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Central And Remote: Katie Kim

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“You really don’t know if it’s day or night when you’re in there and that was more than perfect for me. Every now and then, you’ll hear the trains approaching and rolling above your head and it’s one of the most beautiful sounds.”

—Katie Kim

Words: Mark Carry, Photographs: Terry Magson

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One of Ireland’s finest and most intriguing songwriters, Dublin-based and Waterford-born Katie Kim has two albums to date, beginning with the 2008 debut solo album “Twelve” and 2012’s seminal masterwork, the double album “Cover&Flood”. Also available is “The Feast”, a collection of ten previously unreleased remixes of songs from “Cover&Flood” while the “VALUTS” series compiles various unreleased songs. The highly anticipated third studio album ‘Salt’ will be released on the 14th October 2016 (500-limited heavy weight vinyl can be pre-ordered here). “Salt” was recorded in a self-built recording and artist space in Dublin called Guerrilla Studios which has become an integral part of the Independent Irish music scene. Since Cover and Flood Katie has toured the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium playing mostly sold out venues.

Katie Kim has supported the likes of Low and Slint to date and her influences stem from the realms of experimental, folk, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient and outsider folk. Kim’s distinctive sound is characterized by her fragile vocals, breath-taking lyricism and a constant striving for both purity and simplicity in her truly unique and utterly beguiling recorded output (akin to Grouper’s Liz Harris or early period Cat Power) casting a deeply profound spell on the listener in turn.

Delving into Katie Sullivan’s cherished songbook, the listener is catapulted deep inside a realm of raw emotion and blissful transcendence. The home recordings captured on debut full-length ‘Twelve’ shared the glittering spark of Cat Power’s deeply-affecting songbook (particularly ‘Moon Pix’ or ‘You Are Free’) where a lo-fi warmth and wonderful minimalism floats beneath the Irish songstress’s deeply-affecting voice. ‘Oak Tree’, the album’s towering penultimate track is a sparse folk blues ballad that could just as easily be one of Chan Marshall’s eerie folk tales.

The sonic envelope is pushed much further on the 2012 follow-up ‘Cover&Flood’, revealing soaring soundscapes and immaculate instrumentation. The introspective, slow-burning songs (twenty tracks across this defining double-record) and utterly hypnotic quality almost immediately felt like songs you’ve known all your life. The timeless nature of ‘Cover&Flood’ is exactly the reason why the soon-to-be-released follow-up ‘Salt’ comes with such feverish excitement and genuine anticipation. It is clear from the album teaser, ‘Salt’ sees the revered musician explore deeper into the ethereal dimension, for which she has long ago established.

‘SALT’ will be released on 14th October 2016 (500-limited heavy weight vinyl) can be pre-ordered HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/DANCEKATIEKIMDANCE/
https://katiekim.bandcamp.com/

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Interview with Katie Kim.

Huge anticipation surrounds your forthcoming full-length release of ‘Salt’, which reflects again just how special and wholly unique your sacred songbook is to so many people. I would love for you to discuss the making of the new record? In terms of the recording and sonic terrain explored on ‘Salt’, the songs go deeper and further than ever before and creates a most captivating experience in turn. Please shed some light on your priorities/objectives you had in mind for the new record? I can also imagine the simple factor of time (being on your side) – and allowing the songs to slowly evolve and blossom – also helped shape these new songs into glittering life?

Katie Kim: Before this year I was always writing or playing. At home mostly and then bringing new half formed songs to live shows and playing them for a while before I got bored and moved on to the next one. So I nearly always have all these little “things” hanging around sometimes getting played, sometimes not, sometimes I record them at home, sometimes not. So the ones that stayed with me, I made part of SALT. Sonically it was a partnership with John Murphy. He brought it to quite a dark place. I mean we had to trim a lot off the endings of many songs where he went deeper and deeper into great big guttural soundscapes because we wouldn’t be able to fit them on the vinyl otherwise. So we had to meet a happy medium. Regarding time though, it was never an issue. Well I suppose actually it is, because I can’t spend too much time on anything or it loses life. It degrades for me.

The recording space is vital to the (resultant) sound of an album. On previous releases such as the seminal ‘Cover&Flood’, I fell in love with that DIY aesthetic/home recording warmth that permeates throughout those sparse recordings. ‘Salt’ sees you recording in a self-built recording and artist space in Dublin. What were your first impressions of the space itself and what do you feel led you to choose Guerilla Studios as the recording space for the latest album? I would love to gain an insight into the studio itself and what were the equipment and actual set-up utilized for sculpting these new tracks?

KK: Well we all (meaning John, myself, Ian Chestnut and Elly from Percolator) were looking for a rehearsal space /potential recording studio for John, in Dublin and a project didn’t scare us. In fact, it was preferable. So a big one fell through and we came across the three arches on the North Strand road. Under a railway track. It was an old garage. Patrick Kelleher’s rehearsal space was next door. It was reasonable, so we took it and started the work. I can’t claim much of the hard graft mind! But I painted and cleaned and scrubbed to help until it was what it is presently.

So we had a place to play, John had a place to record, so organically SALT had to be created there. I’ve never felt so comfortable recording than I did there. John has a mix of beautiful vintage tape machines and a big old wooden analogue mixing desk along with some digital equipment, but the main feeling is one of quietude. You really don’t know if it’s day or night when you’re in there and that was more than perfect for me. Every now and then, you’ll hear the trains approaching and rolling above your head and it’s one of the most beautiful sounds.

The single ‘Foreign Fleas’ – released last year – gave a lovely taster in many ways of the new sonic explorations you’ve been gravitating towards. For example, the masterful production and beautifully sculpted layers of drone-infused sound conjures up the sound of Portishead or Grouper’s Liz Harris. Can you talk me through the production stage itself and indeed the collaborative process between you and John Murphy. I can imagine it must be very rewarding to witness how the bare bones of a song is transformed as a result of the subsequent happenings undertaken by the various music-making stages?

KK: It was very relaxed. John is part of my band, so I never felt like I couldn’t say anything if I was uncomfortable with the way things were progressing. I’m the first to admit I can be extremely particular. I know this has sometimes been problematic in the past when working with people in other areas but with John, we really understand each other, so it was fun and I learned from him and for him he was interested in the vocal production element so we bounced well off each other. It was a really fluid organic process.

I fondly recall your live show in Cobh at the Sirius Arts Centre last year. The hypnotic effect created by your looped harmonies unleashes an ocean of raw emotion, which belongs in its own realm of utter transcendence. This magic and sheer beauty is etched across the canvas of ‘Salt’, where an intimacy is forever captured. Can you talk me through the layering process and particularly for your voice? I also love the minimal nature of the music formed but just how much is obtained from a minimal framework. I imagine there are some challenges posed by adding layers and knowing when you have enough, so to speak?

KK: The looping began because I felt quite bare when I initially started playing live. When I recorded I would go down wormholes for hours adding layers upon layers of vocals and I missed that when I played in public. So I bought the pedal and it became an extension of the live show which I really had fun with. It’s the looping that people would really grab onto at shows and still do, but I’d hate for it to become a gimmick. So I’m trying not to rely too much on it these days, getting ready for the upcoming shows. It’s a little trickier now that I play quite a bit more piano, but I still like to use it for sonic reasons here and there. Knowing when enough is enough is purely due to technical reasons. After a certain point the sound starts to distort and although I don’t mind that, it doesn’t translate well in venues. Otherwise I could lose the run of myself. It would probably be horribly self-indulgent!

