on November 13, 2003
Although "Luna Park" was released in November `03 here in the states, I was lucky enough to be in Ireland in June and bought the CD after hearing excerpts played at a record store. It has been on my CD player constantly since.
Whether you are already a Kila fan, or just wandered onto this site by accident, please read on. Kila is a seven member Irish band that plays anything but the schmaltzy so-called Irish music that's all the rage today. I have been listening to rock, folk, country, Irish, classical, and world music for a half decade, and I have rarely been knocked off my feet the way I was hearing this CD.
Luna Park draws the best from rock, folk, country, Irish, classical, and world music, and the resultant, eclectic blend is unique and nothing short of a masterwork. The group--which has been together for more than a decade--spent a full year crafting this album, benefiting from unrestricted use of their own recording (and rerecording) studio. The numbers are layered with traditional Irish instruments, (Uileann pipes, Bodhran etc.) folk and pop standbys (fiddle, guitar, hammered dulcimer, bass) and world music implements (shakers, maracas, bouzouki). When they'd gotten it all on tape, legendary producer Mick Glossop (Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa) did the mix down-at Kila's request--so egos of he band would not get in the way of their artistry.
The opening number, "Glanfaidh Me," is nine minutes long, and is a sonic and rhythmic festival that makes Phil Spector's concept-if not style-of Wall of Sound seem like a piccolo player noodling in a cornfield. While Kila itself is only seven talented musicians, through multitracking seemingly every acoustic and rhythm instrument invented, the sound is huge on this tune, and for much of the album. For this number they add a string quartet multitracked into an orchestral string section, and a handful of angelic voices who sing as large as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Add to that a propulsive percussion section and the number is propelled to unimaginably intense rhythms and power. There's even a classical tenor along for the ride.
There are two other nine minute-plus pieces on the album, which-while less orchestral-- also contain the power and the polyrhythmic thrust of the opening tune. The effect is exhilarating.
Another song, Grand Hotel, at a more modest six and a half minutes, nevertheless manages to work in three different sub movements, each with its own intense rhythm signature and individual musical flair. Each flows seamlessly to the other.
There are ballads here too, both instrumental and sing in Irish (Gaelic), but it is the rhythm and sheer audacious imagination that makes this album a giant step above Kila's impressive earlier work.
I can't give an overall categorization of Kila's music-it is as if they have invented their own category. They leave other modern/trad Irish bands in their wake. The music crosses boundaries with its very joyousness, power, and craftsmanship. They deserve to be discovered and listened too.
on April 24, 2004
What an amazing album. I heard them play live on an NPR show in my car and I fumbled to find something to write their name on. This music is soulful and beautiful. The CD takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion and wonderment from track one to the end. It is my favorite CD for anytime: relaxing, working, driving, etc. Their sound is fresh and imaginative. If you have it play it, if you don't get it. You won't be dissaopinted!
I picked this record up in Ireland this summer and it blew me away. My roots are more in jazz than in pop music or, especially, Celtic music. At times, Kila reminds me of the long, free pieces of the first Mahavishnu Orchestra --walls of sound starting soft and small and growing in intensity and depth, music built on riff rather than long melody lines, a battery of subtlely shifting percussion and bass riding behind it. I could do without the one ballad --the singer is adequate, the melody plods, it isn't interesting melodically or harmonically as is the rest of the album. But this is small potatoes. Kila is a marvel, worth listening to by jazz, rock and Celtic music fans. I've been listening to and buying jazz for fifty some years, rock, pop and classical music for almost thirty years, and world music almost as long. This is one of the best albums I've heard in the past decade. Dave K. in Dubai.
on March 11, 2004
I haven't stopped listening to Luna Park since I bought it. It's impossible to categorize the music because it spans a broad spectrum - there are so many layers to it (and I'm not talking solely engineering) that it's phenomenal. Ronan O Snodaigh's voice is not your stereotypical Gaelic voice, and it's just mesmerizing. You'll be hooked after hearing "Glanfaidh Me". Colm O Snodaigh's voice is more traditional - "Maith Dhom" is haunting and beautiful- but the instrumental tracks are the ones that keep me hitting the continuous play button, especially "Grand Hotel" and "Baroki".