The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - JIM CAR­ROLL JOE BREEN SIOB­HÁN LONG

Warp It’s hard to be no­ticed if you’re toil­ing away at a steady pace in the quiet places, which may ex­plain why Stephen Wilkin­son threw some dif­fer­ent shapes on his last al­bum ( Mind Bokeh). What’s in­ter­est­ing is that Wilkin­son is now to the bespoke, pas­toral, gen­tle elec­tron­ica with which he made his name on al­bums such as 2009’s Am­biva­lence Av­enue. The pro­ducer has al­ways had a pen­chant for folky, soft-toned sound­scapes, and th­ese hues by and large dom­i­nate Sil­ver Wilkin­son. While the at­mo­spheric slide of The First Daf­fodil and Dye the Wa­ter Green are fur­ther blissed-out re­verbs of Wilkin­son’s Ul­tra­ma­rine in­flu­ence, the 1980s elec­tropop reach of Mir­ror­ing All and À tout à l’heure’s sun­shine al­lure show Wilkin­son spread­ing his wings again, al­beit in a more mea­sured man­ner than be­fore. Solid rather than spec­tac­u­lar. face­ mr­bibio

The First Daf­fodil, À tout à l’heure None­such Amer­i­can roots ex­plorer Sam Ami­don pro­vides a key to what he’s about: “For me, folk mu­sic is not re­ally so much con­nected to cer­tain in­stru­ments. It’s more just a qual­ity a melody could have, or a qual­ity a lyric could have. You can find that any­where.” And that’s where Ami­don looks – any­where. But ev­ery sound, ev­ery word is fil­tered through his know­ing­ness, his sin­gu­lar in­ter­pre­ta­tion of th­ese songs washed in time. He has said there is a lone­li­ness at the heart of this al­bum, his fourth but first for a ma­jor label, and cer­tainly tracks such as He’s Taken My Feet, Short Life and I Wish I Wish carry a sense of iso­la­tion, ac­cen­tu­ated by the minimalist in­stru­men­ta­tion (with some sur­prises) and his slight, slightly off-cen­tre voice. But this is in­trigu­ing, be­guil­ing mu­sic, bril­liantly dif­fer­ent and yet para­dox­i­cally, strangely fa­mil­iar. Samami­ Down­load: He’s Taken My Feet, Streets of Derry, Short Life Cló lar Chon­nach­tas The Athy whis­tle player brings a largely un­fussy clar­ity to his third solo al­bum. Hughes’s clean tone and keen rhyth­mic sen­si­bil­ity are at their best on the slip jig set, The Boys of Ballysadare, and the pair of jigs, Páidín Ó Raifearta/Sli­abh Rus­sell, with sym­pa­thetic and sub­tle ac­com­pa­ni­ment from Téada’s Seán McEl­wain and Danú’s bodhrán player Don­n­chadh Gough. Hughes’s Achilles heel is not as a player, but in his pro­duc­tion of the pair of slow airs, Táimse im’ Chod­ladh and Slán Le Máigh, which teeter to­wards the brink of be­ing over­wrought, and would most likely have ben­e­fit­ted from solo ren­di­tions. His in­clu­sion of African drums on O’Sul­li­van’s March brings a beau­ti­fully lan­guid still­ness to the mix. For whis­tle play­ers and lovers of bare-boned tunes alike, this col­lec­tion mines a rich seam, well worth ex­plor­ing.

The Beat of the Breath

Sil­ver Wilkin­son

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