Collaboration is an important part to your music, Katie. I would love to gain an insight into the collaboration between you and Crash Ensemble for instance, who will be arranging your new songs for a special show? The new perspectives a collaborative partner must bring to your own music must always feel quite revelatory and as a listener, gives new insight into a musician’s music. I also love the many other collaborations you have been part of, not least the beautiful ‘Some Blue Morning’ – and subsequent European tour – by Adrian Crowley.

KK: I’m so excited for The Crash show. Sean Clancy is spearheading the arranging and he’s an absolute master. It’s good to collaborate when it’s right. Sometimes it doesn’t always fit. Even though all the numbers look right on paper, the solution isn’t always the right one. It’s happened a few time in the past, so it’s great when something works. Like Some Blue Morning. I think that’s such a beautiful album. When Adrian sent the songs over for me to hear and play around with, I didn’t have to spend any time sitting with them. I felt like I’d known them already, for a long time.

What were your earliest musical memories, Katie? I wonder how soon did you realize the importance music would have in your life? I love how each record of yours represents a special document – and distinct moment in time -yet each one very much belongs to one distinct realm of endless possibilities. Who were the musical voices that guided you on your own musical path?

KK: It’s been fairly well documented by me that The Carpenters, Mariah Carey and Queen were my childhood! But kneaded into all that I remember my sisters having the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack and Julee Cruise’s voice was the most mysteriously beautiful thing I had ever heard up to that point. Most young girls sing with the hairbrush in the mirror and I was no different, but I remember buying a little notebook when I was very young. Maybe 8 or 9 to write songs in. I had no instrument at that time but I would just make up melodies to go along with them, so that may indicate a deeper interest in songwriting.

Lastly, I’d love to know what records, films, books that have made a big impact on you, Katie?

KK: So many. The most formative time for me was around 14. I got my first guitar, me and my friends started smoking and drinking and discovering people like Harmony Korine and Larry Clarke. “Kids” was a mind blower when I first watched it. We were all deathly silent watching that movie together in my first boyfriends house. Watching that for the first time as a teenager in Waterford was eye opening. I loved documentaries. I watched Instrument repeatedly. There’s a beautiful Low documentary that follows them around on tour [“Low In Europe”, Plexifilm, 2004] that I had but was taken at a party and I could never find it again. Don’t Look Back and The Year That Punk Broke, Jean Michel Basquiat The Radiant Child. I wore tapes and CD’s out. Cocteau Twins Treasure, Radiohead’s Amnesiac, Elliott Smith Either Or, Low I could live In Hope, Cat Power – Everything. Stina Nordenstam – Everything. Sibylle Baier Colour Green, Beck One Foot In The Grave, Sonic Youth Evol, John Jacob Niles, John Lennon, Sebadoh, and I can’t forget Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral. I listened to that record for 5 straight years.

Books – The Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave (this was a big one for me and inspired more than one track on Cover & Flood) In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, and more recently The First Bad Man by Miranda July is weirdly wonderful.

Movies have probably inspired me musically more than anything else. I loved and still do love a well compiled soundtrack, whether it be an original score or otherwise. Big ones for me would be Gummo, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Kids, The Doom Generation, The Tree of Life soundtrack is heart-breaking.

 

‘SALT’ will be released on 14th October 2016 (500-limited heavy weight vinyl) can be pre-ordered HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/DANCEKATIEKIMDANCE/
https://katiekim.bandcamp.com/

Katie Kim performs with Crash Ensemble at the Engage Arts Festival, Bandon, Cork on Friday 30th September at The Court House, Bandon (TIX & INFO HERE).

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present XYLOURIS WHITE (Greece’s George Xylouris plus Dirty Three’s Jim White) with very special guest KATIE KIM at the TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork on Friday 28 October (TIX & INFO HERE).

 

Written by admin

September 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E5 | May mix

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For May’s mixtape we are delighted to present a pair of exclusive tracks by two of Ireland’s finest songwriters: Adrian Crowley and Katie Kim.

Since his debut release at the turn of the century (“A Strange Kind”), Adrian Crowley has quietly established himself as one of the finest songwriters of his generation. With seven studio albums to date (Crowley’s most recent record is “Some Blue Morning”, released in 2014 via Glasgow-based label Chemikal Underground) Crowley’s reputation has been built upon his poetic lyricism, distinctive baritone and a natural gift for storytelling. Presented here exclusively for this mix is Adrian Crowley’s haunting cover version of U.S. folk legend Jackson C. Frank’s “Milk And Honey”.

While the Buffalo-born musician Jackson Carey Frank only released the one album during his lifetime (his Paul Simon-produced self-titled debut from 1965) Frank’s reputation has steadily grown in recent times, in no small part due to Ba Da Bing’s release of “The Complete Recordings” (2015) and the 10″ vinyl issue of “Forest Of Eden” (Secret Records, 2013), a collection of previously unreleased tracks and demos.

We’re equally thrilled to present an exclusive track by another of Ireland’s best-loved and consistently intriguing songwriters, Katie Kim (the pseudonym for Waterford-born Katie Sullivan). With two full-length albums to date (2008’s “Twelve” and 2012’s double LP “Cover&Flood”) a third LP, entitled “Salt”, is scheduled for release later in 2016. Katie Kim has supported the likes of Low and Slint to date while her diverse influences stem from the realms of experimental, folk, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient and outsider folk.

Also presented in May’s mixtape is a number of long-established cornerstones to the independent music scene who have debut records for their latest projects: Four-piece Liima features Efterklang’s Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg who are joined by Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö. The band’s 4AD debut is entitled “ii”.
Dieterich & Barnes is the new collaboration between Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Neutral Milk Hotel) and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich who released their scintillating debut “The Coral Casino” on LM Duplication earlier this year.
“You + Your D.Metal Friend” is the latest improvisational project from Cico Beck (Joasihno, Aloa Input, the Notwist) and Markus Acher (the Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Rayon). The duo’s debut album “Sonnier” is available via the forever-dependable German independent label Alien Transistor.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E5 | May mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:

http://www.blogotheque.net/2016/05/27/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s01e05-may-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. William S. Burroughs“Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups” (excerpt) (Sub Rosa)
02. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Melodia (I)” (4AD)
03. Moondog“Each Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow” (Columbia)
04. Mark Pritchard“Beautiful People” (feat. Thom Yorke) (Warp)
05. Tim Hecker“Music of the Air” (4AD)
06. Andy Stott“Too Many Voices” (Modern Love)
07. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith“Envelop” (Western Vinyl)
08. Joasihno“Wondrous Sibling” (Alien Transistor)
09. Dieterich & Barnes“What” (LM Duplication)
10. Liima“Amerika” (4AD)
11. Wildbirds & Peacedrums“Soft Wind, Soft Death” (The Leaf Label)
12. Max Richter“Path 5” (Mogwai Remix / Edit) (Deutsche Grammophon)
13. Adrian Crowley“Milk And Honey” (Unreleased)
14. The Beacon Sound Choir“Drone 1” (excerpt) (Infinite Greyscale)
15. You + Your D. Metal Friend“Sonnier 6” (Alien Transistor)
16. Homeboy Sandman“God” (Stones Throw)
17. DJ Danger Mouse“Interlude” (Self-Released)
18. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones“Angry Generation” (Ace)
19. DJ Shadow“Nobody Speak” (feat Run The Jewels) (Mass Appeal)
20. Ria Bartok“Tu La Revois” (Ace)
21. Julianna Barwick“Same” (Dead Oceans)
22. Georges Delerue“Paul” (Le Mépris OST, EmArcy)
23. Katie Kim“Warm Bait” (Unreleased)
24. Christina Vantzou“Stereoscope” (Steve Hauschildt remix) (Bandcamp)
25. Marissa Nadler“Waking” (Bella Union / Sacred Bones)
26. Harold Budd“Afar” (All Saints)

