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Hudson Records HUD009CD 

English music is going through a bit of a transition at the moment. For a long time it was all about old tunes, and then it became overlaid with modern rhythms, but now there are a number of bands who are playing unmistakably English music which is neither of these things. Leveret, various ensembles featuring Will Pound, and the duo Dipper Malkin are good examples; Moore Moss Rutter is another. The first two albums from this trio passed me by, and I first encountered them at Warwick Folk Festival this summer, where amidst a multitude of English performers they stood out as supremely talented, polished and original.

Only three of the ten tracks here feature traditional melodies; the rest were all composed by the band, individually or in combination. Archie Churchill-Moss takes most of the composing credits, and his beautiful slow air, Dougal, is one of my favourites here: delicate dry-tuned melodeon, deft bass notes, smooth fiddle from Tom Moore, and Jack Rutter's lightly picked guitar arpeggios. Moore himself is no slouch as a tunesmith, and his Archer Street polka is the piece which sticks in my head whenever I listen to III. The combination of Rutter's Northern grit, Moore's relaxed East Anglian roots and Moss' urbane creativity is powerful indeed. The Iron Bell eases us gently into this album, before Hilly Fields and Blakeney Point increase the tension with low notes on the viola and frankly funky rhythms. Intrepid and Espresso create a driving, whirling cloud of sound, edging towards old French music with hints of hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe drones. The power of these new compositions is such that melodies from Purcell and Playford are almost eclipsed. Rowler's Jig by Rutter and another Moss tune dedicated to the Moore family home, The Beeches, end this very enjoyable album - contemporary English instrumental music at its best. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.