Saturday, March 31, 2018

Arlet - Clearing (England 2013) @320

Intelligently subtle and modest in its entwinement of folk, electronic and orchestral elements.. 
Bright Young Folk intelligently coordinated blend of sounds and timbres.. admirers of Penguin Cafe Orchestra or more recently Lau and Spiro will find much that is subtly stimulating here. 

Just once in a while an album comes along that takes you to places you hadn’t realised existed. Arlet’s 'Clearing' did this, and much more, for me. 
Folk Radio UK

01 - Aidan's
02 - Ciao Ragazzi
03 - The Woodturner
04 - Summertimes (Intro)
05 - Summertimes
06 - V12
07 - Soundtrack
08 - Medway Services
09 - Morning After
10 - Song for Someone
11 - Chasing Tales

- Rosie Holden / Violin 
- Owen Hewson / Clarinet 
- Thom Harmsworth / Euphonium 
- Aidan Shepherd / Accordion 
- Ben Insall / Guitar 
- Andy Renshaw / Bodhran 
- Nick Walters / Trumpet 
- James Gow / Double Bass 
- Raven Bush / Mandolin 

All compositions by Aidan Shepherd (PRS) 
except 'Catharsis' in track 1 by Amy Cann 
Introduction to Summertimes created by Seth Scott .

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

L’atelier de La Danse Populaire - Bourrées en Berry et Bourbonnais (France 1997) @160

K7 Tape Ripp - Thanks to Dkmalo

"L’atelier de La Danse Populaire is an association of researchers, dancers and musicians. The research (field surveys and studies of ancient documents) focuses on early dance and traditional dance and leads to theoretical and practical teaching (university courses, summer courses, regular workshops, weekends, conferences, balls). 
The aim of the l'ADP is to offer today's dancers the pleasure of a community dance practice through forms inherited from the past, without ever separating the dance from the music, giving priority to the quality of the dance. movement and linking this practice to historical, ethnological and pedagogical thinking. "

This CD, subtitled "Musiques pour l'atelier de danse" includes 18 tunes to dance any drunk Berry two or three times. Most of the tunes are traditional. Those who are not are Yvon Guilcher's compositions.

In addition to being an indispensable tool for any private instructor of workshop musician
for the teaching of bourrées du Berry and Bourbonnais, it is a work of excellent quality, very pleasant to listen to (for who loves the bourrée, the old woman and the bagpipe! ...)

01 - Suite De Bourrées À Deux Temps
02 - Suite Lente De Bourrées À Trois Temps
03 - Suite Lente De Bourrées À Trois Temps
04 - La Droite Du Pays Fort
05 - Les Moutons
06 - Bourrées À Trois Temps
07 - La Décalée
08 - Les Tisserands
09 - La Tournante Des Grandes Poteries
10 - Bourrée D'aurore Sand
11 - La Chapelotte-Plaimpied
12 - La Brande
13 - La Pastourelle
14 - Bourrée De Chambérat
15 - La Grande Bourrée Carrée
16 - La Bourrée Mussée
17 - Bourrées Chantées
18 - Bourrées À Deux Temps 

Benoît Chantran (violin)
Gabriele Coltri (bagpipes)
Christian Cuesta (vocals, violin)
Yvon Guilcher (singing, sweet flute, bagpipe)
Marc Novara (hurdy-gurdy)
Gilles Poutoux (diatonic accordions)
The voices:
Michèle Champseix, Jean Denis and Julien Dufour, Hélène Raviart

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Fairport Convention - Expletive Delighted (1986 England) @320

Expletive Delighted is to date the only wholly instrumental Fairport Convention album. While the idea of an instrumental Fairport Convention album appeals to me a lot since I find the instrumental numbers on many of their other albums generally highly enjoyable, the actual result is not too impressive. Nothing here is bad by any means, but I feel that this could have been so much better and more interesting than it is. The instrumental numbers on other albums of this period in the bands career were often among the better and most progressive tracks on those albums, but here they serve us instrumental Fairport by the numbers. While the up-tempo numbers are good enough even if hardly among the band's better tunes of that kind, the slower numbers are quite dull and come across as transportation. Indeed, some of these tunes just sound a bit like average Fairport numbers simply stripped of their vocals.
Reviewed by SouthSideoftheSky

01 - The Rutland Reel - Sack The Juggler
02 - The Cat On The Mixer - Three Left Feet
03 - Bankruptured
04 - Portmeirion
05 - Jams O'donnell's Jig
06 - Expletive Delighted
07 - Sigh Beg Sigh Mór
08 - Innstück
09 - The Gas Almost Works
10 - Hanks For The Memory Shazam - Pipeline - Apache - Peter Gunn

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Simon Nicol
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bouzouki, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Mandola – Martin Allcock 
Bass, Mandola – Dave Pegg
Double Bass – Martin Allcock (tracks: 3)
Drums, Percussion, Keyboards – Dave Mattacks
Guest [Special Guest], Lead Guitar – Jerry Donahue (tracks: 10), Richard Thompson (tracks: 10)
Instruments [All But Percussion And Violin] – Martin Allcock (tracks: 8)
Keyboards – Ric Sanders (tracks: 4)
Lead Guitar [Acoustic] – Dave Pegg (tracks: 3)
Soloist [Acoustic] – Martin Allcock (tracks: 4)
Violin [Electric And Octave] – Ric Sanders

Fairport Convention - Gladys Leap (1985 England) @320

Gladys' Leap is Fairport Convention's comeback album, the line-up featuring Nicol, Pegg, Mattacks, and guest / soon-to-be member Ric Sanders, who had the unenviable task of replacing the irreplacable on fiddle/violin.

