Traditional Irish Music
Pipes is the brand-new 12 track solo album from piper John Mulhearn. Well known as a performer, composer and full-time teacher at Scotland's National Piping Centre, John will release his latest album on Monday 13 August.
Pipes is John’s first full length album since 2009 and a complete departure from any recordings he has done before. John’s debut album, The Extraordinary Little Cough and his two EPs since have all been full electronic productions, although based on traditional tunes and ideas.
Pipes was recorded at St Mary’s Space, Appin and for John the space it was recorded in is central to the whole project. From the moment John visited the venue he knew the acoustics were perfect for his instrument.
John says: “The sound of the pipes fills a space, no matter how large. It’s a deep, rich, sonorous sound that needs the space to breathe - particularly when the recording is intended to be for a solo record. I knew as soon as I visited St Mary’s Space it was perfect for pipes – we recorded with a large number of mics in various positions – I even got up in the early hours one morning to go out with a portable recorder to capture the sound of the dawn chorus and other ambient sounds from the rural surroundings of St Mary’s.
“Ultimately, the album is as much about the sound of the pipes in the space they were recorded as it is about the tunes and the playing – in some ways it’s even more important. With this album I really want the listener to be able to visualise the space through the way it sounds.”
As a competitive piper, John has competed at the highest levels as a soloist and in numerous pipe bands. With this new album, however, it is not just his playing that will be showcased – having turned his focus strongly to composition over the past couple of years John has written 25 tunes for Pipes, with 90% of them having been composed in the last year.
John has been involved in various projects over the past few years, including The Big Music Society – a project that John and fellow piper Calum MacCrimmon run that creates new performance contexts for pibroch – piping’s ‘classic music’. He has also been an integral part of Tryst - a relatively new collective that features ten of the most creative pipers on the Scottish folk scene today.
With this new release, John has been inspired to do something that is purely about his playing and his ideas on sound. Pipes is focused on John’s solo piping but mixed and ‘produced’ by John using some of the techniques he’s developed from electronic production.
The inspiration for Pipes was drawn from Pipe Major Angus MacDonald’s album Ceol Beag from the Castle that was recorded in the King’s Dining Room in Edinburgh Castle – the trademark sound of Angus’ pipes is beautifully captured in this raw recording.
Upon hearing this track, the idea for Pipes came to John in an instant - he realised that solo piping albums have largely become a thing of the past. Right up until the early 2000’s there were regular releases of solo piping albums, not all capturing the real essence of the instrument and so for John, it was vitally important that the space in which he recorded was right for the instrument he plays and so Pipes, and its unique soundscape was born.
For more information on John please go to: www.johnmulhearn.com
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