Jim Ghedi & Neal Heppleston: Archipelago EP

neal and jim | Jim Ghedi & Neal Heppleston: Archipelago EP

Jim Ghedi is an acoustic guitar playing singer-songwriter; well known around these parts for his unconventional finger-picking style, which gives his music a unique flavour. Neal Heppleston is a highly-respected bass player who currently plays with Magpies and The Purgatory Players. Archipelago is their first collaboration together, and the inaugural release from The Little Mesters’ Recording Confederacy.

Archipelago opens up with the steady meanderings of ‘Harper’s Lantern’, which, from the off, transports you to a mist-shrouded island chain. As Ghedi’s vocals intrude, the nature of the beast changes into a fragile breed of folk music, with an edge reminiscent of Led Zep at their most introspective. Weighing in at just under ten minutes, it is a rather epic and magnificent beginning. On ‘Eastern Blue’, Heppleston’s jazzy bass dances with Ghedi’s Eastern strings to create a rather playful improvised number; highlighting the abilities of both musicians, before cavorting off into the Arabian night.

The only traditional track on the EP, ‘Black Waterside’, has an intricate stringed opening which flutters with a more conventional feel; Ghedi’s vocals capturing the right tone and heralding the faster tempo which drives us to its dénouement. The final track of this collection, ‘Mist on the Morning’, returns, in part, to where we began, albeit calmer and more introverted; gently growing before releasing its shackles and marching towards a triumphant finale.

Archipelago is a subtle melting pot of folk, jazz, roots and Eastern music which works sublimely. As a debut, it is an extremely impressive piece of work; almost impossible to pigeonhole and even harder to ignore.

The EP is released on 25 June and you can listen to Mist on the Morning here: