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LAU - Arc Light

Arc Light
Navigator 20

From natural glowing light, ‘lau’ to luminously bright Arc Light, seems an appropriate way to chart the course of super trio Lau’s ascendant brightness today. This, with their Live recording, is the third feast of stirring, complex and innovative compositions offering food for heart and head. Again, doubtless with profound and intense rehearsal of meticulously worked arrangements, the three inspired alchemists have refined, alloyed and shaped material to create their own unique eclectic music. With compositional roots in traditional music they venture out, genre defiant, into a hybrid landscape of jazz and modern composed and improvisational music, but never jarringly.

At times, there’s the frantic but ever so controlled scariness of a rally car ride (and they do, surprisingly, play live seated!) Then there’s delicate and sensuous. Their playing is fiery then fragile, mellifluous then manic, delicate then demonic! What they achieve with guitar, accordion and fiddle is astounding in terms of layering and dynamic, tonal moods, pace, texture and tempo. Open ears, widely versatile experience and virtuoso skill combine to brilliant effect with an intuitive empathy evident in their live performances too. Anyone failing to be intoxicated by the opening of first track The Burrian – which cleverly has serendipitous echoes elsewhere in other tracks - needs therapy! The intricate interplay between Aidan O’Rourke’s sumptuous, soaring, and searing fiddle and Martin Green’s accordion, with Kris Drever’s rhythmic backdrop is compelling. That’s just the first course! Light, bright….where do these musical metallurgists go now?

Kevin T Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.