Over the last 10 years you can count the number of studio-only pipe band CDs on one hand. Bands far prefer the concert recording now, but I think there’s a real creative hole that’s missed.
Where “solo” studio CDs like those from Chris Armstrong, Michael Grey, Stuart Cassells and RS MacDonald are using engineering and mixing to extend the art, creativity on most pipe band CDs stops at the ubiquitous conga drum and perhaps a Celtic-folk-rock combo between drone-tunings. Solo pipers are doing much more with recordings today than bands.
Yes, “live” pipe band CDs are easier to make; they’re cheaper, safer, and more quickly completed – but the end-products are getting repetitive and boring.
It’s time that a band went into the studio for a good long spell and made something that turned the band idiom on its ear. Okay, so it might not be a product that can be entirely recreated on the stage, but, if done well, creativity in the studio will trickle down to live performances, including the contest field.