Something’s Going On: Conflux
Conflux Limerick is happening on Saturday 17th November, and comprises a feast of music with 20 bands performing across 4 stages at 2 venues; Bourkes Bar and The Blind Pig/Dr John’s. The lineup features some of the most promising and exciting Irish acts in recent years: Rusted Rail’s Cubs, Aine O Dwyer, Driftwood Manor and The Great Balloon Race.
Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
This supergroup of Irish musicians are rooted in the folk tradition and take it further, pushing the sonic envelope, creating new horizons of sublime beauty. Free folk for the 21st Century, where the tradition of folk music is intertwined with the fabric of cinematic soundscapes and beguiling field recordings. Cubs is truly a wonderful and precious thing. Their latest release ‘Willowfield’ (Rusted Rail, 2012) and ‘The Whispering Woods’ (Rusted Rail/DeadSlackString, 2010) are quite simply the best independent releases from Ireland for years and years. Listening to Cubs’ music allows escapism of the truest kind. The warm textures, sonic wonder, spontaneous sparks and divine melodies fuse together, creating Cubs’ wholly unique folk sound. Planxty, Bert Jansch, Anne Briggs, John Fahey, Mark Kozelek can be heard, dotted across a landscape of cinematic wonder and psych delight. One listen to Cubs and the listener instantly becomes transfixed. Cubs will perform their first gig of 2012, and their first in years at the Conflux festival, Limerick.
Aine O’ Dwyer
I was late in discovering Aine O’ Dwyer’s music. It was the home of the Second Language label where I (indirectly) came across this gifted musician. Last year’s treasured gem ‘I Lived In Trees’ by Mark Fry and The A. Lords was my avenue into Aine O’ Dwyer’s beautiful music. The harpist adds dreamy soundscapes to the A. Lords’ divine tapestry of warm, pastoral sounds. Soon, I discovered more collaborations on the same label-from Piano Magic to The Cloisters. Plugd introduced me to O’ Dwyer’s ‘Music For Church Cleaners’. An album of church organ music performed by Aine in St Mark’s Church, Islington. The spiritual music possesses this meditative power throughout with melancholic shades of colours. Amazing. I can’t wait to see Aine O’ Dwyer in concert and playing directly after Cubs, the prospect is simply mouth-watering!
The Great Balloon Race
The Great Balloon Race are one of the most exciting bands emerging from Cork for quite some time. I love the feel of their songs-this hidden dimension is tapped into. I see them sharing the spirit of Grizzly Bear, with their mesmerizing song cycles of progressive harmonies and immaculate arrangements. ‘Pockets’ is sublime. The song builds with multi-layered harmonies, percussion and gorgeous guitar tones. ‘Grog’ is a divine jazz exploration that echoes Tortoise. I simply can’t wait for their debut album, to be released in a few weeks time. A truly great band.
I saw these guys perform live in Plugd, Cork a few months back. Their special blend of folk and traditional music encompasses worlds of sound, from psych folk to traditional music forms. Similar to Cubs and the Rusted Rail roster of talents, boundaries are blurred and truly transcendent music is lifted from the underground. On the band’s most recent release, ‘A Cross Atop A Hill’, Eddie Keenan’s songcraft and musicianship is wonderfully on display. The title-track contains drifting piano melodies amidst field recordings. ‘The Crossing’ is an epic folk opus. Layers of guitars, banjo and bouzouki are plucked and strummed beneath Keenan’s glorious baritone.
Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon
As with all things Rusted Rail, this is yet another compelling sonic venture from the west. Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon is the collaboration between Aaron Hurley and Scott McLaughlin. The band experiment with many sounds and styles-indie rock, shoegaze, folk, intertwine in their compelling creations.
The artists mentioned above are just five of the twenty or more acts that will perform on the day from 3PM to 2AM. (22 Acts, 4 Stages, 2 Venues, 1 Day)
Conflux Limerick is happening on Saturday 17 November 2012.