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Gigspanner - Layer of Ages (Self Release)

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Often, when a reviewer is faced with a seemingly bottomless pile of CDs, there's a tendency to think that amongst that pile an extraordinary gem will eventually surface. Gigspanner's much anticipated second album, the follow up to 2009's LIPREADING THE POET, is such an album. Rich in both texture and atmosphere, the nine mostly traditional songs and tunes are treated to some bold re-imagining here, which not only showcases Peter Knight's expressive fiddle playing, Vincent Salzfaas's inventive percussion and Roger Flack's highly individual guitar playing, but also the trio's aptitude for imaginative arrangement. The trio's arrangement of the epic She Moved Through the Fair, not only examines the old traditional melody but effectively explores the very nature of Irish music through eight and a half minutes of haunting exploration. The same could be said of the album's closer Hard Times of Old England, but in an English context. For a change, the familiar song is treated to a more brooding atmosphere, rather than the jolly hockey sticks treatment the song usually receives. The live version of Louisiana Flack, the only original composition on the album, features what is predominantly a visual treat, with Roger Flack 'duetting' with Peter Knight on the same fiddle by use of 'fiddlesticks'. With the music enhanced further by Elly Lucas's evocative artwork, LAYERS OF AGES is one of those albums that makes this particular job enjoyable.    

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky

Airplay: Bows of London (Show 378/31.05.15)
Release Date: 11.05.15
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