Francis Macdonald, Music for String Quartet, Piano and Celeste (TR7 Records)

It is quite impossible not to find the compulsive music-making, and equally focused entrepreneurship, of Francis Macdonald beguiling, particularly from a chap who began life as a drummer, and still plies that trade with Teenage Fanclub. He also runs a record label, Shoeshine, has combined forces with many other artists, including the Cheeky Monkey duo with Michael Shelley, and made a couple of discs of laptop excursions while on the road with TFC, which the Apple folk liked enough to invite him into their store with his MacBook. So his first excursion into classical composition was, of course, immediately picked up Classic FM, who featured his January Waltz and have endorsed his debut disc.

Recorded at Mogwai's Castle of Doom studio (where Macdonald is not the only person to have noted the quality of the piano), these 11 tracks are indeed sometimes "minimalist" as the radio station has noted, but that style is not the only string to the bow of a chap with a given gift for melody and a fondness for triple time. Ghent is a lovely little impressionist vignette, while September Weekend is a through-composed four minutes or so that evokes that Glasgow holiday rather beautifully. Four Scottish Ensemble players join him on the recording, on which at least half of the little compositions are very fine indeed.

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Keith Bruce