Ross Ainslie


(Great White)

THERE'S craftiness as well as musical craft involved in Ross Ainslie’s third album. The multi-instrumentalist, whose duos with Ali Hutton and Jarlath Henderson and work with Treacherous Orchestra, among others, have brought a raft of awards, has taken a similar approach to Sanctuary as Mike Oldfield did to Tubular Bells.

It’s designed to be listened to in one sitting and for anyone tempted not to conform, just as you think you may have found a suitable point for a break, up comes another change of pace or direction, and another, and so on to the final piece which, as with Oldfield’s magnum opus, features the spoken word.

While guests Zakir Hussain, tabla master, and sarod player Soumik Datta are involved, they don’t arrive until later. So the opening track might have you wondering who the Indian violinist is. It is, in fact, Greg Lawson who, like Ainslie’s other accomplices, moves easily between Asian, possibly Macedonian and definitely Scottish forms.

Hussain’s fabulous, ringing clatter lights up Happy Place but Ainslie’s headlong pipes flight on Road to Recovery and glorious whistle glissandi on Obstacles of the Mind ensure he’s the boss of this admirably rocking, flowing platter.

Rob Adams