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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:55 am 
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I'm really excited folks! So apologies if I burble ...

The CD I've been working on with my very good friend Gregorio Bellodi, uilleann piper extraordinaire, is out! And I can't tell you how proud I am of it. It's as trad as we could make it - almost entirely fiddle and pipes, some tracks with whistle and/or flute, and no accompaniment. We've managed to get a huge amount of variety out of just those instruments, and I'm as pleased as punch. :) I've only had the thing in my hands since Thursday, and sales are going well so far.

If you'd like a copy please PM or email me.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:44 pm 
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Well, the first batches of CDs have been sent out. Folks - if you've bought one, let me know what you think of it - hell, let everyone know. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:02 pm 
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Good luck with it Ben I hope it does really well

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:10 pm 
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Congrats, Ben. It looks exciting.

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And in light of all your volunteer labour here, I think you should abuse your mod powers and make this thread a sticky for a while. Nano, if ben won't, you should.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:22 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
And in light of all your volunteer labour here, I think you should abuse your mod powers and make this thread a sticky for a while. Nano, if ben won't, you should.

Most kind of you, but it's precisely because of being a mod that, from the start, Ben's been very concerned that he not overstep any bounds. So, I expect he'd likewise rather not appropriate any special privileges in this regard, as well. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:58 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
Congrats, Ben. It looks exciting.

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And in light of all your volunteer labour here, I think you should abuse your mod powers and make this thread a sticky for a while. Nano, if ben won't, you should.

Thanks s1m0n.

No sticky, useful though that may be. I'm hoping that the few first people who buy this thing will describe it, and that that may get the thing around well enough. :)

I do appreciate your recognition of the work that Nano and I do. Thank you.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:40 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I'm hoping that the few first people who buy this thing will describe it

Mine came today, it's on just now and I'm just past the mooing cows...

Will try to come back with something more useful in time! :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:02 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I'm hoping that the few first people who buy this thing will describe it

Mine came today, it's on just now and I'm just past the mooing cows...

Will try to come back with something more useful in time! :wink:

Did you like the cows? :)

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:11 pm 
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They're good, strong cows, Ben! Also noting some interesting instrumental sounds in other places (like the drone in the last of the polkas and the ghostly whistle (?) and tremolos in the, um, secret track).

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:22 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
They're good, strong cows, Ben! Also noting some interesting instrumental sounds in other places (like the drone in the last of the polkas and the ghostly whistle (?) and tremolos in the, um, secret track).

Ah! You found the secret track then? It's different from the rest of the album - separate - which is why we put it as a ghost track.

The cows really are good and strong. If you'd met them ... :shock: Seriously, they're huge! :)

I like the various fiddle drones - including that drone in the last of the polkas. Interesting that you picked up on it. You describe them as "interesting instrumental sounds" - good interesting, or bad interesting? :)

The whistle on the ghost track is a Reyburn Bb. My whistle; Greg's playing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:20 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
You describe them as "interesting instrumental sounds" - good interesting, or bad interesting? :)

A wee review for you, Ben...

'Apart from a few natural sounds recorded in or near the recording studio, all sounds made on this recording were made by Ben and Greg on fiddle, flute, whistles and pipes. No other instruments were used and no cows were harmed in the making of this CD.'

So Ben's told us at C&F they've got 'a huge amount of variety out of just those instruments'... what have I actually spotted? Well, footsteps and a creaking door to take you in and out of the supposed venue, some strong-mooing cows with birdsong, lots of fiddle and uilleann pipes, some judicious multitracking with occasional subtle flute/whistle enhancement, some substitution of fiddle drones (both high and pitch-shifted low) for pipes, some sounds less associated with trad but still organically integrated (like the fiddle tremolos in the ghostliest of jigs)... and nice, understated regulator work that's more subtle timbral colour than 'in your face' extra.

While many of the tunes were new to me as someone not particularly well versed in Irish repertoire, and some are likely to be new to all as composed by Greg and Ben, we've also got some beyond well-known... not that I'll ever tire of Colonel Fraser! What's common to all, however, is a lovely sense of pacing; we've got generally relaxed but never draggy tempos with stable pulse and plenty of lift.

