The Gloaming Real World/Planet
The Gloaming’s second album flows as fluently as the Irish-American supergroup’s widely acclaimed debut, a watershed release that docked at the confluence of Gaelic song and Celtic jigs and reels ancient and modern, and contemporary classical and art-house music. With the template established, might be less efficacious on the ear than its eponymous predecessor, but it still engages and enchants. Tensions engendered by the dichotomy between its unusual elements — enhanced by the skill and imagination of the players — produce dynamics akin to a meandering river. The rhythmic undercurrents, on which float the symbiotic leads of County Clare virtuoso Martin Hayes’s violin and the ethereal vocals of Cork sean-nos specialist Iarla O Lionaird, provide irresistible propulsion. The Norwegian-styled Hardanger fiddling of Caoimhin O Raghallaigh and the funky guitar riffs produced by Hayes’s long-time duo partner, Chicago-born Dennis Cahill, trawl the depths, deftly utilising texture and space. New York producer Thomas Bartlett’s thoughtful counterpoints on piano add cred. Journey opener The Pilgrim’s Song is in many ways a microcosm of the Gloaming’s sound and aesthetic, with Hayes’s elegant fiddle lines following O Lionaird’s dulcet Gaelic tones and a gradual building of momentum to orchestral depth. Fainleog ( Wanderer) dovetails, a delicate dialogue between lead violin and piano morphing into a jig. A haunting air, The Hare, compels the listener to dwell on each beautifully played note.