Album: David McAlmont & Michael Nyman, The Glare (MN)

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The Independent Culture

In this intriguing alliance of soul and classical forms, David McAlmont uses selections from Nyman's back catalogue as the backdrops to song-stories drawn from recent news reports, all concerning people on the cusp of crisis.

In the title-track, for instance, an unnamed talent-show contestant (clearly Susan Boyle) comes to terms with the sudden searing blast of fame, and in "Take the Money and Run", the chattering piano, sawing violins and aspirational horns of Nyman's Seville Fanfare furnish suitably urgent accompaniment to McAlmont's account of the couple who, finding their account mistakenly credited with £10 million, understandably did a runner. Many songs deal with the poor and dispossessed – the jailed drug mule of "In Laos", the Zimbabwean child refugees in "Fever Sticks and Bones", the trafficked humans stranded in the "City of Turin" – on whose stories Nyman's minimalist riffs impose an air of fatalistic inevitability. Concluding proceedings is the Nyman Sax Quartet's 17-minute suite "Songs For Tony", whose industriously tootling reeds offer the missing link between Henry Purcell and Moondog.

Download this Take the Money and Run; City of Turin; The Glare; Songs for Tony