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COSGRAVE & BANKS - Warp & Weft

COSGRAVE & BANKS - Warp & Weft
Private Label CABCD01

Mike Cosgrave and Steve Banks, in this exemplary new CD, certainly live up to the title - this is music that is woven together into a very fine musical cloth indeed. Almost entirely instrumental throughout, despite the diverse nature of the source material, the sound is as sharp and clear as a mountain rill cemented by a common theme of musicality that links the tunes together irrespective of their country of origin. The duo has the rare talent of presenting these compositions drawn from around the globe (from Russia to Canada and America with a contribution from Europe joyfully squeezed in between) in such a way that there is a solidarity and unity throughout the work. This, of course, is due to the expertise and creativity of Mike and Steve, who have a superlative empathy with their chosen instruments and the carefully chosen music itself.

There is so much to recommend on this CD it is difficult to know where to start. I particularly liked the second part of the opening track, Moscow, which has a truly memorable tune. The Canadian set of tunes by Oliver Schroer are also a joy to listen to, especially the sound of Steve’s haunting violin. In fact, it is the clarity and vibrant sense of touch that Steve brings to the work throughout the CD that makes Warp & Weft stand head and shoulders above many other contemporary works. As I mentioned before, this is mainly an instrumental CD, however there are a few song tracks included. Unfortunately the vocal quality does not quite match up to the overall extraordinary instrumental quality of the various compositions included in the collection. However, in mitigation, The Maples Lament has been beautifully crafted by Laurie Lewis. Whilst it could be argued that the song, written from the point of view of a violin that was once a Maple tree, is a little clichéd, the actual lyric is emotive and evocative.

This is a truly captivating CD that touches the very depth of being as only music can.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.