Compiled by Fractured Air, May 2016. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

Mixtape: So Etched In Memory

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So Etched In Memory [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/so-etched-in-memory-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Adrian Crowley ‘The Wild Boar’ (excerpt) [Chemikal Underground]
02. Benoît Pioulard ‘So Etched In Memory’ [Kranky]
03. Sam Prekop ‘Invisible’ [Thrill Jockey]
04. The Declining Winter ‘The Declining Winter and the Narrow World’ [Monopsone]
05. Katie Kim ‘Wicked Game’ [Bandcamp]
06. Low ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ [Chairkickers’ Music, Rough Trade]
07. Julianna Barwick ‘The Harbinger’ [Dead Oceans]
08. Bing & Ruth ‘TWTGA’ [RVNG Intl]
09. The White Stripes ‘This Protector’ [Sympathy For The Record Industry]
10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘Multi-Love’ [Jagjaguwar]
11. Jib Kidder ‘World of Machines’ [Domino]
12. Panda Bear ‘Boys Latin’ [Domino]
13. Little Sister ‘Somebody’s Watching You’ [Light In The Attic]
14. The Band ‘Up On Cripple Creek’ [Capitol]
15. Bixy Guidry & Percy Babineaux ‘The Waltz Of The Long Wood’ [Tompkins Square]
16. Kenny Knight ‘All My Memories’ [Paradise Of Bachelors]

The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.
http://fracturedair.com

 

Central And Remote: Adrian Crowley

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Interview with Adrian Crowley.

“There are always words to be written.”

—Adrian Crowley

Words: Mark Carry, Photographs: Steve Gullick

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Some blue morning soon,
We will rise and step into the glowing.
Where once were tears there shall be gladness,
Where once were splinters hope shall rise.”

‘Some Blue Morning’

Some Blue Morning’ is the highly anticipated seventh studio album from Irish singer-songwriter, Adrian Crowley, which reveals (yet again) a song-writing master-class whose poetic prose and interwoven rich sonic canvas captivates the heart. Recorded in Dublin with long-term collaborator Steve Shannon, ‘Some Blue Morning’ features members of the London string ensemble Geese, Ireland’s Seti The First and Waterford singer-songwriter Katie Kim duets on several songs.

The album’s glorious title-track –and sublime opener – unfolds a blissful sense of euphoria as the guiding light of Crowley’s achingly beautiful vocal casts a glowing light over the horizon. ‘Some Blue Morning’ is a song of hope: where rapture replaces tears. The immaculate instrumentation of drums and strings awakens the timeless sound of Jean-Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg as fleeting moments of rare beauty flickers like the embers of a glowing summer sun.

Hungry Grass’ follows next; its warmth, immediacy and delicacy astounds each and every heart pore. The transformative work contains soaring strings that shares the illuminating spark of U.S. group Rachel’s such is its mesmerizing brilliance. A skyline at dusk. The impending arrival of darkness. The comfort in solace. Dancing flames of “cyan, silver, crimson and gold”. ‘Hungry Grass’ is a distillation of a seamless array of transient moments; snapshots or artefacts of life. As Crowley sings “the embers wink before they die”, I feel the hurt of loss but also, the treasure trove of entrusted memories we share and hold onto.

Lay me down on the hungry grass
Among the seedlings and the winter bark.”

‘Hungry Grass’

Some weeks before the eagerly awaited arrival of ‘Some Blue Morning’, I was fortunate to witness Adrian’s enthralling live performance. The special setting was Cork’s L’Attitude 51 wine-bar/sometime-live venue – formerly the near-mythical Lobby bar, a venue the Irish troubadour visited many times in the past. A small space, steeped in history, and so fitting that the prized songwriter would return last October. As part of the East Cork Early Music festival, Crowley was joined by the gifted talents of cellist Ilse DeZiah and violinist Justin Grounds. As the trio weaved their spell-binding magic, the audience was invited to soak in the splendour of the artist’s world of song. The power of words: its alluring charm, infinite radiance and raw emotional depth. The night offered a vivid snapshot into the intricate arrangements of Crowley’s sonic creations; from ‘The Beekeeper’s Wife’ to ‘Juliet I’m In Flames’ (the latter which featured the sole use of the Irish singer’s guitar – the reverb hanging beautifully in the air) and all points in between (not least the majority of ‘Some Blue Morning’s illuminating batch of songs).

One song that immediately comes to mind is the hypnotic ‘The Angel’ with its cinematic, eerie strings and Crowley’s lingering baritone floating beneath. The utterly transcendent tour-de-force contains such shape-shifting sounds, mood and rhythm that (larger) groups such as Balanescu Quartet or Kronos Quartet could only summon to create. Elsewhere, the achingly beautiful ‘Trouble’ – one of the many gorgeous duets with divine Irish songstress Katie Kim – centres on starting anew with the dream of a quieter life.

The Hatchet Song’ comprises ethereal strings and the similarly dream-like baritone voice that melts effortlessly into the sonic palette like pockets of ice on a woodland path. The deeply affecting ballad is reminiscent of Robert Wyatt and Lambchop whose poetic prose details an engraver with “a blade so eager”. The folk opus ‘Magpie Song’ flickers between the surreal and the visceral, where Crowley sings of “the ways of chance” that results in the magpie taking flight (after several encounters with the revered bird).

The Leonard Cohen-esque ballad ‘Follow If You Must’ is yet another remarkable achievement. The stunningly beautiful ballad (again featuring Katie Kim’s awakening voice) feels as though it’s forged from a “forgotten dream”: the melded voices of Adrian and Katie gracefully rises like the “morning dew”. The sheer beauty and utter transcendence unleashed by their momentous duets is nothing short of staggering. In fact, I’d like to think of this rare thing of beauty being kindred to the fireflies that light up the dark (sung by the pair on a later verse).

The cinematic spoken-word opus, ‘The Wild Boar’ – conjuring up the sound of a Cormac McCarthy travelogue – serves one of the album’s defining moments as “miles of pines” become entrenched in your memory. The striking narrative centres on a driver’s encounter with a mystical creature amidst a drive through a forest at dusk. A meditative and deeply contemplative experience is masterfully created in the opening verse: “He thought about his life and as his mind drifted/He was almost finding some kind of peace/All his frustrations of his troubled days seemed to fall away”. Crowley’s baritone evokes the richest of colours and detail, from the “distant hum of an engine”, the “clicking of a blinking indicator” along with the “scent of pine” and the “recent rain that infused the air.” The enraptured listener becomes hypnotized by the rhythm of Crowley’s poetic prose wherein a spellbinding magic takes hold of the mind’s imagination. Similarly, a sprawling canvas of mesmerizing sounds – beguiling soundscapes of meandering guitar tones, warm percussion and gentle ripples of acoustic guitar notes – floats majestically beneath Crowley’s soothing baritone. The words and music somehow evokes the vast expanses of the forest of trees; the sheer beauty of the wilderness and the further reaches of one’s mind where what once was unreachable has become attainable.

