Album Review | Rumford Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5
Cutting her musical teeth in the late Jim Johnstone’s acclaimed band and other notable dance bands, whilst also working in collaboration with dozens of diverse musicians, Marie Fielding’s self-taught musical prowess shines through the ten compositions on this, the fiddle player’s latest project. With three and a half decades of experience, Marie’s versatility as a musician, composer and teacher dominates her music and the Spectrum Project provides a glimpse into her world, a world further enhanced by her credibility in the visual arts, having also created the cover painting.
Sandwiched between an introductory piece and its companion outro, the other eight mostly self-composed pieces feel like a showcase of Scottish and Irish traditional music, which demonstrates Marie’s credentials as a fine and expressive interpreter of the tradition, whilst bringing to the table something new and vibrant. With a focus on ‘the moment’, the compositions were created in the studio rather than having been rehearsed beforehand, which gives the project a sense of immediacy and flow, allowing her fellow musicians, Tom Orr, Luc D McNally and Donogh Hennessy, the space to express themselves. Standout pieces include the strident “Aran Islands” and the comparatively graceful “Gracie’s Lullaby”, whilst “Muriel’s Oatcakes” has all the ingredients of a firm festival favourite.
Choice Track: Aran Islands (NSV 504)