Sitting here in my flat with the gradually diminishing lights of the neighbourhood dancing like a demented ‘Tinkerbell’ from Peter Pan at 02:26am can’t do much for my health…or so my doctor keeps telling me. Still, here I am and at least I’ve got the sounds of James Ross for company. Perhaps in another world I’d be somewhere like the Shetlands for if this album can’t provide that inner sense of tranquillity I don’t know what else can. Opening with the starkly brooding beauty of “Beyond The Strath” the single piano note introduction sets the tone of what is to unfold and by glancing at the accompanying sleeve photographs courtesy of Catriona Murray you get a real sense of time of space. Lounging around in a comfy arm chair with my headphones on (so as not to disturb “she who must be obeyed”) and my feet up I’m quite happy being transported to the majestic battle scarred hills and water lapped lochs created by Ross’s imaginative soundscape. In sculpting this audio image he is aided and abetted by various wind and string instruments whose textures emphasise the ever evolving time signatures in a showcase of creative thinking extending the links of jazz sensitivities with a nod to traditional themes. Evoking memories of Michael O’Suilleabhain yet miles away from the days of Russ Conway’s “Sidesaddle” in his own way James ‘entertains’ albeit on a slightly more highbrow note.
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