So yes, Swarbrick's voice as well as playing is missed, he had such a distinctive vocal, and had after all led Fairport throughout the entire previous decade.

The sound of this album is a tad 80's, but only a tad. Really, apart from Swarbrick being entirely absent Gladys' Leap sounds very much as if Fairport had never disbanded back in 1979 or so. Very weird, really.

Mostly reliant on external compositions, Fairport did start a tradition here of having highly thought-of British folk singer/songwriters submitting songs for them to perform. Here, it's Ralph McTell, who donates "Bird from the Mountain", and co-writes "Wat Tyler" with Simon Nicol. "The Hiring Fair" is also a Fairport/McTell co-write.

Album opener "How Many Times" was penned by long-gone former band member Richard Thompson. So were Fairport really back, or had they become a charity institution, where other folk performers would drop by, then pop out again?

"Honour and Praise" proves to be a dull 5 minutes after the reasonably good opening numbers that were reminiscent of the old Fairport. "The Hiring Fair" is another matter, a serious folk composition ranking alongside classic Fairport songs of times gone by, if lacking the same fire. It's still beautifully performed mind, the keyboard/piano lines are a really nice touch, marrying well with the acoustic guitar.

The first noticeable fiddle arrives during the instrumental medley, a mostly self-penned trio of tunes that are well-constructed yet hardly rank alongside the old Fairport medleys. Again, Swarbrick is missed, however well his replacement does at times.

"My Feet Are Set for Dancing" is the sound of an entirely different band - guest vocalist Cathy Lesurf has a decent voice, yet the track clearly wasn't the direction Fairport should pursue, and thankfully they never did again. And synth sounds permeate the otherwise acceptable folk of "Wat Tyler".

That leaves Thompson to enrich "Head in a Sack" with his typically distinctive guitar sound. A lot has changed since he last played on a Fairport Convention album.
Reviewed by Adrian Denning

01 - How Many Times
02 - Bird From The Mountain
03 - Honour And Praise
04 - The Hiring Fair
05 - Instrumental Medley '85
06 - My Feet Are Set For Dancing
07 - Wat Tyler
08 - Head In A Sack

Bass, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Vocals – Dave Pegg
Drums, Keyboards – Dave Mattacks
Guitar, Vocals – Simon Nicol
Lead Guitar – Richard Thompson (tracks: 8)
Violin – Ric Sanders (tracks: 2, 4, 5)
Vocals – Cathy Lesurf (tracks: 6)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hot Griselda - Meow! (2013 Belgium - Netherlands) @320

Hot Griselda is a Belgian/Dutch quartet which is very known in the world of the Bal folk meetings in the lowlands. Their slightly different approach gave them a big group of fans during the years. On pipes, whistles, sax, (electric) guitars and more the four musicians create a fine Celtic influenced instrumental sound. They play in a hypnotizing way their fourteen new recordings on which you will also recognize sounds from the many French traditions and even some influences from further south. It’s an album that needs time to reveal its full beauty. At first sight Meow sounds like a standard instrumental folk album. But the more you play it, the more you will hear the different layers the musicians put into the music and you discover the beauty of the melodies they play. Not only suitable for Bal folk dancing, but also a great album to listen to and enjoy.
© Eelco Schilder

1. Scheuren op de daken / The Cas Jig / Abdull's Fancy
2. MF 148 / Minitramp
3. Archibald / Ancient Mariners / Snipes
4. Las palmas
5. The Empress / New Clothes
6. Empty Streets, Blinded Windows / Ruby Susie
7. Walking Jake / Fido / Rasputin
8. Harry the Hunter
9. Blame It on the Chili / Ki mel
10. Augurka / Ameixoeira Station / The Birdies
11. The Rocket Reel / Dawdingstown / The Naked Dancer
12. Taxi Home / The Swiss Advocate / Roulette
13. White Russians / The sunnyset #2
14. Praying for a Fish / Alborada de l'empanada / Dubardu

Jeroen Geerinck: bodhran, electric guitar, guitar
Stijn van Beek: EWI, low whistle, uillean pipes
Kaspar Laval: bouzouki, electric guitar, gaita
Toon Van Mierlo: diatonic accordion, soprano saxophone, uillean pipes
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