Some Blue Morning’ sees Adrian Crowley’s cherished songbook continuing to push the sonic envelope with enlightening tower of songs. I feel the opening verse of ‘Follow If You Must’ serves the perfect embodiment of Crowley’s superlative, sprawling canvas: “And the bonfire’s still burning bright/Throwing sparks up into the night/To linger there with the stars.”

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‘Some Blue Morning’ is available now on Chemikal Underground.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adrian-Crowley/
http://www.chemikal.co.uk/

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Interview with Adrian Crowley.

Congratulations Adrian on the incredible new album, ‘Some Blue Morning’. It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions about this truly beautiful work. Firstly, I’d love to gain an insight into the world that surrounds ‘Some Blue Morning’ and in what way you approached this record differently to its predecessor, ‘I See Three Birds Flying’.

Adrian Crowley: The pleasure is mine. Thank you, you are very kind! I will try to offer an answer! Well, I wrote the songs for ‘I See Three Birds Flying’ all in the same room and I wrote the songs for ‘Some Blue Morning’ in a different room… but both rooms are in the same house. I think that is an accurate description of my approach in more ways than one.

I also love the ode to Lee Hazelwood in the album-title. Furthermore, I feel the gorgeous duets between you and Katie Kim share that similarly magical spell cast by the timeless recordings of Nancy & Lee. Can you talk me through these particular duets, Adrian. Did you envision Katie would be part of these songs during the time of writing them? 

AC: The similarity in the title isn’t necessarily a coincidence but neither is it an ode in that way at all. The title, the phrases, the words I use resonate and have purpose in the songs I write, so I don’t try to mirror a song by someone else. But I often say, subconscious plays a part in how I work and I am always surprised when I wake up and see what I’ve written.

Gosh, I adore the duets of Nancy & Lee. They are gold to me. One of the decisions I’m proudest of in the making of this record was asking Katie to be involved. When I wrote the songs that she ended up singing on, I wasn’t necessarily thinking of duets. At first I heard wordless distant notes sung by a woman. It was very clear to me. For instance in the ‘The Magpie Song’ I heard a kind of haunting and dispossessed voice in the wilderness. And in ‘Follow If You Must’, I had already started recording the song and soon I imagined another voice there as part of the narrative and in a way to bring a different meaning to some of the passages.

It was uncharted territory for me, though, to invite someone in and give them my songs to sing. Sometimes the answer is with us all the time. I had spoken to Katie about the idea of making a record together. But it was a case of “when my record is done and when your record is done…and when we’re finished all the things that go with making a record…” Then I thought, that could take years… So I thought, why not get cracking now? And we can always do more later.

So I gave Katie a couple of songs and she came back with magnificent parts. So I gave her a couple of more songs and then I said, “here have more songs”. And then I said, “stop me if it’s all too much”. And she said, “keep them coming, Adrian, sure it’s grand”. And that was that. It was clear it had been a good idea.

In terms of contributions, the wonderful London-based string ensemble of Geese and Seti The First’s Kevin Murphy further heighten the rich sonic canvas of immense beauty. I would love to gain an insight into the arrangements of these new songs and the collaborative process that exists between you and these cast of musicians. 

AC: Well it’s more the case that Emma from Geese played on two songs: ‘The Magpie Song’ and ‘The Hatchet Song’ . Vince from Geese played viola on the latter. Emma, Vince and I had played ‘The Hatchet Song’ live before a few times, like in St Pancras Old Church in London and on a short tour in The Netherlands. We had developed that cascading, overlapping motif that grew and grew. Then in a bar in London I told Emma about a song I’d written about being incessantly assailed by a bird. I told her it had loads of verses and that I imagined her helping the narrative with her violin. She seemed intrigued. Then she played like a woman possessed.

Yes, Kevin Murphy plays cello on several of the songs. We have been working on live shows together too for quite a few years now and I like to think we have a special rapport. Mary Barnecutt who is also a member of Seti The First plays some cello on the record too. Both Kevin and Mary are part of my live show now. We just work intensely and quickly and then we arrive at the treatment that feels right. Many of the parts we developed further with Steve (Shannon) in the studio. Steve is very gifted, I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again. It really is an exciting thing to have the string parts grow and grow. The song kind of tells you what it wants sometimes. It could be either sparse and skeletal or lush and resplendent.

There are an infinite array of moments distilled in each and every song on ‘Some Blue Morning’, like movements contained in a concerto. I wonder were there any happy accidents, so to speak that happened by chance during the making of the record? I can only imagine there must be quite a few stories behind each of these special songs.

AC: One thing I must say is that the vocal takes were far from laboured. I would say 80 or 90% of the vocals on the record are the first take. I am always aware that even if you are planning to put a vocal down as just a guide, it’s worth keeping in mind that it may be a keeper. I remember on one of the first days of the recording sessions Steve asked me to sit down in the live room and run through some  guide vocals to just get a handle on how it all wad sounding . Then a short few moments later we had what turned out to be the final vocal takes of about seven songs of the album. I think there is probably some kind of character in each song and what Steve calls artefacts in each song that have their own idiosyncrasies that probably would be impossible to replicate or repeat.

And speaking of happy accidents…I accidentally discovered I could play clarinet during the making of the album. I’m happy about that! I was browsing in my local charity shop one day and saw a black box on a glass shelf. I looked inside and there was a clarinet. I got the feeling that it should be mine. I bought it there and then and later that afternoon I started getting a sound out if it. Then I showed up in Steve’s studio with the black box tucked under my arm. Steve said “what have you got there?” Then we set about laying down clarinet parts. All as a result of walking into that charity shop by chance that day.

One of the album’s (many) defining moments arrives in part B with the cinematic spoken-word opus, ‘The Wild Boar’, conjuring up the sound of a Cormac McCarthy travelogue and the likes of ‘My Sister’ or ‘Chocolate’ by Tindersticks. I particularly love the lyric “He felt like a hunter for the first time in his life”. I would love to gain an insight into the narrative of ‘The Wild Boar’ and your memories of writing this poetic work? In some ways (in reference to the “miles of pines”), the song feels a distant companion to ‘Alice Among The Pines’. 

AC: It was exciting and revealing to me how ‘The Wild Boar’ came about. (And I love those two pieces by Tindersticks, especially ‘My Sister’). I spend a bit if time in France and once I had heard about something happening to a guy driving down a lonely road along the pine forests. The story became embellished in my mind and I told it a few times to different people. Then on tour I was telling a friend of a friend this story… we were in a venue in Berlin just sitting at a table before the show started. Then during my set the same person shouted out to me to tell the story about The Wild Boar. So I did and it went on and on.

Then a couple of weeks later I told it again during a show in Brighton. Eventually I wrote it all down in the form of a short story. It just seemed right to me to record it and in some strange way it fits on the album, I think. It’s interesting what you say about ‘Alice Among The Pines’. I like the idea of some things coming from the same landscape… a bit like aspects of a story that is told over time.

I fondly recall the central lyric to ‘Trouble’ originated from your European travels in which a local told you, “the only trouble you get around here is when the leaves stick to the rail-road tracks.” Please recount for me your memories of this particular song and indeed, the influence the act of travelling must have on your song-writing?

