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Fergus McCreadie: Forest Floor (Edition)

A review of the Scottish pianist's third album

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Fergus McCreadie: Forest Floor
The cover of Forest Floor by Fergus McCreadie

Scottish native Fergus McCreadie ignites his new trio album with a flurry of precisely placed notes, rich harmonies in forest-fire motion. The pianist has stated how he wants Forest Floor to oppose his previous set, Cairn: the immobility of the inert versus the nutritious panoply of the ecosystem.

So “Law Hill” defines the rules of engagement, and indeed the battlefield, but leaves one end open for further exploration. And indeed “The Unfurrowed Field” spins around a simple song, something a child might make up, hiking, soon after lunch, a toe-tipping trip into uncharted terrain by dinner. Bassist David Bowden uses his solo here as formal statement for some other figures, and variations, he’ll work in later down the line. It’s an ecosystem unto itself, alive and worming its way into nested systems.

“Morning Moon” features an even lighter touch, McCreadie experimenting with how little pressure he needs to draw sound; Bowden comes in behind him sounding sage, bowing silvery, chiming harmonies off the piano intervals. Drummer Stephen Henderson owns branches cracking, limbs groaning softly with the weight of grackles, gentle ticking noises signifying the forest settling into itself—although he can also own furious, fuse-driving power when the boss decrees.

From the coldness of stone to the multiplicity of life, wherever it’s found—where are these guys gonna end up next? Outer space? I’d sure love to hear them assaying, say, sunrise from around the Earth’s rim, or the continents through the clouds. Maybe the sinister unassailable of the nearest black hole to Earth—a phenomenon code-named “The Unicorn,” if that’s any help. An enormous silent sucking sound. Sounds like a start.

Learn more about Forest Floor on Amazon!