Kick Out the Ghosts
Pipedreams started out as the Jimi McRae Band with pipes, electric violin and percussion. They renamed themselves Pipedreams in 2005 and produced some outstanding sounds from the unusual mix of instruments.
The aim of the band appears to be to bring the pipes to the fore in music, and as the notes remind us Jimi "plays the pipes like a lead guitar on some tunes, exploding into feedback." This gives you an idea of what to expect on the album, but still it ambushes you with the unexpected.
Be warned this is not the pipes and drums of the Black Watch. This is modern music for today's audience with its roots in the Scottish tradition but branches everywhere.
"Urban Warriors," the opening track, sets the tone as pipes and fiddle meet, meld, merge and diverge with wit and energy. Various influences permeate this album, and on "Evergreen State," you get Scots settlement, ska and much more.
Did you ever imagine the advent of electronic bagpipes? Listen to the track "Dream Pilot" and experience the wonder of electronics meets tradition.
The vast majority of the tracks and tunes here are new, but on "Battlegroove Shuffle" the band again blends traditional with original.
This album may not appeal to everyone but it should be given a fair hearing. It takes a very traditional instrument, most associated with marching troops, and re-invents it in a modern mold-breaking style that will have young people asking for bagpipes like they once sought electric guitars.
by Nicky Rossiter