Martyn Bennett


(Long Tale)

With so much new music vying for attention, this spot rarely features re-issues or compilations. Aye easily merits being an exception, though, because seven years after his early death, Martyn Bennett's music still sounds so exciting that it's easy to imagine it appearing today or even years hence. Bennett's ability to marry the Scottish tradition to techno beats, sampling technology, world music influences and chamber music disciplines created a body of work that bursts with joy, devilment and soulful expression and can still sound surprising after umpteen listens. The 11 tracks here – a 12th, the epic MacKay's Memories, is available to download – include Sir Harry Lauder's brilliant reinvention as a toasting DJ-rapper, Paisley Spin's affectionately irreverent Gerry Rafferty mash-up, the extraordinary, jubilant Liberation and Blackbird's magnificent meeting of traveller fireside, monkish chanting and electronic rhapsody. Gathered together, they both exhilarate and make you wonder just what fantastic musical sorcery might have followed had Bennett's creativity been allowed to continue.

Rob Adams