Edge of Silence

The Edge of Silence

by Solas
     
 

One of the most delightful transatlantic collaborations in Celtic music today, Solas have turned out another finely crafted fusion of both ancient and modern. It's an eclectic, highly polished mix, but thanks to founder/producer Seamus Egan's sense of the dramatic possibilities of an album, the band's fundamental energy remains most impressive. This one almost…  See more details below

Overview

One of the most delightful transatlantic collaborations in Celtic music today, Solas have turned out another finely crafted fusion of both ancient and modern. It's an eclectic, highly polished mix, but thanks to founder/producer Seamus Egan's sense of the dramatic possibilities of an album, the band's fundamental energy remains most impressive. This one almost functions as a soundtrack of the mind, and the movie's a dark one. From Jessie Colin Young's "Darkness Darkness" to Anje Duvekot's plaintive song of child abuse, "Black Annis," to Tom Waits's bleak "Georgia Lee," Irish vocalist Deirde Scanlon renders up sad modern tales of the lost ones. In between, Egan has interwoven the band's own compositions instrumentals of driving energy, hopeful urgency, and powerful fun: his own Middle Eastern (and alcohol?) inspired "Legless," lightning accordionist Mick McAuley's relentless "Beck Street," and "Charmy Chaplin" by chief fiddler Winifred Horan (not for nothing an Irish step-dancing champion.) They can make even Dylan's "Dignity" into a vivid musical experience. Indeed, Solas is a band that works wonders.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
From the beginning, Solas has been a group that likes to mix it up, blending traditional Celtic melodies with an updated instrumental approach, but their fourth album, 2000's The Hour Before Dawn, found them moving away from the passionate jigs and reels of their earlier work into a more introspective style. The group's fifth disc, The Edge of Silence, finds them venturing even farther down this path; the sessions were produced by Solas leader Seamus Egan in collaboration with Neil Dorfsman, who has previously worked with Dire Straits and Sting, and it's certainly the group's most polished and stylistically diverse work to date. Many of the selections sound as if they're more strongly influenced by new age atmospherics and moody pop styles than anything in the lexicon of traditional Celtic music, and even the most trad-style numbers (such as "Charmy Chaplin" and "Legless") sound significantly more streamlined than this group did on their earlier work; the languid drift of "Black Annis," the subtly anthemic melodicism of their take on Bob Dylan's "Dignity," and electronic percussion textures of "Darkness, Darkness" make it clear Solas are governed less by Irish music's past than their own creative vision of the future. Which is to say that some of the purists who embraced the group's earlier work may be a bit put off by the glossy surfaces and pop-friendly melodies on The Edge of Silence, and once in a while one does miss the bracing fire of something like "The Yellow Tinker/Cranking Out/Master Crowley's #2" from their debut. But the material is strong; this band plays with grace and real passion (fiddler Winifred Horan, guitarist Donal Clancy, and accordionist Mick McAuley are all in superb form), and Deirdre Scanlan's vocals are a thing of beauty. If Solas are moving closer to pop music on The Edge of Silence, they're clearly doing so on their own terms, and with their talents and sense of creative daring very much intact.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/12/2002
Label:
Shanachie
UPC:
0016351784629
catalogNumber:
78046
Rank:
336810

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Solas   Primary Artist
Seamus Egan   Banjo,Flute,Piano,Electric Guitar,Low Whistle,Guitar (Nylon String)
Duke Levine   Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Ben Wittman   Percussion,Piano,Drums
Winifred Horan   Fiddle,Viola,Vocals
Chico Huff   Electric Bass
Mick McAuley   Vocals,Piano-Accordion,Low Whistle,Button Accordion
Donal Clancy   Bouzouki,Guitar
Antje Duvekot   Vocal Harmony
Deirdre Scanlan   Vocals

Technical Credits

Seamus Egan   Arranger,Producer
Neil Dorfsman   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Ted Jensen   Mastering
David West   Arranger
Winifred Horan   Arranger
Mick McAuley   Arranger
Donal Clancy   Arranger
Didem Atahan   Graphic Design

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