scatter The Mountain Announces (CD, £10.50)label: Blank Tapes
Scatter's free-folk-jazz-drone is exactly the kind of between-the-lines thinking that Blank Tapes established as their modus operandi when they launched in May 2006. Always a large group, but with a fluid membership more akin to a collective, Scatter create music to spite those who classify sound into genres. There's a lot of brass instrumentation, though you wouldn't call it jazz; there's a proliferation of voices and acoustic instruments, though you wouldn't call it folk; but there are flourishes of stranger sounds too - electronics, vocal babbling, odd percussion - as well as ethnic/rock leanings. The follow-up to 2002's 'Surprising Sing Stupendous Love', ‘The Mountain Announces’ continues the big band approach which characterised their debut. Recorded and mixed in Aberdeenshire in November 2004 by Jim Version, it fuses the band's original compositions and improvisations with traditional Scottish and Irish folk. Effortlessly reconciling freedom and composition, ‘The Mountain Announces’ comes on like a Scottish Fall and highlights the diversity of influences driving the band: Celtic and Gaelic folk song, Caribbean work-song, Rebetika and European folk styles, all explored through dedicated improvisation and tone-work, with complex instrumentals bellowing out into cloudy plumes of collective ecstasy. Plan B: "An instinctive, intelligent explosion of love for everything music is about... rather than sticking to some retrogressive spin cycle, ‘The Mountain Announces’ is both proudly timeless and wonderfully of its time.” NME: "‘The Mountain Announces’ might be ignored now, but it'll be dusted down four decades later and hailed as a lost classic. Bang the drum for it now. 8/10." The Wire: "Scatter's music has a joyous emotional heft that avoids dessicated cliches restraining so much improvisation and composition." Mojo: "Vivid folk eclecticism... a blend of British folk and eastern Mediterranean influences erupt in polyphonic ensemble improvisations that sound like Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra jamming with a rebetika troupe. 4/5." Uncut: 4/5 The Times: 4/5.
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