Eoin Dillon

The Third Twin

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The bagpipes are an instrument that tends to divide the world into two camps. But Ireland's uilleann pipes are much less divisive than their Highland relatives, thanks to their relative softness and greater expressive flexibility; like the Irish flute, uilleann pipes can be thrilling or heartbreaking, and sometimes both. Eoin Dillon is the piper for the excellent traditional Irish group Kila, and on his solo debut he is accompanied with tasteful minimalism by (in varying combinations) bouzouki player Proinsias Tate, guitarist Desmond Cahalan, and fiddler Steve Larkin. What makes this album so unusual is that it does not include any traditional folk melodies; all but two of the tunes on the program are original compositions (albeit in a generally traditional style) by Dillon himself, and most of them are brilliant. "Paddy's Perambulation" is a quirky sort of waltz; "Australian Kiss" is a joyful reel with a wonderfully sprightly melody; "The Moon on Me Back" is a gorgeous slow air, which is then followed by the less distinguished "Bearna Waltz." The aptly titled "Length of Space" is a bit drony and repetitious, but the double-tracked pipes sound fantastic; the slightly overlong "First Ave." ends the program on a slightly meandering, unfocused note. For all of its surface charms, The Third Twin also conceals significant musical depths, and Dillon's talent as a composer is just as impressive and nearly as startling as his technical piping skills.

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