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LANG LINKEN "Lyst" C.E. Musik CEMCD 0597
PHONIX "Udbund" Nix CD06

And so to Denmark ... another country which has its own long established indigenous music tradition which, whilst retaining its own distinctive characteristics, is also continually absorbing influences from around the globe.

The trio Lang Linken have been playing mostly dance music for nearly three decades and create an authorative link to the older style of Danish playing which draws heavily on central European influences.

"Lyst" is a lively mixture of dance tunes played on fiddles, bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, piano and accordions. Indeed most of the tunes will have a familiar appeal to anglo music lovers as the rhythms and tonalities are not unlike Scots or Irish music and avoid the complexities and harsher tones of their northern Baltic neighbours.

Tracks like "Den Gamhe hans vals" wouldn't sound out of place in many a St. Bernard's waltz and the bouncy "Knud Laursens Trekant" and "Pe' Broens Polka" would keep the sweat running in most dancers' socks.

The handful of songs are strongly reminiscent of Quebecois call and response, beautifully understated, that emphasise the lilting rhythms they ride over. Overall this is a well balanced warm production and is thoroughly recommended for those in search of a refreshing change of tack.

The five young twentysomethings in Phonix open their album with a trippy darrabuka line into "En Vinterdag", which sets the agenda briskly with baroque sounding recorder, honky bass clarinet and folksy fiddle and accordion.

This is an energetic selection of self penned compositions that reflects the best of contemporary music within a traditional format. Many of the selections are complex and diverse arrangements, too clever by half in places, are reminiscent of the Cauld Blast Orchestra, but are still easy on the ear and are often a joy to behold.

The more traditional influenced compositions like "Sikker Saek", featuring a mournful set of pipes, "Jubel Hopsa", and "Cykel Mazurka" are the most successful. The strongly featured recorder playing does tend to enter the twee club after repeated listenings, but this is a small gripe in what is generally a thoroughly entertaining set.

Iain McQueen

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