AC: Yes, I fondly recall the event that sparked off this song. I was on tour in Europe and this particular day I was playing in a small town in The Netherlands. When I arrived in town for the show, I looked at my map and saw the venue was in walking distance from the station, so I set off on foot carrying my two guitars and dragging along this big suitcase. I crossed the road and there was a guy on a bike facing me, waiting at the traffic lights. He was watching me as I trudged and shuffled along. Then he smiled and nodded to me, and said something in Dutch. I said “Pardon?” and this time he spoke in English… “Are you okay?” He was looking at all these things I was carrying. “Yes, I’m fine, thanks”. I answered. The lights turned green and he cycled off.

Then I continued down the road and a woman with a child and a dog were coming towards me. They were all looking at me curiously. Then as I approached them, the woman asked me something. “Are you okay?” I nodded and continued along my way. Then a couple of minutes later, I heard a car slowing down behind me. I looked over my shoulder and there was a police car. I stopped and the window rolled down. Two cops were looking at me. One cop leaned out the window and nodded at me. He said something in a low voice. I looked quizzical. He repeated “Are you okay?” I said “Yes, I’m just on my way to play a show”. And I pointed at the venue at the end of the street. The cop nodded and looked a bit disappointed, then rolled the window up again and they drove off.

Then after the show, I told the story to three chaps who had come over to talk to me. They nodded knowingly as I was telling the story. When I finished, one of them said… “Yeah, we don’t get much trouble around here”. Then he said, “The only trouble you get around here is when wet leaves stick to the railway tracks”. I thought it was sweet and funny and sadly beautiful. A song emerged over the next few weeks about someone moving to another town, a small town to lead a simple life and not get into any more trouble.

In terms of writing, would you find yourself writing words on a page before the music is ever thought of or considered? The lyrics to your songs are sheer poetry and the poetic prose contained on ‘Some Blue Morning’ offers everlasting inspiration. Are there certain writers/literature/song-writers that hold a particular resonance for you, Adrian?

AC: Thank you, that’s a very nice thing to say. I don’t know if I really settle on any one songwriter. I just love words. I love it when you hear a song somewhere for the first time and it has a kind of spark that gives it a kind of transcendence. In terms of literature, I love the writing of Richard Brautigan, Raymond Carver, John Mc Gahern… There are others of course but I find these deeply inspiring. Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller were/are longtime favourites of mine too. In terms of contemporary Irish writers. Kevin Barry, I think is brilliant. Songwriters…there are so many great ones.

I was really interested to hear how you spent time over the past year devoted entirely to writing. How has this technique of yours developed or changed during the course of this time period? Can you discuss the mind-set and transformative process that must occur during writing? How has this affected the song-writing process of yours, Adrian?

AC: I did decide at one point, when I could see that I had no trips planned for a while, that I was going to set a few hours a day writing words and stories. I had finished recording the new album and I felt I needed to get something more out. It’s still coming out. I am very happy with the discovery. It’s funny, sometimes I touch on something that clearly needs my further attention, then I think… “okay, I’ve just set myself a goal, I better do justice to the idea and see it through”. So in that way I’ve been building something just on paper…words on paper. I see sometimes songs growing out of those pieces, sort of like a parallel counterpart. And that has influenced how I write songs, I think. Almost approaching from a new direction. There are always words to be written.

 


 

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‘Some Blue Morning’ is available now on Chemikal Underground.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adrian-Crowley/
http://www.chemikal.co.uk/

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Don’t Look Back: 2014 (Part 2)

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Final part of our “Don’t Look Back” series; which is our look back on the year from the perspective of both musicians as well as various members of the arts community at large, who — despite varying geographical locations and backgrounds — all share the following in common: a deep passion and love for music. We’re both honored and delighted to be able to share the words of these special people through their personal accounts of the year that was: 2014. 

Part 2 of a 2-part series.

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William Tyler (Nashville, USA)

William Tyler is a Nashville guitarist and composer who has played an integral part in world-renowned U.S. bands such as Lambchop, Silver Jews and Hiss Golden Messenger. In recent years, Tyler has carved out a deeply enriching solo path, beginning with 2010’s universally-acclaimed ‘Behold The Spirit’ (Tompkins Square) and its exquisite follow-up, ‘Impossible Truth’ (Merge Records), released in 2013. Last April marked the release of ‘Lost Colony’ – a limited-edition 12-inch – featuring the new song ‘Whole New Dude’, a full-band re-working of ‘We Can’t Go Home Again’ (from ‘Impossible Truth’) and ‘Karussell’; a cover of a Michael Rother (Neu!) song.

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My year in review:

Hanging with my buddy Michael Slaboch talking records and life in early January. Michael came down to Nashville from Chicago and got stuck in a rare snow storm the precluded his return to the Windy City, which I believe was suffering from some of the coldest temperatures on record. We ate bbq and watched Auburn lose to Florida State in the national championship game while Nashville buckled from the cold outside.

Touring with Califone in the dead of an intense midwestern winter.  We did “Big Ten” country: Minneapolis, Madison, Columbus, Omaha, Detroit, Chicago. I should have brought a snowplow instead of a Volvo station wagon. Beautiful people and music. Frigid temperatures. Haunting drives through cracked Michigan highways covered with snow. Listening to Bruce Hornsby in a Tim Horton’s outside of Benton Harbor.

Taking a series of trains across central and southern Europe on tour in February. Played a rock club that doubled as an indoor shooting range in Belgrade. Played a theater in Zagreb. Played a wine bar in Switzerland. Played a cinema in Lausanne, another cinema in Dresden. Watched “Dallas Buyer’s Club” with German subtitles. Read “Blues People” by Amiri Baraka and “Where the Heart Beats”, an incredible book about John Cage and Zen Buddhism. Train hopped across Italy. Wrote fragments of songs in hotel rooms like you are supposed to. Ate everything that was offered to me. Bought Fernet at an Italian gas station.

I drove across America with my buddy Garland two days after returning from Europe. One day we drove from Nashville to Omaha, the next day across South Dakota to Wyoming. Next day all the way to Coeur D’Alene Idaho. The fourth day we made it to Seattle. I did a three-week tour opening for Daniel Rossen. My other best bud Brad Cook accompanied me for most of the trip. Stoned day off driving through the redwoods for a weird evening of awesome beer and sketchy Mexican food in Eureka, California. Playing a winery in Napa valley. Playing the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Driving across the west by myself in a rental car. San Diego to Phoenix, Phoenix to Santa Fe, Santa Fe to Roswell, Roswell to Marfa, Marfa to Austin, Austin to Jackson, Mississippi. Putting about 8000 miles on that poor rental car. Up and down the east coast. Driving back through the North Carolina mountains to home finally and the ‘welcome to Tennessee’ signs greeting me.

I moved temporarily to Oxford, Mississippi for a month. Spent a lot of time writing and reflecting, walking every afternoon down to the town square and sharing a few drinks with new friends. This was the place my parents went to college and I settled into the lazy, deliberate pace of the environs. I feel like as I grow older, the pull further South is stronger. It felt like home.

Green Man festival in Wales. Epic hang with my man David Morris. Playing to a field of friendly folks as the sun set. Being cold in the middle of August and drinking lots of cider.

