English Dance & Song magazine
Angles is the debut album of this three-piece consisting of Cliff Stapleton (hurdy gurdy), Chris Walshaw (pipes/whistles) and Richard Jones (accordion). They’ve been around in different bands for many years, most notably Blowzabella (Cliff), Stocai and Meridian (Chris), the Climax Blues Band, and more recently the Climax Ceilidh Band and Meridian (Richard). This is an album of many levels. The first is a recording of music for French folk dance and it succeeds very well in that role. At another level, it is a collection of modern compositions by English musicians playing in the French tradition, but with much influence from current English ideas about rhythms and arrangements. It is also an interestingly hypnotic recording, described accurately as folktrance. (I’d like to hear the psy-trance remix one day.) The CD is well packaged, with interesting commentaries from the three musicians, rather than the usual notes on the tunes. All tunes on the album are written by the band members, the majority shared between Cliff and Richard, with a single but very melodic piece from Chris called ‘Greenbench’. The contributions from Richard are usually the lighter and more tuneful, as in the Gitane smoke-laden ‘Halfpenny Waltz’. The Stapleton compositions have a darker feel, often made even darker by some menacing gurdy playing and bass suspensions, as in ‘Kicksy-Wicksy’. There is no doubting the musical and technical skills here. All three musicians are expert on their instruments, and play beautifully with, and between, each other. Sometimes I expected the suspensions created to turn into a full-blooded crescendo, as in ‘Masher’, but this doesn’t always happen. I think if I was dancing to them live, the arrangements would feel very different. By the way, don’t be caught out like I was, Cliff Richard isn’t in this band.
fRoots(Vic Smith )
Three highly-regarded musicians combine their considerable talents to bring us their own tunes, composed new music and dance to fit in with European traditions. They all bring their excellent musical pedigrees to this new unit. The majority of the compositions are by their hurdy-gurdy player Cliff Stapleton who has played with top bands since the 1980s including Blowzabella and The Drones. Piper Chris Walshaw worked with Cliff in The Duellists, but has also worked in English-style dance bands including Stocai, Meridian and The Climax Ceilidh Band. Richard Jones'early background was in top rock and blues bands, but his playing is now firmly at the centre of a number of dance bands including The Climax Ceilidh Band and Meridian. So these three have worked together in various combinations before but this sounds like it is going to be a rather special unit. They seem to have hit that very happy combination of making their music very listenable and played to the very highest standards whilst retaining its essential danceable quality. They inform us that most of the album is recorded "as live" with a just a few overdubs and this makes the way their arrangements change and develop the musical texture even more admirable. The tunes are very interesting, very melodic and at times they seem apparently simple but in fact deceptively complex. I am not sure how they have managed to achieve quite unusual key changes on instruments like pipes and hurdy-gurdy; a favourite would be Richard's lovely last waltz, Cherries. It is doubtful that there will be a debut album by an English band that is as exciting as this, this year.
Taplas(Mike Greenwood )
KEEPING tabs on Chris Walshaw is no easy matter. Angles is his latest collaboration, mixing bagpipes and whistles with fellow Climax man Richard Jones' sensitively developed piano accordion on a collection of dance tunes that are unashamedly French in outlook and inspiration yet perfectly English in conception. The cement is supplied by former Blowzabella veteran Cliff Stapleton on hurdy gurdy. He and Jones share composition duties. All compositions will stand up against any Berry or Bourbonnais favourites. Jones, Halfpenny Waltz and his Snow White bourree are excellent examples of the robustness of the band’s writing in the French vernacular.The 2- and 3-time bourrees and schottisches often expose their English origins by refusing to stay in one place. They will shift sideways into a seemingly unrelated key or suddenly develop an unexpected melodic twist, whilst maintaining a rhythm and integrity necessary for the dance. The arrangements are always studied, not haphazard. Jones knows exactly how to stimulate cross-rhythms and form chords between left and right hands whilst Chris revels in developing hypertension in tunes that are outside the natural key of his pipes. Meanwhile the hurdy-gurdy swoops and soars and all is well in this wonderful mix of English intellectualism and French passion!