Some tracks I'm going to have to comment on, like the solo fiddle version of Port na bPúcaí with sleeve note telling us Ben just loves this tune and (in more words than I've used here) hoping we get it too. So do I? Have to admit I was only half listening when it came on for the first time (out of three so far), so was quite caught off guard by the long (pipe-style?) slides against double-stopped support. It's a sound that's got obvious emotional content but is simultaneously almost austere, with every nuance or fluctuation of intonation exposed like nowhere else on the album. It's grown on me with every hearing, but it's not the easy listen I doubt Ben wanted anyway.

Then what about the following set of hop jigs, with sleeve note warning 'maybe a touch on the slow side'? Since I really don't know how hop jigs are supposed to go, I'll just have to agree with the preceding statement, 'There's a great rhythm to these tunes', because there is... it's unusual, and really quite infectious in the best sense of the word!

Good too to have Lord Gordon's, which I learned on whistle from the playing of Vinnie Kilduff, used to do as a solo with our (then) band c.25 years ago, but have rarely heard since... a fine counterpart to Colonel Fraser elsewhere on the album!

But perhaps my favourite track of all is (?)... the ghostly jig. And you'll just have to find that one and work it out for yourselves, because it really is strikingly 'different'.

As for sound, the arrangements all work for me. There's some (as I said, judicious) multitracking, not just to add that subtle flute or whistle (not sure who's actually playing which where except Greg's more prominent, but still ghostly, whistle in that ghost jig), but also layer more fiddle etc. The whole experience is enhanced by really nice, clear recording, and you get a well-filled CD at over 77 minutes.

Now someone who knows more than me about this music needs to say more of real value/usefulness. But I'm liking the album a lot, which is more than enough to recommend it... for sure I bought it to support Ben as well as see what he can do, but it's obvious he can do plenty, so buy it because he's told us he's proud of it and I'm telling you he should be! :)

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Last edited by Peter Duggan on Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:08 pm 
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Peter, thank you so much for your kind words. Greg and I are indeed very proud of it, and I'm glad you are finding something of value in what meant so much to us.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:40 pm 
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Ben—

Congratulations on the CD release and what seem to be quite solid reviews. You sound happy and proud of what you've produced—good on ye.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:23 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Ben—

Congratulations on the CD release and what seem to be quite solid reviews. You sound happy and proud of what you've produced—good on ye.

Best wishes.

Steve

Thanks Steve. Much appreciated. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:55 pm 
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I received my CD on Sat. 1/13 and gave a quick listen to a few tracks not knowing what to expect. After a busy weekend I sat down this morning 1/15 to give the CD a proper close listening; close listening as best I can with the developing ear for the nuances in traditional music. I did know from the start that I liked the liner notes stating instruments fiddle, flute, whistles, and pipes. No accompaniment, I like that, just the few instruments mentioned which allows me to hear the instrument(s) and the music. The CD is exactly the type of CD that I prefer while leaving out the electronic enhancements and possessing no big band head banging for commercial purposes. Gregorio Bellodi and Ben Hall two musicians, masterful I might say, and a few instruments playing traditional tunes. Simple! This CD is one of the cleanest and purest I've ever listened to.

I occasionally play the lottery (Pick 3) here in CT with wild picks for numbers so I am going to use my early favorite tracks from the CD, #7, #10, #11 on the next occasion. I could've picked more tracks however these tracks immediately stood out. Track #10 'Port na bPucai' a beautiful air. Who doesn't like an air in traditional music? Lovely! and I've listened to other versions on other CDs, simply beautiful. Track #11 tune set is wonderful, but, at 2:43 I'm a tune magnet towards 'The Dusty Miller' and probably have listened to this tune by everyone. OK, so I've replayed Ben and Gregorio's track #11 more than a few times so far (r'cvd 1/13) and am sure I'll be wearing the plastic CD thin with replays. I love 'The Dusty Miller' track and a mighty big thank you for including the tune on the CD.

I highly recommend everyone getting a copy of Tonight At Paddy Mac's. And if I also play the horses yes I'm going to play 7-10-11 on race day!

Kudos to Ben and Gregorio.


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