Some things I enjoyed:

Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather
“Citizen Four”
Harold Grosskopf – Ocean Heart
Swans – To Be Kind
Bob Dylan – Basement Tapes reissue
Bitchin Bajas
Tashi Dorji
Blake Mills
“The Soul of Designer Records” – Big Legal Mess box set
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”

My favorite modern country singles of 2014:

Blake Shelton – Neon Light
Keith Urban – Somewhere in My Car
Dierks Bentley – Drunk on a Plane
Anything by Taylor Swift

 

—William Tyler

 

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‘Lost Colony’ E.P. is available now on Merge Records.

http://www.williamtyler.net/
http://www.mergerecords.com/

 


 

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Félicia Atkinson (The French Alps, France)

Félicia Atkinson is a French visual and sound artist based between the French Alps. She also co-curates Shelter Press, an independent music label and contemporary art publishing house. Félicia Atkinson also releases music via her Je suis le petit chevalier guise and exhibits regularly across both Europe and the US. Atkinson lives presently in the French Alps and has released over 20 records and tapes with labels such as Shelter Press, NNA, Umor Rex, Aguirre, Spekk, La station Radar, Home Normal. Atkinson has performed extensively all over Europe/USA-CANADA with such artists as: Sun Araw, Grouper, Gabriel Saloman, Theo Angel and Hamish Gilmour, Mind Over Mirrors, Lee Noble. She is also involved in the duo Naked Island on the L.A based label Peak Oil (alongside Ensemble Economique’s Brian Pyle). Her new album, ‘A Readymade Ceremony’, will be out on Shelter Press during 2015. 

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2014: A YEAR OF RENDEZ-VOUS

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Caption: Félicia Atkinson painting yogo balls during the preparation of her latest art show at Saprophyt, Vienna, last November.

 

January:

New Year’s Eve, dancing with candles and flutes outside in the snowy mountains with my friends, the musicians and artists Mc Cloud Zicmuse, Anne Brugni, High Wolf, Marsh Cavern, Chicaloyoh and Bartolomé, my partner in life and in Shelter Press.
Anne Brugnu makes incredible colorful ceramics and drawings. She just published a children books with Mc Cloud called “bonjour”, published by L’artichaud, here is an image of it:

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It’s a very sensitive book about natural phenomena and the marvels of earth. And here is an example of her vivid collages:

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You can also hear Mc Cloud Zicmuse’ poetic words and music HERE.

February:

Driving from California to New Mexico with Bartolomé. We also met a series of unforgettable artists. In Joshua Tree we walked among the prickly pears with Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carre. They are from Chicago and make very interesting minimalist animated films. Lilli is also an illustrator and ceramic artist. She exhibited recently at the MCA of Chicago. Here are two images of her sculptures:

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Alexander made collaborative films with musicians from Chicago, such as Jeremy Lemos, who plays now in Acteurs and also with Disappears, two Chicago bands that I strongly recommend. I particularly like the specially designed EP Disappears published with the Belgian Sleeperhold publications with a silkscreen on the B-side by this young and talented Belgian photographer, Stine Stampers. You can see the design here:

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Here are video stills of Alexander’s films ‘Peacock’ and ‘Power’:

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March:

In March Bartolomé and I did an exhibition, ‘The Last Frontier’, at this artist-run space in Basel called OSLO 10. They are also a music venue and there was a wonderful list of music shows during the exhibition, some with shelter press artists and some with people, even if we don’t publish them, we feel related to. One of them played at Oslo 10 in March 2014, it’s the French-Japanese musician Tomoko Sauvage who plays with water and bowls: a mesmerizing and meditative music.

April:

April was a beautiful month in the Alps, with butterflies and flowers everywhere. On the 1st of April I invited Jennifer Tee, an artist from the Netherlands, to make a lecture at the art university I am teaching in: Annecy, L’ESAAA. I am a huge fan of her works that include: performance, sculpture and installation. Some examples of her works here, including her latest exhibition at Signal in Malmo:

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May:

In May I played a music show for Videoex Festival in Zürich with the experimental film-maker from San Francisco, Paul Clipson. I don’t know if you are familiar with his works, but he showed his films with a lot of interesting musicians from the Bay Area such as Grouper, Jefre Cantu and Barn Owl, who are all musicians that inspire me everyday. Here are some images of Paul’s films:

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June:

June was a month spent listening to Suzanne Ciani’s amazing re-issues by Finders Keepers.

July:

In July I toured in Canada with the amazing Sun Araw and D/P/I. I feel like I learned a lot while seeing them playing and each of their shows was a source of joy. I recommend you to see them live and to listen to their latest album. I also played in Seattle with RM Francis that month, which was the occasion to discover his beautiful and smart music.

August:

August was a month spent in Oregon. I always love Portland. It was great to hang out there with my friends and see very good shows and have such great vegetarian food. Then we spent some time camping at CAPE LOOK OUT before I recorded with my friend Peter Broderick. Stay tuned… the project will be called La Nuit and will be out next summer on Beacon Sound.
In Portland I bought a lot of records at Little Axe Records, Mississippi Records and Beacon Sound Records. One of my favorites is ‘Put No Blame On The Master’, a record of Jamaican gospel, published by Mississippi.

September:

In September 2014 I did a mini tour in Switzerland with the amazing Gabriel Saloman, with whom we just published a record on Shelter Press. I recommend also his records on Miasmah and Infinite Greyscale. When he played in Geneva​, it was so powerful that the sound engineer actually cried. We are all blown away. I also listened very much to the re-issues of K. Leimer on RVNG.

October:

In October I saw Lieven Moana / Dolphins into the future and Spencer Clark / monopoly childstars playing also in Geneva, with wonderful visuals. It was like being in another time. Lieven is a kind of Caspar David Friedrich of modern times.

November:

In November I played at Soy Festival where I had a chance to see playing some people I admire: Lee Noble, Noveller, Steve Hauschildt and Robedoor.
Do you know Lee Noble’s cassette labels NO KINGS? They do amazing artworked tapes that you should take an ear/eye at!

December:

My highlight of December was feeding and meeting the neighbor’s little cat that love to visit us and watching VANISHING POINT by Richard Sarafian and CARRIE by De Palma. I also listened a lot to Valerio Tricoli album on PAN, Miseri Lares. And Bartolomé bought me this wonderful book by and about Robert Ashley, ‘YES, BUT IS IT EDIBLE’ published by New Documents.

THE END/THANK YOU!

 

—Félicia Atkinson

 

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Naked Island’s self-titled debut, the collaboration between Ensemble Economique’s Brian Pyle and Félicia Atkinson, is available now on Peak Oil. ‘A Readymade Ceremony’ is a forthcoming release on Shelter Press.

http://feliciaatkinson.be/
http://shelter-press.com/

 


 

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Cian Ó Cíobháin, An Taobh Tuathail (Galway, Ireland)

Cian Ó Cíobháin is the presenter of An Taobh Tuathail, a music show dedicated to promoting the very best in independent music. Cian’s show is broadcasted on RTÉ Raidió Na Gaeltachta on weeknights from 22.00 to midnight, Monday to Friday. Cian also compiles a series of compilations which are made available for free download. Presently, the An Taobh Tuathail compilation series is at volume 6 (they have this year been uploaded to Ó Cíobháin’s Mixcloud page HERE). Additionally, Cian DJ’s at 110th Street, Galway, with Cyril Briscoe. As of this year Cian Ó Cíobháin has also carved a name for himself as a specialist wedding DJ.

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In January and February, I dipped my toes into English language broadcasting for the first time in eons, with a six-part series on Pulse about my ‘An Taobh Tuathail’ compilations. My thick-tongued mumbling were well received, in some instances it was the first time listeners were able to follow what I was saying on the radio. ATT was shortlisted for two awards this year. In April I visited the picturesque St. Ives in Cornwall for the Celtic Media Awards, then had a night to remember in Kilkenny in October at the PPI Radio Awards. The Lyric FM contingent were seated at our table and helped us to party with panache. The winners of both categories were utterly deserving. JJ O’Shea’s superlative ‘The Global Village’ took the gong in St. Ives and Ray Wingnut’s excellent documentary on the Community Skratch games topped the PPI list.

