washes can be a bit overpoweringly smooth. In think my favourite is Warleggan (The Singing), which whilst not having any singing on it, does have a Jean Michel Jarre-esque grumbly bass drone that made us look suspiciosly at our washing machine, and then gets funky with the tom-toms.
You cant fault Sues excellent violin, but their piano sounds rather on its last legs at times. Sacred Landscapes has had rave reviews in the EM / Pagan small press, making me feel a bit of a killjoy but there you are - you might like it more than me.
Review by Andy Burnham
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