Top positive review
A masterpiece? Perhaps.
on 7 December 2013
Here's another example of why Scott is one of the most interesting of contemporary musicians. This came out in 2011 and is a collection of songs with lyrics taken from poems by William Butler Yeats the famous Irish poet and playwright. To do something like this and do it artistically successfully is not easy. At the very least the singer has to sing with absolute clarity so that every word is heard by the listener, and not only that but it has to convey the rhythm of the poem as created by its author. The music then has to mirror the poem's tone and tempo. Lastly it has to appear seamlessly as an organic unit as if it was always a whole piece, not just a poem set to music.
Amazingly, Scott has done just this. I won't pretend it's an immediately accessible album, it isn't. Like, say Joni Mitchell's masterpiece Hejira, it takes several listenings to reveal its secrets. But it's worth it. The first track The Hosting of the Shee opens softly but rapidly changes into a barrage of multi-instrumental sound as Scott almost yells out the Wild Ride of faery warriors. The lovely and all too brief Sweet Dancer, with singer Katie Kim, could almost be a modern song. That said, Scott has not always lifted the poems intact. Although all the words are by Yeats, sometimes they can be pieced together from up to three sources, often to add a chorus. When you read his autobiography, which ends a decade before this was recorded, you realise that this is something he's been building up to for years.
Well done, Mr Scott. Now where's the new album?