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COUNTER'S CREEK - The Careful Placement Of Stones 

COUNTER'S CREEK - The Careful Placement Of Stones 
Private Label CREEK001 

Another postman on the path; another ambitiously eclectic album from a group not yet widely known. The bar is set pretty high for this sort of thing, bringing a folk template into contact with all manner of alternative rhythms… think a less developed Spiro.

The exploration of left-field begins with the titles of both the album and the band. Counter's Creek is one of London's lost rivers which used to flow from Kensal Green into the Thames. It is not a bad metaphor for the route the band has chosen; essentially underground but occasionally bubbling to the surface. The name they have chosen for their debut album is also loaded with allusion and the marriage of disparate styles. The jury is still out on how well it works, but it certainly lacks nothing in scope.

Founding member and whistle player Jonathan Taylor is best known as a jazz pianist. He also doubles up as the group's main composer, although fiddler Tom Newell also contributes in that department. Between them, however, the band draws on everything from samba to ceilidh, and from Eastern Europe to West Africa. Perhaps the phrase that sums up what they are about is the title for the second track - Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost. The process of making music often feels exploratory and slightly random. Not surprisingly, that philosophy spreads across into quirkiness. Take, for example, Fidel's Farewell, written on the day of the Cuban leader's death. Or most of all, take the little German digression of the last track, An Den Kleinen Radioapparat, which seems to have little connection with anything that goes before.

Dave Hadfield