As I´ll state in my best albums of 2003, perhaps somebody finds strange an album like this in this our sympho-prog webzine. But also there was a lot of expectation during the last decade when Wolfstone step into musical scene. Interesting music that blended in a very right way rock and celtic music. Anyway nothing to do with the great music I´ll talk about right now:
Formed by teachers, poets, animation designers, hurling players, doctors and even pipebag designers, Rossa Ó Snodaigh, Colm Ó Snodaigh, Rónán Ó Snodaigh, Dee Armstrong, Eoin Dillon, Brian Hogan & Lance Hogan have built a world apart, varied, bohemian and a little bit weird named Kila.
This world was built back in 1987 when the founders Eoin and Rónán were 16 and 17 years old, and they played their first gig near Dublin. There were lots of changes in the line-up and some of them worked with bands like Dead Can Dance or The Mary Janes, but finally the band founded their own company, Kila Records, in 1996, recording “Tóg é go Bog é”. Before they released “Handels Fantasy” (1993) and “Mind the Gap” (1995). And later on they released “Live At Vicar St Album” (1998), “Lemonade & Buns” (2000) and the soundtrack for the theatre play “Monkey” (2001), until this “Luna Park” (2003).
This album is a musical journey to diverse sonic worlds. If you take a look at their webpage you´ll see the instrumental deployment in every song (pandero, djembé, congas, bongos, guitars, irish flute, bass flute, clarinet, bones, didjeridoo, darbuka, double bass, mandolin, violin, viola, salterio, accordion, piano,...). And even we´ll hear a string quartet and a vocal-choral... really amazing.
The journey starts with “Glanfaidh Me” (9:22). With a lot of energy here is blended the old and the new, the celtic and the african, the general and the particular, the acoustic and the electric, and everything creates a track near perfection.
The two following tracks - “Hebden Bridge” (3:28) and “Wandering Fish” (5:31)- bring us the aromas of Cantabric Sea shores, specially the first one that shares points in common with Carlos Núñez´s music. The flute leads the melody over a web of strings. “Wandering Fish” is really peaceful and beautiful, and it reminds me to the style of bands like Nightnoise.
The band strikes back with “The Mama Song” (4:09), with the same concept of “Glanfaidh Me”. An amazing blend of styles in a very up-tempo rhythm. It seems like the calm comes back with “Baroki” (9:13), but it´s not true at all: the sound of the rain, guitar, violin,... enters the clavicembal and Blarney´s landscapes are shown in our minds. The journey goes on and the turkish percussion takes us to the Aegean Sea when an amazing tambourine is keeping the time with a impetuous rhythm,... but serenity and beauty returns with Dee and his grand piano. It seems it has been inspired by Suzanne Ciani´s sensitivity
Perhaps one of the most interesting songs, attending to the concept, is “Béilín Méala” (4:42). Listening to it, David Lynch´s films come to mind. With less instrumentation, the band evokes melancholy with aromas of US´ music of the 50´s decade.
In “Bully´s Acre” (4:19) the band offers all of their instruments – strings, winds and percussion- mixing them with influences from distant cultures. If you haven´t been in Ireland perhaps you won´t note the sensitivity inside “Maith Dhom” (2:38) with a voice a cappella followed by a respectful choral, the voice narrates a simple and sad melody with lots of melancholy. “Grand Hotel” (6:53) is a cheerful track a la Penguin Café Orchestra.
And we´re before the last stage of this musical buffet. We have 11 minutes left plenty of absolute creativity. In “Luna Park” the band develops the final concept. The begin slightly reminds of Simon & Garfunkel´s “El Cóndor Pasa”. But after four minutes the up-tempo melodies place us in a climax. In short: brilliant.
We have a beautiful farewell with “The Hour Before the Dawn” (3:41) a track where piano takes all the beauty of George Winston in “December” and it´s accompanied, as a silk echo, by a violin that touches the air. Wonderful.
Undoubtedly this is an album for everybody sensible and for those who want to open the mind to a world full of richness and beauty. We have to learn a lot.. there´s a long way to walk.