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Various Artists "The Future Sound of Gaeldom" SURCD026

Over the last couple of years there has been an array of contemporary Celtic anthologies on the market i.e. "Roots Reels and Rhythms: A Scots Fusion Experience" and EMI's "Folk 'n' Hell" spring to mind. Hot on their heels comes Survival's latest offering. The rather pompous sounding "The Future Sound of Gaeldom" pulls together some of the more 'cutting edge' Scottish fusion music of the last 10 years. Martyn Bennett, Shooglenifty, and Capercaillie are all well represented as could be expected.

Although the calibre of most of the artists involved is unquestionable, the purpose of this CD is not obvious. Is Survival trying to show just how contemporary Celtic music can sound when pushed to the outer limits of production techniques? Or is the label trying to show a serious alternative way forward for traditional-based Scots music? I understand that any compilation is going to be a subjective choice, open to debate, however I did find one aspect of FSOG constantly disappointing. Many of the tracks included (with notable exceptions) haven't even been picked from the most recent releases by the artists. So what is represented is The Future Sound of Gaeldom circa 1998. Any listen to recent albums from say Mouth Music, Peatbog Faeries, or Karen Matheson will paint a more accurate picture of The Future Sound of Gaeldom.

As a 'toe in the water' type release this collection is okay. However I'd recommend the latest album by most of the artists involved as a more fulfilling choice.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 49 of The Living Tradition magazine.