Two of the best DJ sets I heard this year happened at Ireland’s best off-the-radar summer festival (so secret that I’m afraid to even refer to it by name). A fine summer’s evening somewhere in deepest Longford, the intimate & enthusiastic gathering in convivial spirits, were treated to the DJ début of Roscommon-native Peter Casey who simply blew the roof off the place with a perfect festival set: a combination of bangers, anthems and sing-a-longs. Later on, underground Liverpool legend John Heckle showed what an outstanding DJ he is, reading the crowd perfectly, working some amazing disco basslines into his high-octane techno set…. Speaking of Scousers, following Liverpool last season was a riot. Sure they fell short, sure they may never win the Premiership, but what a gallant effort it was, playing some of the most scintillating football in Europe, which even Pep Guardiola tipped his hat to. Of course, we’re back to a level we’re sadly more accustomed to now, in the wake of Luis Suaréz migrating to warmer climes. In a peculiar way, like when the winter evenings begin to draw in, there’s almost something strangely comforting about being simply mediocre again. Almost.

In other sports, my native Kerry thrilled in their two game battle against Mayo in August before grinding out an unexpected All-Ireland victory in September (unexpected to everyone bar the team and management), ending a five-year Celtic Cross-less drought in the Kingdom. All this without The Gooch. Great to see Star poach an opportunist’s goal in the final. I was DJing in West Kerry a few years ago and he was right up the front urging the crowd to sing along to the words of Warren G’s ‘Regulate’.

Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under The Skin’ was a haunting cinematic experience, made all the more powerful by Mica Levi’s superlative soundtrack. One of her featured compositions ‘Love’ is my tune of the year: somehow evoking ‘Loveless’-era MBV, Badalamenti and Bernard Herrmann. I only recently realised that the movie is based on a book by Michel Faber. I picked up his latest novel ‘The Book Of Strange New Things’, as endorsed by the wonderful West Cork-based author David Mitchell and have been in a trance reading it the past few days… Other movies I enjoyed this year were ‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ and I finally watched ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’. How had I ignored it up to now? Simply one of the finest movies I’ve ever laid eyes on. If only I could roll a cigar around in my mouth like Clint Eastwood. The original ‘Blondie.’

Summer 2014 was one of the most consistently summer-like summers in recollection, the rain seemed to bypass our island. How good was the vibe at ‘Body & Soul’ during the shortest nights of the year? It was my first time in attendance and I was bowled over by the genuinely magical, fairy-tale atmosphere. Galway legend Mike Smalle played a beautiful set under the trees, that weaved everything from Max Romeo to Nolan Porter to Hot Natured into its fabric. Mike was busy recording again this year, his first work since B-Movie Lightning, under the Augustus & John moniker collaborating with Matteo Grassi. Check out their excellent ‘Crosslines’ EP.

In late August, with the help of Galway’s Electric venue, 110th Street hosted a boat party on the river Corrib, where Cyril Briscoe & I were joined by Jon Averill and Sol O’ Carroll. Between the genial atmosphere on the boat, where everyone was best friends by the end of the voyage, followed by a hothouse atmosphere in the club, created by a combination of our guest DJs being on top form and the visiting influx of revellers, it was a day and night that will live long in my memory.

I read shed-loads of books this year but the two that stood out were ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by JK Rowling, a brilliant take on that peculiar and specific genre of ‘English village’ literature and ‘I Am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes, one of the most breathtaking thrillers I’ve ever read. Re-reading Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Portrait Of Dorian Gray’ was a great pleasure. Two evocations of hedonistic life in our capital city in different eras also provided food for thought. Anthony Cronin’s ‘Dead As Doornails’ recounts the lives of Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan & Myles na gCopaleen in the pubs of post-war Dublin. The drinking and the poverty they endured to keep on drinking is utterly startling. Rob Doyle’s ‘Here Are The Young Men’ recounts a different Dublin, that of the early to mid-‘noughties’. If the pre-mentioned literary giants had access to the drugs that the characters in Doyle’s début novel binge on, well … the mind boggles at the consequences. Both books shine a torch into our nation’s gluttonous, booze-centric culture and reveal long, dark shadows extending well into the background.

The best TV show I saw this year was ‘Fargo’ but I was also impressed by ‘Boardwalk Empire’ (seasons 3 & 4), ‘Ray Donovan’, ‘Vikings’ (second season), ‘Love/Hate’ (which found its groove again – though I’d love to sort out their often incongruous soundtrack choices for them) and ‘The Fall’. Caught the first season of ‘Sherlock’ too, the opening episode was particularly good. I waded my way through most of the first season of ‘Game Of Thrones’ but was left cold by its clunky pace and prolixity.

My best nights DJing all happened at weddings. I was lucky to be invited by some remarkable people to play at their nuptials, more often than not in memorable, bucolic settings to intimate gatherings of sound heads. The atmosphere at these evenings were off-the-hook and has encouraged me to launch myself in the specialist DJ wedding market in the year ahead. So (here comes a plug) if you’re getting married and want to avoid the usually stodge, I’m available through cianociobhain.com or the One Fab Day site.

And what about the night the Sleaford Mods came to Galway? Like Gang Of Four, The Fall, Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins & Bez rolled into one Tour(ettic)-de-force. Middle-aged rock stars showing everybody else how it’s done. Proper.

Oh! One of my music moments of the year was when my truelove bowled me over by playing the soundtrack to ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ out of the blue at a party last summer. I hadn’t heard it in decades and it completely transported me another place. Somewhere special, beyond mere nostalgia.

 

—Cian Ó Cíobháin

 

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There will be two An Taobh Tuathail Christmas specials on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, 22.00 – 00.00. Cian Ó Cíobháin is also now taking bookings as a specialist wedding DJ at cianociobhain.com

Web: http://www.rte.ie/rnag/an-taobh-tuathail

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnTaobhTuathail
DJ bookings: http://cianociobhain.com/

 


 

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Seán Mac Erlaine (Dublin, Ireland)

The Dublin-based woodwind composer (saxophonist and clarinetist) and music producer Seán Mac Erlaine is one of Ireland’s best-loved musicians and composers. Mac Erlaine is also a member of the Irish/Swedish four-piece This Is How We Fly and has collaborated with numerous musicians in the past in both live and studio settings (The Gloaming, Bill Frisell, Lisa Hannigan, The Smith Quartet, Iarla O’Lionaird). This Is How We Fly had an extensive European and Irish tour this year promoting their remarkable debut self-titeld album (having been released at the end of 2013 via Playing With Music) while Mac Erlaine also released his latest solo album ‘A slender song’ via Dublin-based label Ergodos. Earlier in the year, Mac Erlaine contributed to the Ergodos-released ‘Songs’ album which featured numerous re-interpretations of songs by members of the Ergodos roster of musicians. In September, Mac Erlaine performed at Dublin’s annual Bottlenote Festival (which Mac Erlaine co-runs) for a site-specific “The Walls Have Ears” series of live improvisations. 

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Two thousand and fourteen began in an urban idyll: Prenzlauer Berg. Waiting on fingers to defrost to record a range of songs from John Dowland to Richard Thompson. That record, released a few months later, turned out to be a beautiful thing – listen to Michelle O’Rourke sing! Germany has a lot of saxophone players and a lot of dead saxophone players – I bought a sleeping beauty from a dusty shop – a Martin alto saxophone from 1968.

