The Spectrum Project, the new album from renowned fiddler Marie Fielding, sees the eclectic composer and instrumentalist taking inspiration from the places and the people close to her heart; the result is an enchanting collection of mostly original tunes recorded with the support of Tom Orr on piano and harmonium, Luc McNally on guitar and her long term collaborator Donogh Hennessy’s distinctive touch on a few passages.
The album is designed as a journey; it starts and ends in two different takes on the same melody, the haunting title tune, neatly tying things together. Catchy and fluid jigs and reels follow each other with some slow-paced tunes like the Northumbrian-style Gracie’s Lullaby.
Some of these tracks were composed just a few days before being recorded and many of them were played in full for the first time during the recording process. A sense of intimacy oozes from the entire work, occasionally emphasised by the gentle and atmospheric echo that accompanies the tunes in the title tracks, Mayo 2 Manchester (inspired by the author’s family history) and Connemara Reel.
Orr’s piano accompaniment is the perfect partner for Fielding’s fiddle: every note, chord and even pause is wisely calculated to take the best out of these tunes and to capture the essence of the composition process.
The overall impression is of an album full of genuine expressiveness, in which the tasteful use of ornamentation enhances the emotional effect of the tunes. Autobiographical references, poignant settings; every detail contributes to place Fielding’s intuitive fiddle playing under the spotlight and to create free-flowing soundscapes to explore with multiple careful listens.Michele Mele
Released on CD and digitally by Rumford Records on 26 June 2020, recorded by Stuart Hamilton at Castle Sound Studios, produced by Marie Fielding
2. Mayo 2 Manchester
3. Aran Islands
4. Brattfors i Brunt
5. Connemara Reel
6. Gracie’s Lullaby
7. Queensferry Crossing
8. Muriel’s Oatcakes
9. Captain MacDuff’s
10. Spectrum Outro