14th Floor Records – 2004 – 52 minutes

John Hughes is perhaps best known these days as the manager of The Corrs, but 'Wild Ocean' confirms his talent as a composer in his own right. Five years in the making, this album is a wonderful fusion of traditional and contemporary music that's sure to have an international appeal.

From the opening track 'Deo', it's clear that 'Wild Ocean' has a very unique sound. Traditional Irish music is interwoven with a more urban electronic element that adds another dimension to the creation. Tracks like 'Dancing in the Wind', 'The Opus Tree' and 'Casa Torres' are hauntingly melodic and powerful pieces of music.

Having enlisted the talents of such diverse acts as Finbar Furey, The Corrs, the Irish Film Orchestra and The Chieftains, Hughes has recruited old school as well more modern musicians to bridge the gap between past and present.

Though the uniqueness fades a little towards the end, with an over-long final track, 'Wild Ocean' is a great achievement. Hughes has created a distinctive sound that should bring traditional Irish music to a much wider audience.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Deo - Dancing in the Wind – The Opus Tree – Horizon – Beannacht Leat – Casa Torres – Come Away – Prelude – Lament – The Phoenix – Dreamtime