Here’s a rave review: http://irishecho.com/2015/12/zero-adds-up-to-great-cd/
“The group itself was Collins’s idea. He brought it together in 2014 with the idea (as stated in the album’s liner notes) “to explore and experiment with the melodic, percussive, rhythmic and harmonic possibilities of the concertina.” His vision was a good one. A range of well-forged playing styles, concertinas of different sizes and pitch ranges, and a unique musical vision, all brought under the umbrella of modern studio technique, have given this fascinating project rich results.”
This is from Irish Music Magazine: IRISH CONCERTINA ENSEMBLE
9 Tracks, 40 minutes
Concertina music is something we usually hear played solo or in a group with other instruments. Here, we have a truly unique ensemble featuring five of Ireland’s finest exponents of the instrument, namely Tim Collins, Míchéal Ó Raghallaigh, Pádraig Rynne, Edel Fox & Caitlín Nic Gabhann. The opening track was composed by the group Director Tim in 2014 to commemorate the millennial anniversary of the death of Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf. This music was premiered at Consairtín: The National Concertina Convention held in Ennis, Co. Clare in 2014.
We hear a beautifully rich group sound; the melody line is enriched greatly with some fabulous harmonies and a descant. The group sound is notably solid and tuneful, with a consistent, lilting rhythm. The Humours of Ballyconnell features a lovely hornpipe, brought to the group by Míchéal. This track is concertina heaven; a beautiful build up of sound showcasing the many different possibilities from simple drones to more complex harmonies, whilst double octaves are used to great effect. Loftus Jones adds an O’Carolan piece to the mix. Sunday Solitude is newly composed by Tim in 2014. This track displays the creative arrangements of this ensemble showcasing the many different soundscapes and capabilities of the concertina. The music is grounded very much in the traditional genre, but there are experimental sounds here adding a contemporary feel to the overall sound.
The Passing of Life is a haunting air written by Pádraig Rynne. It begins solo, progressing on to countermelodies creating a rich musical tapestry of sound. Floor Shark follows an interesting polka written by Pádraig to challenge the group. It’s full, rich, energetic sound is funky and infectious. Aughty Sunrise composed by Tim was inspired by a dawn chorus after a sleepless night at home with baby Oisín. In this track, lots of sound effects are explored including vibrato and chordal arrangements. A richly impressive sound, the full variety of possibilities is explored on this humble instrument. In a nutshell, it sounds like a mini concertina orchestra. A set of reels follows – a rhythmic arrangement taken at a relaxed pace, allowing all the nuances and subtleties of the music to be heard. One might think the track listing is a tad short with only nine tracks; however the tracks are long and carefully arranged to leave the listener feeling drawn to the beautiful sound of this ensemble and wanting to hear more. Full marks for creating a really rich and sweet sound; full–bodied, deeply musical and bursting with creativity.
Edel Mc Laughlin