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KELTIK ELEKTRIK "Hotel Kaledonia" G2 Greentrax Recordings G2CD7008

This album, which could be subtitled 'Easy Club - the Ibiza Mix' is for the most part a blatant attempt to introduce a modern style of beat and backing to tunes that were not in desperate need of an upgrade. Hawkwind meets the Chieftains if you like. I'm not suggesting that the standard of musicianship is anything other than superb throughout, it's just that the addition of a disco beat or synthesized backing tend to obscure more than they attempt to contribute, and at times an element of overproduction has resulted in a dog's breakfast of effects - there's no place for a Spectorish wall of sound on delicate traditional tunes. There are some delightful aspects - especially Finlay MacDonald's piping contributions, and the persistent beat will ensure it's airplay within the niche dance circles, irrespective of the at times inappropriate instrumental mix. The CD cover features somebody seemingly sporting handcuffs, who I initially assumed to be the producer, but on closer inspection he doesn't look anything like Jack Evans.

For reasons that probably Jack Evans alone can explain, the album closes with an unexpected gem - a dusted off Tony Cuffe/Jock Tamson's Bairns track, which for me is easily the highlight of the CD (although its inclusion will probably only serve to mystify the album's target audience).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 52 of The Living Tradition magazine.