Yorkston / Thorne / Khan's Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars blends different musical styles with ease
- David Pollock
- 3 April 2017
James Yorkston, Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan follow up last year's first collaboration
When you hit upon an idea as good as this one, why not keep at it until you feel it's been expended? The idea in this case being the strange convergence of three very different musicians whose styles inexplicably fuse in a manner which is beyond genre but very easy on the ear. Fife's alternative folk songwriter James Yorkston, Isle of Wight-based jazz bassist Jon Thorne and Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan first collaborated on last year's Everything Sacred, and their highly capable team-up has produced another fine record a little more than 12 months later.
As the title of the album suggests, there seems to be a certain boldness this time, which leads to dexterous fusions of sound and intercontinental style. The opening 'Chori, Chori' is a propulsive mantra given voice by Khan, even as Yorkston's guitar keeps pace with moody lines which could have come from the guitar of Richard Thompson. On 'Samant Saarang / Just a Bloke', the dynamic is turned on its head, the musical style distinctly of the east as Khan's keening sarangi lines and rhythmic vocal percussion underpin Thorne's absent-minded vocal musing that he's 'just a bloke … with a load on his mind … wanderin' up the hill.'
There's a redolence of the 1960s folk revival throughout, with the traditional opening its mind to a hint of the psychedelic. Yorkston's gorgeously weary vocal on 'Bales' echoes Nick Drake and there's a certain protest-singing acoustic energy to 'False True Piya'. Many of the songs, in whole or in part, come from the folk tradition, with Yorkston and Khan's duet on 'The Recruited Collier' detaching the song from a sense of inherent Anglocentricity; while 'Halleluwah' appears to be either a very loose cover of, or strongly influenced by, Can's kosmiche classic. Such rich diversity sounds neither forced nor fake.
Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars is out on Fri 7 Apr via Domino