I have decided to make this EP 'pay what you want'. Please, if your income has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 crisis, download it for free and I hope you enjoy it.
Likewise if you contributed to my EP fundraiser or PayPal during the livestreams, I'm am eternally grateful, please download it for free.
Not since 'Decemberwell' in 2011 have I recorded something 'solo' - just me layering up different sounds. This was a real challenge, but one I'm glad I set myself during lockdown. I learned a lot and am proud to have 4 new tracks to share with you.
Nothing is ever truly 'solo'. No man is an island. This little record wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement of my friends and family, the many skilled instrument makers (esp. Rory Dowling, Taran Guitars), the designer of the microphone valve, the computer chip makers, software engineers and digital signal process experts, and most of all Peter Beckmann who mastered my mixes, and takes real care in everything he does and has made a huge contribution to the finished 'polish' and 'heft' of the sound.
I hope you like the music. There are 4 distinct tracks here but I think they hang together and take you on a wee journey.
released June 5, 2020
Recorded and mixed by Mike Vass at home, May 2020
Mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technologyworks
Artwork by Anna Colliton
Mike Vass plays
Fiddle no. 1 in standard + Bb tunings (Daniel Moinel a Paris 1939)
Fiddle no. 2 in Bb + an odd tuning on track one that shouldn't really have worked but I ran with it (F#, Eb, Bb, F)
Mike Vass signature model tenor guitar (Rory Dowling, Taran Guitars 2019)
Sobell Tenor Guitar (Stefan Sobell, 2001)
Blueridge Tenor Guitar BR-60T
Warren Ellis signature model Electric Tenor (Eastwood guitars)
A style Mandolin (Newson, 1983)
Ibanez long scale artist series tenor banjo (1970s)
Dulcitone (Made in Glasgow, 1910s)
Handpan (hang drum like instrument)
Low Eb whistle (thanks for the accidental loan Mairearad Green)
Various bits of home made hand percussion from around the house
Arturia pigments (synth bass sounds) - I bought an electric bass for this recording but it's harder than it looks.
supported by 37 fans who also own “Man Alone With Himself”
Kinnaris Quintet alternates wonderfully between sweet warmth and rapturous joy. They accomplish what all good folk music aims at. It's very difficult to make an instrumental album of this length not start to all sound the same, but every track on Free One is so well constructed as to be chapters of a moving story, finally deeply satisfied by the conclusion of the title track. By jolts and false starts it alludes to brokenness without drowning in it. It's full of a realism that sees the ugliness of the real world and yet chooses joy, and this to me is what it truly means to be free. gripraven