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Album Review

Fiddler O'Rourke, who also plays as part of Lau and Blazin' Fiddles, was commissioned to write these pieces in 2004, and the result crosses a few boundaries, drawing on the Scottish, Danish, and Irish traditions, while still managing to sound lovingly modern (listen to the way the tune takes a turn into jazz on "Bah Hamburg," for instance, or the cool sax that introduces "People's Park"). O'Rourke's compositions shift moods well, bringing in a full horn section on "Lochaber Drive" or keeping the airy stillness of a forest in "The Santa Cruz Redwoods." With such a large ensemble — 13, including four fiddlers — it's not always easy to judge who's playing, but the quality of the music is always high, whether going for it on "Falun Fine (Outbound)" or exploring the lacy delicacy of "Mangersta Beach." Yet at its heart this remains undeniably a folk record — and an excellent, inquisitive one, at that — played by like-minded, sympathetic, exploratory souls. The strands all come together for "Falun Fine (Return)," which encompasses folk, jazz, and drum'n'bass into a single, seamless whole with some brief but magnificent solos from several players.

Sirius, Aidan O'Rourke
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