The Lady Aurora – Stephen Clark.

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Just occasionally along comes an album by somebody you’ve never heard of, never seen in concert and things seem just right. So with that in mind, I’m going to recommend Stephen Clark, who I’ve never heard of and never seen in concert either.

‘The Lady Aurora,’ is a bunch of instrumentals chiefly his own writing but here and there he litters identifiable old folk licks and a couple of covers to add touches of the familiar. The major part of this is just him and a guitar. Back in the late 80’s I suppose you might have found such things on a Windham Hill album, but there’s more going on than a simple New Age tag could convey. Clark’s playing is deft and light, here and there are hints of J.J. Cale, but never enough to mire him in copyist rhetoric.

Buoyed on gentle electronics it’s a peaceful collection, ‘Shimmering Light,’ is a perfect late night strum , whilst the short title piece echoes and flits about in an elfin manner. Sure there’s nothing that’ll blow your socks off or flip your wig, but that’s not the point, Clark recorded this as a close miked effort which adds to the simplicity of approach and assures the intimacy of the recording. Using a variety of guitars, names like Martin and Fylde prove Clark knows a decent instrument and he knows his way round the frets. ‘Cosmos, Particles, Entropy & Chaos,’ is as close as he gets to an extended piece, gentle picking soon gives way to a heavier underscore and little atonal stabs interrupt the flow.

Goes well with a quiet corner, headphones on and a glass of something smooth.

Simon Jones.

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