Aly Bain & Ale Möller (5 stars)


Beyond the Stacks (Whirlie Records)


Mention the words Aly Bain and duo in the same sentence, and the inevitable association that springs to mind is with Phil Cunningham. The fiddle maestro’s duo with Swedish mandola player Ale Möller is of more recent vintage, and is not yet as celebrated as his collaboration with Phil, but musically it is on a similarly high level, and is unmistakably the sound of two masters at work.

Bain’s playing on both fiddles and the less customary viola is simply brilliant, whether on up-tempo reels and jigs or achingly lovely slow airs. His highly expressive handling of the melodies combine with his impeccable phrasing, acute rhythmic sense and trademark nuances of bowing and accenting in peerless fashion. Möller is an ideal foil, and a considerable player in his own right. Their jointly-arranged explorations of a range of beguiling tunes drawn from the musical traditions of Shetland, Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland are uniformly strong.

(Kenny Mathieson)

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