Iain Morrison’s Eas, his 6th album to be released, is a Scottish folk based collection of songs inspired by ancient traditional piping tunes. Iain was taught the highland bag pipes by his father on the Isle of Lewis where he grew up and with a background in the classical music of the pipes (piobaireachd), he was asked in 2010 by the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, to write songs to for a show based on such melodies. The show, ‘Ceol Mor/Little Music’, received a 5 Star review from The Scotsman . He won Composer of the Year at The Scots Trad Music Awards in 2010.
From the opening track Siubhai, there is an instantly felt undertone of darkness and somberness that seems to run through the whole album. Having said that, to its credit, it doesn’t become overbearing and it draws you in with its warmth of music. With the established melancholic tone, the 8 remaining tracks are, musically, an eclectic array of songs with different instruments and pace and at first seem in no way attached to one another, or at best, a mixed bag of songs composed at random. However, as all good albums seem to, the colours begin to run in to one and after a good listen, it grows into one solid composition that has something different to offer that you didn’t notice before each time you hear a track, which makes it a real grower.
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It’s hard to choose a real stand out track as they are all special, but in no way diminishing any of the other songs, the tune that really is a snapshot of the whole album, is the staggeringly beautiful A flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach. The song begins with a light brush drum beat accompanied by a slow but meaningful 2 chord ritualistic drone on acoustic guitar with the odd piano note thrown in for emphasis here and there. The song appears to be about revenge and the joy and regret involved. “take you to the river and slay you down” “its eye for eye” however, again, the dark undertone is twisted into a moment of beauty before the band joins in to see the song out with a full display more in the style of a traditional folk band.
Here at XS, it’s rare for folk music to feature, but we recognise that good music will shine from whatever corner it stems from, and if it’s not normally your cup of tea, I think this album would be a great way to introduce yourself into its charms. Overall, if you give this album a chance and give it a proper listen, you will find it’s a gem of a work of art and will give you many listening hours of pleasure.