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Emily Scott: Stray Light (Slow Sync)

The antecedents date back 50 years to George Martin's arrangements for The Beatles and include Elvis Costello's Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet, but there has never been a time when string players were so integrated into modern "indie" music, from Brighton to Birnam, with Glasgow's Cairn String Quartet, for example, now very familiar players on the scene.

Cellist Pete Harvey is one of the most ubiquitous and he is on this disc too, which was recorded at his Perthshire studio, Pumpkinfield, joined by violinist Kate Miguda (who plays alongside him in Meursault) and Rik Evans, viola.

It is, however, very much Emily Scott's record, available as a 45rpm 12-inch platter, nine songs clocking in at under half an hour, all of them written by her for voice and strings. Scott's are modern "art songs" rather than pop, but her richly-toned, broad-ranged voice recalls the jazzy folk of Joni Mitchell or Laura Nyro without sounding too much like either.

Deliberately recorded as live as possible, it might have been better to have spent a little longer on the audio clarity of that instrument, but the strings are beautifully captured, and her writing for them is highly skilled.

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