Album Review | Birnam | Review by Allan Wilkinson
In lieu of last May’s popular Knockengorroch Festival, artists gathered for an interactive live stream in an attempt to capture something of the atmosphere of what is usually experienced up there in the Carsphairn hills in south west Scotland. The organisers of the long running event, determined that the show must go on, have now released a double CD compilation featuring some of the music heard over the weekend. The two discs also feature tracks that were especially recorded after the virtual event as well as some pre-release items from artists who are included in this year’s line-up scheduled for May. The one thing we immediately sense when listening to these tracks is the musical diversity, from the ever vibrant Afro Celt Sound System, whose “Lockdown Gorroch Reel” is obviously written in honour of the festival, the contemporary electronica that underpins the “Good Karma” of Samson Sounds & Dandelion, to songs from the tradition, notably represented by Kaela Rowan’s gorgeous reading of “As I Roved Out”. The Poozies turn to their wonky Caledonian Reggae roots for a perfectly off-beat “Fresh Blood”, the promo video of which could easily be a sketch from The League of Gentlemen, while Twelfth Day’s Catriona Price and Esther Swift take to the dance floor with their colourful “Keep Me”. Eilidh Ross and Ross Martin go all Country with their lilting “Stoned Again” and the whole thing ends with what else but bagpipes, courtesy of Awry’s psychegaelic “An t-Orceastrian”, something we can all imagine going down a treat at this little festival. Hopefully it won’t be long before the festival is up and running again.