Normally on this blog I try to keep myself pretty narrowly focused on stuff with at least a tenuous connection to the contra dance world (e.g., other projects of people who play at contra dances). However, when this particular cool thing crossed my RSS feed, I decided to make an exception. People who like Andy Reiner's other project Fiddlefoxx might be interested in The Speech Project by English musician and producer Gerry Diver. He has taken prerecorded footage of live interviews with significant figures in Irish music (folks ranging from accordionist Joe Cooley to Shane McGowan, for those familiar with that scene). The correlation between the speech patterns and the subsequent instrumentation is probably the most apparent in "Old Time Musicians."
Unfortunately for those of us in the U.S., Diver is only taking this show on the road overseas in various Irish venues (with live instrumentation and a pre-looped video of the relevant pieces of the interviews), but listening to his concept and his work on The Speech Project's site reminded me quite a bit of hearing Phase X or Double Apex at work, but with really different recorded sounds as inspiration. A couple of these tracks even approach being square, although that wasn't necessarily the intent going in. I have seen this project called "the closest thing to folk dub[step]" in other reviews, but frankly I'd pit that assertion against the various techno-influenced contra bands over here (although the folk and contra music scenes appear quite removed from one another -- but that's another kettle of fish). Regardless, this is still really neat and the tracks do rather tend to stick with the listener in a lyrical loop.
This project has concluded as of mid-2013 (with an epilogue posted mid-2016) but we hope to see you soon on a contra dance floor! Meanwhile, head over to our Facebook page for upcoming techno contra events and other items of interest.
The 100+ Friday Flourish videos can still be found on YouTube.
I dance with abandon. I play with glowsticks. I look for music that is conducive to one or both. I play behind cameras. I write about all of the above. I'm based in Glen Echo's contra dance community outside of Washington, D.C., but I'm happy to go dance afield when I can. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat.
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