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SIMON THACKER - Karmana - Simon Thacker (Guitar) - Various Artists - STMRCD03 - Released: February 2017 - Slap The Moon Records STMRCD03

- Initiation
- Albedo
- Half Moon Dreaming
- Ouroboros
- The Chariot of the Mind
- Finale
La Cārciuma de la drum
An t-larla Diurach
Ruaigidh Dorchadas/The Highland Widow's Lament

If one thing can be said about the music of Scottish guitarist/composer Simon Thacker is that it's always in constant motion. Even in slow, meditative movements like the evocative Half Moon Dreaming, you can't help but feel that the writing is always pulling you into the following measure, and then the next , and so on. Karmana, the main work on this new recording is a six-movement suite for Guitar and Cello, featuring Justina Jablonska on cello. And despite being fully annotated, the music always sounds instantly inspired and constantly improvised, which is exactly what lends the music it's sense of urgency, novelty and freshness. It never sounds rehearsed - a sign of instantaneous creative spark combined with mastery of one's instrument of choice. The interaction between the guitar and cello is flawless, as if Justina Jablonska's cello becomes an extension of Thacker's guitar.

The music on this latest outing by Simon Thacker is wide and varied, with influences from multiple sources running through Indian, Spanish, Gaelic and Scottish bloodlines, stretching as far as a semi electro/psychedelic meets ancient Scottish treatment of the Highland Widow's Lament with a powerful and spot on vocal contribution by singer Karine Polwart. This is the music of a guitarist not satisfied with the status quo, and not only looking to improve on his instrument, but also seeking to expand the musical possibilities of the guitar.

Jean-Yves Duperron - March 2017