Monday, 3 December 2012
CD Review: MALCOLM MACFARLANE - WINTER'S JOURNEY
Muzone Records 1001
Malcolm MacFarlane – all instruments, programming & samples; with special guest John Burgess (clarinet)
Recorded Winter 2011-12
Previous encounters with guitarist MacFarlane have come from hearing his work with the Scottish Guitar Quartet, but this first release on his own Muzone Records imprint is an altogether different animal.
This all new project finds MacFarlane in the sometimes solitary world of the solo recording, electing to play or sample (nearly) all of the instruments himself, creating an electronic soundscape of some ingenuity.
Eschewing all displays of instrumental virtuosity, the guitarist has created a musical journey that unfolds slowly and patiently over the albums duration. Attention to the most miniscule detail is the thing here, as the music takes the listener along in its wake, as new ideas are subtly introduced.
The technical skill and patience, and according to MacFarlane, the sheer endurance and time required in such a project is immediately apparent, but at the end of the day it is the music itself that must speak most clearly and ensures the success of the venture as a whole.
It is with this in mind that MacFarlane has succeeded in creating a wholly satisfying set that, despite some fairly long tracks, in excess of the 12 minute mark, is curiously absorbing. Each musical idea is examined in the cold ‘winter’s’ light and allowed to develop to a logical conclusion without over overstaying its welcome, gently moving on and incorporating new themes and ideas. At times seemingly static passages move into a rhythmic groove that tugs at the ear before calm and serenity once again prevail.
This is a beautiful and absorbing disc that, by the guitarists own admission, is not jazz but will appeal to a wide spectrum of listeners.
Check it out at www.malcolmacfarlane.com.
You can purchase the album form iTunes and Amazon.