Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label SMC001

Slow Moving Clouds is a Dublin-based trio drawing inspiration from both Irish and Nordic music traditions (not a combination you come across very often), and this is reflected in the personnel. Danny Diamond is an Irish fiddle player with an open-minded approach to the tradition, and Kevin Murphy is a pioneering Irish cellist and bass player with a background in experimental acoustic music, while Aki is a Finnish nyckelharpa player (he also contributes characteristic vocals to the mix on a handful of tracks including his own original lyric Suru Suuri). This instrumental blend is rich and dark-toned, intense and atmospheric, and when performing the more stately-paced material, the group name is certainly heard to be appropriate, imbuing the music with a drifting panoramic quality.

All but two of the disc’s 11 items are described as “traditional, arranged by Slow Moving Clouds”, but that should be taken in the sense of deconstructing and reworking traditional melodies, which doesn’t necessarily imply a particularly traditional sound, rather that instead their air of experimental-soundscape is potent, almost minimalist in its sparsely-contoured lushness (which, I admit, may well sound like a contradiction in terms). The episodic Hatchet Field and the drone-based Anonn’s Anall are arguably more cinematic, and the sinuous winding melody of Hiljainen Suru captivates on all counts. In contrast, the motoric rhythms and animated spirit of other tracks such as Devil’s Polska, Rinda-Nickola and Kahman Anti inhabit much of the raw-edged vitality of the angular dance tunes of the Nordic tradition. Perhaps the most curious item on the disc is its opener, which takes the Handel aria from Judas Maccabeus as a loose basis for extemporisation. But in all, the mildly exotic blending of instrumental timbres is persuasive and quite grows on the listener during the course of the disc.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.