Somewhat different… I was expecting samples and loops, replays and all kinds of high tech gadgetry when I read the publicity but what emerges is distinct even individual. Based on ages old Irish poetry which has buried within it rhythmic possibilities and hints at melody, then translate those intentions onto fiddle and voice, you get Preab Meadar. A mere four years in development, Bracken and Mac Mathuna are dogged in their quest for giving texts from the dark ages a contemporary voice.
This is no way an instant hit, more a fascinating web which pulls you along, it bears patience and repeated plays as vocal and violin are the bare bones, it can be stark but once you begin to take on their mind set, these ancient texts and contemporary writes in style get to work on your critical abilities.
If nothing else it’s a bold experiment dipping into Irish history to explore both light and shade as well as some darker degrees, Cladach an Bhais delves into the more gothic aspects of the Franklin expedition which has been romanticised to such a depth by folk song, this is at least another view. There’s an air of academia through-out which can be a little distracting, all the notes you need are in the CD booklet and I confess I got lost in some of the explanations. Nor am I sure who this is specifically aimed at though it’s a fascinating item and if you’re at all into Irish traditions it’ll be a source of endless wonder.
Just don’t go seeking anything remotely predictable, innovation takes many forms.