Folkroddels.be(Bart Vanoutrive )
English instrumental trio knew Gooikoorts to convince their French and Coloured English balfolk confirms this on their first album ... (CD) ANGLES - Untitled (Angles, 505 1078 9178 25) 2010 - 57:48. The neotraditionele, composed music of this trio on hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes and (chromatic) accordion, sprout mainly from the pen of Cliff Stapleton and Richard Jones. The inspiration comes undoubtedly from the European dance tradition and they attract so many immediately sealed doors Anglo-Saxon. Their own personal musical legacy they will not, however inconvenient. Their aim is to bring interesting music, which then also perfectly danceable, and leaves room for the creative use of rhythms and arrangements. Under the heading ANGLES, which was also very evident in the latest edition of Gooikoorts is a very experienced trio hiding. There is Chris Walshaw (English and French bagpipes, wooden concert flute and whistles), which among others also worked on 'THE duelists "a project that was carried further by Nigel Eaton and Cliff Stapleton. Furthermore, we find him back at the ceilidh band and STOCAI ZEPHYRUS, English bagpipe orchestra. He also acts with THE CHASE, in their new spectacle of music and dance, plucked from the European traditions. Richard Jones plays tenlotte in CLIMAX Ceilidh Band and MERIDIAN. Within ANGLES sees his pipes a somewhat anarchic role given, sometimes adding harmony, sometimes just creating tension, but flirting with the melody, they sometimes also to places as they tease and Executive where they are not always entirely comfortable. Usually he plays D bagpipes, but here he lets himself go on bagpipes in and do sol (very soft, built by Sean Jones) needed to deal with the hurdy Cliff Stapleton. The latter is undoubtedly the ancestor of BLOWZABELLA to mention, making him the first four albums achieved. He is one of the figureheads of the French dance music had migrated to England and this is evident on this CD to hear. To his credit are also quite a few original compositions, many of which still belong to the repertoire of BLOWZABELLA. "Man in the Brown Hat has now become an evergreen. With Walshaw worked together initially for the project 'The duelist "(Eaton). He also plays with Andy Cutting and Chris Wood in THE Waltzer. This ends his record does not ... he is spotted in some time now PRIMÆVAL (Breton dance music), with two modern electric bands, and COIL CYCLOBE and around piper Andy Letche. He also does some solo experimental music to accompany the group SPIRO. The third protagonist is Richard Jones, originated in the rock world. He was a bassist and founding member of the CLIMAX BLUES BAND and joined the groundbreaking multi-media group PRINCIPAL EDWARD'S MAGIC THEATRE. In the former group, he later played the keyboards, meanwhile he is also quite proficient on the accordion, which, like a piano at a time can provide the melody and bass line, and also for the rhythmic and harmonic variations can provide. He thus ensures a solid groove, while the emphasis shifts to emphasize the melody and the arrangements evolve. This neotraditionele, composed music of this trio, sprout mainly from the pen of Cliff Stapleton and Richard Jones. The inspiration comes undoubtedly from the European dance tradition (and especially in the historic archenemy France), and they attract so many immediately sealed doors Anglo-Saxon. Their own personal musical legacy they will not, however inconvenient. Their aim is to bring interesting music, which then also perfectly danceable, and leaves room for the creative use of rhythms and arrangements. Most of the songs were recorded live as if they were played, with minimal overdubs, and this emphasizes the power of their arrangements. Their English is mainly to stubbornness often educated in the arrangements which they are not ashamed to make occasional asides to the seemingly non-related key, or go to the freewheeling melody. Again, however, they keep the rhythm tight enough for the dancers not only from the turn. We arrive immediately on the channel with the bourrée "Spider" by Stapleton (composer of this song), heavy on hurdy-gurdy deployed opener which is perfect for riff-income earning through the pipes of the same note, which pinches ornamentation and vibrato can be added . Meanwhile, Jones adds subtle with 7 - and 9-jazzy touch to a nice chords, the mood is right and good. A brilliant counter is then to Jones' much lighter waltz 'Cherries', a song that begs it be worn by whistles, whatever happens, and where Stapleton holds back from the rhythmic beats that he just has very prominent was heard , limiting itself to sway to the melody. Time for a set scottishes than 'Rosy Rouge / Green Bench' or he is again fully in control. In the second part, the only tune arranged by Walshaw, it's the pipes above the accompaniment of the accordion towering. Stretched out on the accordion are the somewhat gloomy distance which whistles and hurdy-gurdy to be grafted in "Masher". The whistle makes no warranty in a lighter texture, with space for further development of the melody. Once well underway, the pipe pulled the handle on the whistle and let the song finally ends in a dysphoric finale, limiting himself to a few elongated arpeggios. The gipsy what color "Halfpenny Waltz", opening on accordion musette style, is the prototype of the style that Jones develops here, which he guarantees the lighter, melodic songs. The bourrée 'Snow White' convinces us of the business that they have developed for the French soul to absorb. Opening in D and ends in C Walshaw provides many challenges to his G-bagpipe alternative lines to figure out as a counterpoint. One of the most rocking song is undoubtedly 'Bluefish', of Stapleton, which is a combative duet unfolds between hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe. For the Scottish 'Centre Ville' is the accordion again that the tone, a tone that is already alternating, this time from G to Bmol. The past Jones' bass guitar helps him to rigorous a bass note to pick one to add excitement to his compositions. By going that he swiftly alternating changes the whole texture of this song. In the illustrious 'Kicksy-Wicksy' comes the somewhat darker side in the compositions (and his mastery on hurdy-gurdy) to participate fully in Stapleton, a melody full of twists and surprises, which he completely solo with percussive key. Hurdy gurdy lovely piece. Settles down again with a sliding musette waltz in 'Norfolk Broads', of course, again a number of Jones, which he can fully enjoy sole power office, and the bagpipe him until the end join with high, minor tones. Brilliant duet between the dotted and the tones of the accordion along the baseline to bagpipe hanging "Indian Summer" before they will join the hurdy gurdy. Driving bass will take the accordion melody before the mazurka '451 'on a line the company receives from the other instruments. "The Wish", an archaic-sounding, stately bourrée three times, Jones has quite the opportunity to unpack with cross-rhythms and poly. The harmonic element is initially quite deliberately kept simple so that a full coda can be built when the chords are added to the end. Valve is the melancholy melody played on the hurdy-gurdy purely 'Ardmeanach "where the whistle is very fragile on rollers. And Stapleton gets the last word. Two objectives are targeted by this trio. First and foremost they want to enjoy themselves in their own composition and arrangement, as with building a new tradition, and a repertoire that working out a listening audience is not much to tempt. Simultaneously, they want their songs get the people dancing. In both areas show themselves true masters. A perfect blend of English and French rationality passion! Balfolk Starred noted. Group members: Chris Walshaw: bagpipes in C and G, whistles in C and G Cliff Stapleton: hurdy-gurdy in G / C Richard Jones: Muzet accordion, guitar More information: