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Dipper Malkin Dipper Malkin
Album: Tricks Of The Trade
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

On 'Tricks Of The Trade', Dipper Malkin plus guests "celebrate their inheritance" whilst adding their own special ingredients and inventions; something which elevates 'Tricks Of The Trade' beyond traditional folk and into areas of refined classical tinged sophistication.

Most recently a part of the Methera string quartet John Dipper is joined by Dave Malkin whose guitar and voice formed part of the electronic tinged trio Tandem. It also provides a vehicle for John's viola d'amore, a baroque instrument with seven bowed and seven sympathetic strings which together with a new tuning system lends an interesting spin to the material.

The extended cast includes percussion from Corrie Dick flugelhorn from Tom Dennis together with Malkin's long term collaborator Ben Corrigan whose production duties extend to encouraging the duo to explore sonic possibilities. Sounds a very much out of the box experience. One in which the aim works around elevating the repertoire of our ancestors, something they've accomplished that through a strong link with the values of classical music - considering their approach as exciting as the free form nature of jazz yet rooted in the traditional.

'Wine & Women' from John Offord's legendary collection, mined so effectively of late by Leveret, heads off the album with an almost medieval feel, a vein which runs through the album and contained within many of the historical back stories to the material. There's quite a serious intensity and gravity at times as opposed to flights of jiggery folkery. A case of embracing the classical philosophy for a concentrated listen. Having said that, the 'Gravity/Flower Of Kent' pair of tunes from Dipper come inspired by Isaac Newton, offering the contrast of a buoyant bowed piece before shifting to a more refined passage.

For those feeling a little short changed by the solemnity on offer and in need of a livelier moment to loosen the limbs, the 'Answerphone' set comes to the rescue. The Quebecois influence is one which is always guaranteed to enliven and setting it's good to see the guy letting off some steam. And they haul in the familiar 'The Parting Glass', their version offering an alternative to what they call the "miserable dirge" of 'Auld Lang Syne'.

Whilst not being everyone's cup of tea with some of its more considered and earnest leanings, 'Tricks Of The Trade' surely achieves its goal of being another record which stretches the boundaries of folk.

Mike Ainscoe