Aidan O'Rourke - The Best Of 365
Cat. no: REVEAL155CDX
Release Date: 26th February 2021
The Best of 365 is a masterpiece of new Scottish fiddle music from one of the folk world’s boldest innovators. Steeped in tradition, restlessly breaking new ground, O’Rourke is renowned for the rich grain of his fiddle sound, for the stripped-back lyricism of his phrasing and for penning boundary-defying tunes that are full of ancient truths and off-kilter wit.
In this project, O’Rourke collaborates with celebrated jazz pianist/harmonium player Kit Downes (ECM) to create a unique new duo sound. While in some hands the meeting of folk melody and jazz harmony strays into questionable fusion and risks undermining the integrity of both genres, in the hands of O’Rourke and Downes an extraordinary new language emerges that is exploratory, fresh and profoundly emotive.
The Best of 365 also sees O’Rourke going back to his traditional roots with Edinburgh harpist Esther Swift and Mull guitarist Sorren Maclean. The album’s 30 tracks are an unparalleled showcase of artful fiddle playing and distilled musical storytelling. O’Rourke says: “This Best of is the culmination of a gargantuan four-year mission which has pushed me in so many new directions. Working with Kit, Sorren and Esther has teased out multiple aspects of my playing. James Robertson’s way with words - his wise concision, his tenderness, his rootedness in old
Scottish folk tales and deftness as reworking them - has been an endless source of inspiration. I’ve emerged out the other end of this project a different player and composer, no question.
Certainly I’ve gained a strong instinct that less is more - ironic, yes, given the absurd number of tunes! If not in quantity, in terms of the power of brevity. Perhaps James’s writing encouraged me to leave more space around notes. And for me, that space has provided an essential antithesis to the noisy political backdrop we find ourselves in.’
Praise for 365
SCOTTISH NEW MUSIC AWARD WINNER 2020
“365 is a huge undertaking by an obviously dedicated artist determined to realise an ambitious vision. Sky-high quality and a strong sense of artistic progression - an excellent piece of work”
ALBUM OF THE MONTH : FOLKRADIO.CO.UK
“It’s as if Debussy and Ravel were orchestrating Scottish Folk - truly beautiful” **** SONGLINES
“Stories become music with the same succinct, meaningful style” THE SCOTSMAN
“Exquisite fiddle and thoughtful arrangements on a whole heap of intriguing new music - O’Rourke has significantly raised the bar” LIVING TRADITION
“A huge range of textures - new and unusual - you have to admire O’Rourke as a composer for being so prolific without resorting to repetition or minor variation” LONDON JAZZ NEWS
“An interesting exercise in music responding to James Robertson’s short stories, inspiring some beautiful nuggets from O’Rourke and piano/harmonium player Kit Downes” THE GUARDIAN
“The musicianship is exquisite and each track weaves its tale with ease and creates little sparks of magic along the way - challenging, inspiring and ultimately hugely rewarding, a triumph”
BLUES AND ROOTS RADIO
“Sometimes the tightest parameters inspire the best work” THE FOUNTAIN
“An interesting, and more importantly, successful experimentation in the relationship between literature and music” BRIGHT YOUNG FOLK
CD 1: They Were Sitting Against The Back Wall Of The Pub / She Put On The Headphones, Selected Shuffle / Some Stories Are So Good That They Deserve Repeating In Every Generation / Is That What Brought You All The Way Up Here? / Where Did He Come From, That Man With The Shining Smile? / This Morning You Take A Stroll Out To The Pictish Stone / She Picked Up The Letter Again / ‘Leon!’ He Called, Not Loudly / We Drove Down The Road, Saddened By My Father’s Decline / We Would Never Have Gone Out If We Had Not Intended To Return / When I Was Appointed To My Present Position Three Years Ago / In This Film From 1950 / That Braggart Has It Coming To Him / Dinner Was Over / Nobody Could Be A Hundred Per Cent Sure About The Last Tiger
CD 2: There She Stood In Her Finery, Taking The Air, Tall, Handsome, Proud / My Father And I Are Reading The Papers / I Remember Daft Davie Standing At The Top Of The Hill / It Was An Afternoon Of Possible Magic / Jack Was Walking By The Lochside / I Used Not To Be Able To Read On Buses / The Room Is In Darkness / Once, When I Was About Thirteen / Do People Still Do This? / They’d Start Their Calling Around Midnight / I Met Him Only Once / Before The Beginning There Was Nothing / See That?’ / Jack Was Walking By The Sea / Now Here Are Our Main Stories Again