> Album Review: Stream by Fergus McCreadie  - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Album Review: Stream by Fergus McCreadie 

Two years after the release of his Mercury Prizenominated and SAY-winning album Forest Floor, Fergus McCreadie is not resting on his laurels with his new LP Stream. Opening with a swirling tempest of a track, ‘Storm’, the Glasgow pianist sweeps listeners along on a turbulent current, exploring the many moods of water in some of his most ambitious and wildly evocative compositions to date.

Accompanied by bassist David Bowden and drummer Stephen Henderson, McCreadie imbues mercurial contemporary jazz with the melodic contours of Scottish traditional music to create rambling, cascading pieces that echo the Scottish landscape.

Following the thrashing drums and tumbling piano of the opening track is the monumental 12-minute epic ‘The Crossing’. Drifting far from the core melody, McCreadie’s piano snakes along intricate side streams and leaps blindly into new harmonic waters, before returning to the choppy rapids where it began.

Where Forest Floor felt rooted to the earth, Stream is loose and free-flowing, and for stretches of it, you lose hold of the folk influence altogether in favour of towering, virtuosic spontaneity.

But as the storm clouds clear, warmth begins to seep into the track list. Lead single ‘Stony Gate’ is lithe and rippling, while ‘Sun Pillars’ is jubilant and life-affirming, as if each chord were lit from within. The painterly ‘Snowcap’ is scattered with flurries of twinkling piano and soft, flitting shadows of double bass. But final track ‘Coastline’ is perhaps the most mesmerising, McCreadie’s piano rising and falling like waves lapping the shore, haloed in the soft froth of Henderson’s hushed percussion.

Stream is out now via Edition Records 

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