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MEL BIGGS - From Darkness Comes Light 

MEL BIGGS - From Darkness Comes Light 
Talking Cat Records TCCD2103 

Those of you who have heard the albums or the live performances of that excellent trio, Moirai, or seen her playing for morris, may be surprised initially at this album from Mel, for her melodeon playing here offers much more than the dance tunes from northern Europe and song accompaniments.

Her main collaborator on From Darkness Comes Light is her sister Kat, playing piano accordion, and together they offer interesting and at times quite inspired inventions which demonstrate the capabilities of their instruments. Showing that special understanding that blood relations seem to be able to accomplish together, they present soundscapes, sound impressions and composed tunes. The album starts with vibrato chords over a slow tune. Look at the title and find that it is A New Day Dawns, and the reaction is, “Of course!”. Other titles, Shivelight In Spring and Winter Weather Warning, demonstrate Mel’s ability to link visual stimulation to an auditory response. High Places is the only place where the human voice is heard alongside the instruments.

The inspiration of traditional music is never far away, though, and there is one pair of traditional tunes - a fresh approach to the pairing of Mounthills / Coleford Jig. The written waltz (or is it a bourrée?), Katy’s Theme, which ends the album is a total delight.

The album as a whole gives the impression that great attention has been given to detail. The recording, mixing and production are impeccable, so let’s hear it for Jon Loomes who had to work under difficult lockdown conditions. Praise is also needed for the photography and booklet design, but above all, credit to Mel for bringing her ambitious concepts to fruition.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 141 of The Living Tradition magazine