Niteworks, NW (Comann Music)

Skye-based quartet Niteworks can’t be accused of rushing out their first album. They’ve been developing their sound over a number of years and like fellow islanders Sketch have found a natural way of marrying the Scottish traditions with electronic music. There’s something also of the work of the late Martyn Bennett and expatriate Scot Paul Mounsey in the way they use spoken word and Gaelic song as part of the fabric of the music, which varies from the catchy synth pop of Beul na h-oidhche to the atmospheric grandeur of Taobh Abhainn. Guest singers Kathleen MacInnes, Alasdair Whyte, Deirdre Graham, Donald Macdonald and Laura Donnelly – the last two adding contemporary Scots song and the Americana of Anaïs Mitchell respectively – make strong contributions but it’s no slight to them to say that the most striking voice is that of Sorley Maclean on Somhairle where observations the late, great Gaelic poet made decades ago chime chillingly with Scotland today and make the accompanying music all the more powerfully haunting.

Rob Adams