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Album Review

The 1990s provided a needed shot in the arm for progressive rock. It seems a disproportionate dose of that medicine came from Scotland, as artists like Shooglenifty, Tartan Amoebas, and Paul Mounsey surfaced with their innovative renderings on how traditional music can go hand in hand with modern styles. Supporting that trend is this recording by Hudson Swan and Steve Lawrence. Swan is the former fiddler for Tannahill Weavers, and Lawrence is the ex-Iron Horse guitarist who's become heavily involved in producing Scottish artists since his exit from the group. On Amalgamation, the two play most of the instruments, ranging from bouzouki's and pipes to mandolins, banjo, and dulcimer, all fused with modern keyboard and programming effects. At times they dabble in minimalist soundscapes while never losing grasp of melody, but this album is most demonstrably defined by the manner in which Swan and Lawrence integrate folk elements (both through traditional pieces and original music influenced by tradition) with modern sequencer and rhythm programming techniques. They are also joined by guest musicians who contribute electric bagpipes, trombone, recorders, and flute, and help to accent each respective selection with a unique touch.

Amalgamation, Hudson Swan
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