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KAN - Sleeper

KAN - Sleeper
Kan Music  KANCD01

With luminaries of the modern music scene such as Aidan O’Rourke (Fiddles/Loops), Brian Finnegan (Flutes/Whistles), Ian Stephenson (Guitar/Basses/Mandolin/Piano/Harmonium) and Jim Goodwin (Drums/Percussion/Wavedrum/Synthesizer) involved, you would expect a lot from Kan.  While this is undoubtedly a pleasant, excellently produced and presented recording, with some inspired playing, I find that the whole does not exceed the sum of all the parts.  There are a few excellent tunes here, some very clever, some catchy, some driving, but at times it does not create the magic I would have anticipated.

Most of the tunes have been written by members of the band with a couple of traditional items included.  As you would expect from the line-up, there is a jazzy, funky, modern feel to most of the newly composed pieces. The overall feeling is pretty laid back, but at times it washes over you without really getting under the skin.  There are some good tunes here, but I wouldn’t expect many of them to make their way into the tradition as I can’t see them being picked up and played at sessions - but then again, that’s not necessarily their intention.

One of the unique things is the inclusion of some very different percussion from Jim Goodwin, which gives the arrangements an unusual depth and character, and distinguishes the band’s overall sound from similar contemporaries.

By far the best set for me is Marcos which comprises three tunes (two by Brian Finnegan and one by an unspecified Vallelly (presumably Niall?) which are the most traditional sounding pieces in the collection.  Nicely put together with a Flookish feel to the arrangement.
There are lots of very good aspects to this recording, and it will no doubt appeal to many.  Maybe I’m just getting old!

Jim Byrne

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.