Having experienced both the soft acoustic and loud electric of genius 26-year-old guitarist Sean Shibe's latest Delphian CD live in Anstruther, I wondered when I saw the back cover whether bunching the two different styles respectively together would make for as good a programme (he shared the concert, too, with clarinettist Julian Bliss).
Then I listened, and was convinced. The exquisite miniatures of the Scottish lute pieces fold outwards into MacMillan's From Galloway, ingeniously transcribed from the clarinet original, and Motet 1 from Since it was the day of Preparation - first track to play anyone you want to convince about the rainbow hues of Shibe's acoustic-guitar mastery.
Reich's Electric Counterpoint glides us into the louder stuff. The composer's commendation on the back of the disc says it all more eloquently than I can. Then comes the stunner which virtually lifted me out of my seat in the East Neuk - on the cusp of bearability, though the earplugs we were given turned out not to be necessary - in the shape of Julia Wolfe's LAD. I've already written on how only an artist of Shibe's unique imagination could have thought to ask if he could adapt the original - for nine bagpipes, performed in the World Trade Centre - for himself live and recorded eight times. David Lang's Killer just about finishes us off.
So we move in - please note, not 'to', which writers are still declaring virtually daily - a crescendo, from introspection to exhilarating, violent exuberance. If only all solo CDs had anything like this thoughtfulness. It's a winner by any standards. Great photo-artwork, too, by the inimitable Kaupo Kikkas.
I interviewed our hero at the Frontline Club earlier this year; the results should appear on The Arts Desk two Saturdays hence, in tandem with Graham Rickson's review. I hope he loves the CD as much as I do.