MACMASTER/HAY – Hook

Make no mistake this is a real thinking person’s album. It’s quite obvious from the opening track “Hook” that it feels in many ways like a musical equivalent of being hypnotised by Derren Brown or Paul McKenna. The ponderously mesmerising harp bass hook underpinned by gentle use of percussion and Mary’s vocal washes over you as if you were in some kind of techno ‘spa’. Whether or not it was a good idea to start in this way is a question of taste as it could leave the listener (me included) thinking there was something wrong with the recording as it sounds a bit like a repeated scratch on an old vinyl album but, having said that it’s an incredibly infectious piece of traditional Gaelic ‘mouth music’…for want of a better term. In the rather limited sleeve notes (a couple of lines) Mary states that she’s grateful for the translated words but to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t know what they meant as there are no accompanying details and surely this could have been rectified by including them on your own official website not myspace (!) for those of us that have no knowledge of the Gaelic language. However, something that can be gleaned from the sleeve notes is how a good landscape (“Chimes”) can be conducive to your artistic endeavours and by allowing the listener the opportunity of enjoying this experience you can provide a kind of inner peace not sullied by over indulgent instrumentation. As my mum used to say this is a reflective and very personal recording and we should all be grateful that musicians the calibre of MacMaster/Hay are there to steer us via their own unique take on things to a loftier level of thinking.

PETE FYFE

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