It is music's constant capacity to surprise and thrill with a never ending supply of wonderful new discoveries that holds us in its thrall.
On any given day, you might uncover a new treasure, a musician, band or singer out there waiting to make that unique connection, to fill us with awe, wonder and admiration. Very often it is pure chance that introduces us to their music, but once the connection has been made, we are forever smitten.
Dublin based musician John Lambert has been quietly crafting his sublime music under the moniker Chequerboard for some time now - he released his debut album in 2005 and followed this up with Penny Black, an album that helped forge his identity as an artist with a unique vision. The reviews for that album were universally positive; now he releases his third album, The Unfolding and it is a record of serene and shimmering beauty.
Nine instrumental tracks, based largely around Lambert's gorgeous acoustic guitar playing and beautifully textured electronica, create a mood and feeling that is intoxicating. These wondrous pieces of music are further fleshed out by the inclusion of fleeting and occasional ghostly vocals and mournful cello lines -the effect, at times, is stunning.
If you are a fan of some of Post Rock's quieter exponents, or the minimalist ambient classical music of artists like Max Richter, Johann Johannsson or Olafur Arnalds, Lambert's music will have instant appeal, and he deserves to be considered on a par with musicians of that calibre - The Unfolding is that good.
This is music that is in no rush to go anywhere fast - opening track 'Dunes' emerges from a haze of ambient electronica in its own quiet and unhurried way with Lambert's beautiful melodic finger picking style giving this and much of what follows an autumnal, pastoral feel.
Fans of 80s guitar legend Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column will hear echoes of his work in 'The Sorrow Bird' while 'Like a Bell to a Southerly Wind' sounds eerily like something off Nick Drake's seminal third album Pink Moon. 'Obelisk' is music for rainy, autumn Sunday afternoons and the outstanding 'Today Is Beautiful, We Have Things To Do' is melancholia at its prettiest.
Sometimes the best things in life can be found right on our doorsteps; while fans of this genre have looked far and wide for music of such luminous beauty, John Lambert aka Chequerboard has been creating this special music right under our noses. Pure magic.
Review by Paul Page