Pick a bird, any bird. That was the challenge posed by Earth recordings for this avian-themed four track EP.
The one proviso was that the bird wasn't one of the six named on Bert Jansch’s 1979 instrumental album, ‘Avocet', a record commended by biographer Colin Harper as one of his greatest works.
The revisited version of that album opens with Fulmar,a delicate refrain by Edwyn Collins and Carwyn Ellis. This is the only track to feature vocals.
Collins is more just a casual ornithologist since he drew a bird a day during his 6 month rehabilitation from a cerebral haemorrhage. The song is dedicated to a gull-like bird that apparently spends most of its life airborne.
Modern Studies settle for a Curlew and a tune which uses the bird's call as a backdrop to an elegant orchestral arrangement
Alasdair Roberts chooses Goosander which according to the RSPB is a "handsome diving duck" albeit one which is somewhat feral. To conjure up such qualities Roberts plays refined electric guitar in a folk style supplemented by organ drones.
For the closing piece, Golden Plover, Trembling Bells lead us to a gentle waltz augmented by Callum Calderwood (violin), Rory Haye (vocals), Andrew Pattie (vocals) and Belle & Sebastian’s Stevie Jackson (12 string guitar).
This all makes for a pleasant, yet all too brief, tribute to Janch and bird watching though it would be nice to see (and hear) the idea expanded into a full length album.