Friday, February 3, 2012

Gerry Diver: The Speech Project – review

Alan LomaxCover of Alan Lomax"The idea is certainly original: take a series of interviews with well-known Irish musicians, and then mix short excerpts of speech with instrumental work that follows the rhythms of a spoken phrase. The interviewees include Christy Moore, Shane MacGowan, Damien Dempsey and traditional singer Margaret Barry (heard talking to folklorist Alan Lomax in 1953), and the music is provided by Gerry Diver, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who has worked with MacGowan and Van Morrison. The result is clever and atmospheric, but patchy, despite Diver's painstaking production work and his skills at playing anything from fiddle to dulcimer, harpsichord, whistle, guitar, banjo or bodhrán. The spoken sections are often fascinating but sadly brief, while the music relies more on repetition than melody, with passages where a spoken phrase is perfectly echoed by a fiddle phrase, then repeated with extra instrumentation joining in. The best sections are those where the studio mix is enlivened by the vocal and fiddle work of Lisa Knapp, who tours with the Project next month."

Gerry Diver: The Speech Project – review | Music | The Guardian