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Boomkat Product Review:
The collaborative venture of Keiron Phelan and David Sheppard, 'Harps Old Master' is a gorgeously textured record with an ease and compositional expansiveness that's testament to the duo's long established relationship. Boasting contributions from The Willard Grant Conspiracy's Josh Hillman (strings) and Laika's Guy Fixsen (trumpet), the album was recorded at Fixsen's East London studio between October 2005 & February 2006, and could be readily cited as a dictionary definition of the word "lush". Falling into the sphere of neo-classical, 'Harp's Old Master' relies on a core of orchestral elements that are then given a charming back spin courtesy of expansive brass and crystalline soundscapes. Opening through the utterly grand vista of 'Hazel Wand', Phelan and Sheppard sound like a mature version of Bell Orchestre - as strings soar and the atmosphere is rendered electric through a nonchalant pit of moogs. Scattered with vocals, when 'Harps Old Master' does employ the larynx it is rendered all the more effective - with Ines Naranjo's crystal delivery the perfect counterpoint to the shimmering grandeur of 'Weaving Song'. Unafraid to give their collaborators centre stage, Josh Hillman plays a particularly muscular role through his viola skills, with 'Collapsing Cat' a languid example of the instruments tacit power. Elsewhere, 'The Plantagenet Whore' veritably soars with soundtrack scope, 'Parachute Seeds' introduces a rotating element to its thundering oeuvre, whilst 'Lady Never City' sees you out on a bubble of tender acoustic solitude. 2006 is shaping up to be something of a treat for those who crave expansive music that envelopes you completely.