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Indian Arm

 

As a string player myself, I immediately recognised the quality of Simon's work when I first stumbled upon it a couple of years back, and I'm glad to say that this latest release amply delivers on that initial promise. The music has that rare quality of allowing you to effortlessly skate over its surface if you wish, while also rewarding repeated, concentrated listening with the most direct attention.

Album opener 'Copper' is an undoubted highlight of the EP - the dancing lilt, gently playful yet increasingly yearning as the texture grows, culminating in the pure skin-rush of its coda. The way the tonal palette expands for 'Oar' and 'Pearl' is also very convincing, introducing an element of electronic restlessness with a characteristically light touch that never upstages the fluidly interlinking lead lines.

 

The fastidiously crafted arrangements are kaleidoscopic in their tonal range, and exquisitely executed from a technical standpoint, yet what shines through most of all are Simon's mature musicality and emotional warmth. The richness and variety of the viola's tone have been captured here with a smoothness and beauty seldom encountered on self-produced releases: close, intimate, and with the deep grain of ancient driftwood.

 

If you're an audio engineer like me, this is the kind of album that demands lossless audio as a matter of conscience. But whether you're an audio engineer or not, this is music that should live with you long beyond the first listen.

 

Mike Senior Reviews Editor, Sound On Sound Magazine, UK