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Pipedown, The First Measure.

This album starts well, with a tune ‘Rebel without Applause’ by Dougie Campbell of the David Urquhart Pipe Band, and it finishes well with a smashing rendition of Hamish Moore’s ‘Tan McGee’s Romanian Boots.’

In between there is an eclectic mix of music from composers old (Norman MacLean/Donald MacLeod) and new (Paul Ritchie/Don Bradford), mixing traditional Scottish, Irish, Breton and even Bulgarian influence in effective - if somewhat rootless - combination.

The playing on pipes by Lee Moore of County Tyrone is technically faultless, rhythmically tight and on a very pleasant instrument, however the album lacks variety on two counts: it is crying out for a good slow air, or tune in slow time of any sort, to balance the rest of the sets in assorted jig/reel/hornpipe tempos. A typical pipe band-style rendition of a short 2 part air ‘The Last of the Tinkers’ is not enough and we begin to tire of the continual upbeat rhythms.

It also appears that Mr Moore cannot play a strathspey, which is rather disappointing, since he obviously has plenty of technical ability. This album might have been better billed as “Solo piper Lee Moore plus accompanying musicians” than as a band because while the accompanying musicians certainly enhance the tunes, giving sympathetic chordal and per- cussive background, there is not enough interaction between them, and all the melodies are pipe-driven with not enough variation.

Perhaps as a relatively new band there is still room for experimenting with line-ups and sounds but we could do more to hear from the non pipe players in the band. More sleeve notes on the CD would also have been appreciated, particularly to know whose make of both Highland and smallpipes were being played.

Rona Macdonald