Now this is a find. Iain Copeland – once of the Peatbog Faeries, should you recognise his name – helms the second offering by his electro / techno / trad collective and in doing so has created from seemingly contrary spirits a rather fetching item. I missed out on their 2012 debut, apparently themed round sheds (note to self: must hear that at some point, though Highland Time more than makes up for my oversight).
Often those who blend roots and relays can be heavy-handed; the subtle is drowned in the outburst of hard dance sounds which themselves act as straitjacket against the natural flow of rhythm in traditional music. Sketch understand this and ensure a balance between the ethnic and the electronic. The finished album swirls and skirls with Neil Ewart’s fiddle played off neatly against Angus Binnie on pipes and whistles as Copeland injects upsurges of programmes and samples which manage the alchemy of warmth, ambience and dynamism.
Never does the music stick too long with one groove or drive, Sketch merrily hop from remix to acoustic and back, displaying a huge slice of wit and awareness as they power onward through twelve tracks which only those with cloth ears could fail to appreciate. And just in case there are any immovable purists in the building, their unplugged tribute to the late Fraser Shaw is a reel of pure passion, C Side, before a final dash for the line, Goan Yersel, adds the full spectrum of colour and drama.