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. facebook.com/ 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. Samamidon.com 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