This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 6/05
Last year I reviewed the first solo album by
Dave Bainbridge, the co-founder and guitarist/keyboardist of the
critically acclaimed group “Iona”. Now through the post comes a copy of
this CD: his second “dual collaboration” album with Iona colleague Troy
Donockley. Troy incidentally, played a major role on Dave's first solo
What really made me sit up and take notice of this album as soon as it arrived was the fact that it was recorded in Lincoln Cathedral, my favourite cathedral in all England. It's a cathedral that won my heart not just because of its incomparable setting - one that even puts both Durham and St Paul's in the shade but because of its interior beauty, its associations with the great William Byrd, and its importance as a location to wartime members of Bomber Command limping home on a wing and a prayer from Hamburg and Berlin: when they saw its light atop the massive structure, they knew they could finally breathe easy and that they would land at their Lincolnshire airfield in 5 minutes.
So, given that I revere the cathedral, surely the CD could not fail with me?
Oh yes it could! Paradoxically, because I'd invested so much love in the building, it was vital to me that the album proved worthy. But I need not have worried.
William Byrd it ain't. Even another ex- Lincoln Cathedral organist from more recent times - Steve Race - at his JAZZIEST would have been perhaps a bit too traditional for such avant garde, spaced-out music! Just these two “Iona” performers fill the great nave with the most glorious sound: Dave's keyboards, bouzouki, electric guitar, and Troy's Uilleann pipes, low whistle, tin whistle and acoustic guitar. It is recorded exactly as it happened, with even the great Cathedral clock providing the necessary timely verisimilitude on one track (to prove indeed that it was a genuine field recording).
In the best traditions of the Mike Oldfields and the Jean Michel Jarres, the music here is extemporized, and not read from manuscript. It is none-the-worse for it.
It is an album that whilst not necessarily providing a lot of mental food for the listener, actually goes one better. It helps put you in the state of mind where after listening and meditating for its 56 minutes, one feels a sort of “intellectual re-charge” and one is ready to drive the Thinkers' Highway with one's windscreen cleaned and one's tank topped up.
And now I am off to Lincoln Cathedral, to find a pew with a view of the Lincoln Imp, and I'll spend an hour there sitting alone with my Walkman and this interesting duo.
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