Nobody saw it coming but in February I made my dancing debut in Willfredd Theatre’s CARE, this was a great eye-opening process working with super people looking into the work of hospice workers.

I was very lucky to find myself lost in Pauline Oliveros’ near infinite reverb chambers in the company of fine musicians broadcasting live to the nation on my favourite medium, radio. More radio followed later in the year working with director Dylan Tighe on a new sound piece celebrating one of our favourite poets, the late Michael Hartnett. We poured many hours into this work and in every moment (almost) there was a richness that can only come when your two singers are the incomparable Nell Ní Chróinín and Iarla O’Lionaird.

Spending time with the three other members of This is How we Fly has been such a rewarding and important aspect over the last few years. In 2014 we got to play in France, Sweden and all over Ireland (Baltimore Fiddle Fair does seem in fact to be the best festival here!).

Other high points included: sharing the stage and shaking the soft, soft hand of maestro Bill Frisell… The honour of playing solo to many rooms of silent listeners over the year… Playing Bowie’s back catalogue in NCH with such a killer band… Walking around Cork City in the very early morning… Walking around the Lower East Side in the almost late night… Swimming through a lake in Northern Sweden at midnight watching the paling sky… Cycling thousands of kilometers through the mountains of Wicklow, the flatlands of Kildare and the streets of Dublin… Cycling a 180km round-trip to play a gig in a sauna…

I loved seeing Ger Wolfe sing in Dublin – gotta be one of the most honest songwriters out there these days. Steve McQueen’s ‘12 Years A Slave’ didn’t hit me quite in the same way his first two features did but this was a fine piece of work. Irish film-maker Pat Collins produced another beautiful work with ‘Living in a Coded Land’ and Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Frank’ was superb. Contemporary fiction isn’t a strong point for me but I was astounded by the beauty of Tarjei Vesaas’ ‘The Ice Palace’, a Norwegian novel from 1963. Gabriel Rosenstock’s monumental collected poems ‘The Flea Market in Valparaíso’ seems to have slipped under the radar but that can happen easily. Richard Mosse’s work ‘The Enclave’ got a lot of lookers, it blew many of us away. Israeli choreographer Danielle Agami had me up out of my seat whooping after her dance piece as did Irish actor Shane O’Reilly’s piece ‘Follow’ in The Abbey Theatre. A great time for Irish music: The Gloaming album made many revolutions on my CD player (I hope they press it on vinyl!), seems to have classic album written all over it. Deaf Joe’s ‘From The Heights Of A Dream’ is refreshingly really going for something and presented so beautifully – strongly recommended. Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman’s fiddle duo record ‘Laghdú’ (also presented as a highly covetable good) is a tender thing of beauty.

 

Seán Mac Erlaine

 

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‘A Slender Song’ is available now on Ergodos.

http://www.seanmacerlaine.com/
https://ergodos.ie/

 


 

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Kat Epple, Emerald Web (Los Angeles, USA)

Kat Epple has released 30 music albums internationally, composes music for film scores and television soundtracks, and performs live original music featuring synthesizers and flutes with her various ensembles, including the legendary “Space Music” band Emerald Web (comprising Epple and her late husband Bob Stohl), whose hugely influential music continues to impact music audiences worldwide through many recent re-issues. ‘The Stargate Tapes’ album was re-issued in November 2013 via Finders Keepers, and consists of music originally recorded from 1978-1989; earlier this year, Emerald Web’s ‘Whispered Visions’ has also been re-issued by Finders Keepers, while ‘Catspaw’, Emerald Web’s seminal recording (first issued by Larry Fast’s Audion label) will be re-issued by Anodize in January 2015.

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Highlights of my year 2014 include: a concert for dolphins, ancient dead Indians, growling dinosaurs, and ‘Whispered Visions’. These events transpired as I concert toured, recorded new albums, did session work, archived old reel-to-reel masters, and enjoyed some amazing adventures!

“Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs” is a film for which I composed music, sound effects and Foley, for The Hong Kong Science Museum. The high-tech digital animation was projected onto a sixty-foot-wide HD screen with my music and sound effects in surround sound. I enjoyed creating the music, but especially making the sounds of the dinosaurs as they tromp, fight, and perish as a meteor strikes the earth. CRUNCH…….GROWL……..RUMBLE…….SCREAM………EPIC CRASH!

Playing native flute at sunset, on the top of a burial mound built by the extinct Calusa Indian tribe, may have been one of my concert highlights of the year. I felt as though their spirits were surrounding me, and softly singing. Now THAT is surround sound!

My favorite jam session happened one night as I was playing flute for a star-gazer cruise on a beautiful ship on the Gulf of Mexico. A pod of dolphins arrived, then surrounded the ship as they lifted their ears above the waterline, apparently to listen. They all joined in as they clicked, splashed, and squeaked along with the sound of my flute.

There has been a resurgence of interest in the music of my vintage synthesizer and woodwind band, Emerald Web. In fact, this year, our second album, “Whispered Visions” was released on vinyl LP, thirty-four years after its original issue. The master tapes had to be baked and archived after sitting on the shelf for decades. It was very moving to hear the music again after all those years, as it transported me back to the moment it was created so long ago. Music has the power to do that, especially when it is your own music!

I recorded acoustic tracks for a new album with World Percussionist, Nathan Dyke. I played World Flutes in the session, and am now in the process of overdubbing synthesizer tracks to the album. Yep……Thirty four years later, I am still pissing off the purists who don’t like it when I mix ancient primitive instruments and technology. Yay!

My session work on flute, EWI, and synthesizers for albums by a variety of musicians include: New Age pioneer Steven Halpern, enchanting folk musician Mariee Sioux, electronic guitarist Barry Cleveland, and legendary heavy metal guitarist Devin Townsend.

I did manage to get out of the studio once in a while to go camping, running on the beach, and to attend concerts, including King Crimson, the “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass” festival in San Francisco, and a variety of amazing house concerts.

I am grateful for the wonderful experiences that 2014 brought, and look forward to 2015 being even better!

 

—Kat Epple

 

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‘The Stargate Tapes’ and ‘Whispered Visions’ by Emerald Web are available now via Finders Keepers Records. ‘Catspaw’ by Emerald Web is to be re-issued on 20 January 2015 via Anodize (pre-order HERE).

http://www.katepple.com
https://www.facebook.com/KatEppleMusic

 


 

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Roll The Dice (Stockholm, Sweden)

Roll The Dice comprise the Stockholm duo of Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt, who released their hugely anticipated third LP this year, ‘Until Silence’, via the renowned UK-based independent The Leaf Label. ‘Until Silence’ sees a brave and intriguing shift in the duo’s sound (most noticeably with the addition of a 26-piece string section ensemble during the recording sessions with an even greater focus this time around on an intensity of emotion across an ever-expanding sound palette) while the conceptual framework of the album draws inspiration from World War One (the album’s title is inspired by a book on the period). To date, Roll The Dice have released a trilogy of monumental albums, beginning with their self-titled debut LP (Digitalis, 2010);‘In Dust’ (Leaf, 2011); ‘Until Silence’ (Leaf, 2014), confirming the Swedish electronic group as one of independent music’s most intriguing and compelling contemporary artists.

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Tracks of 2014 by Roll The Dice:

Malcolm:
Future – ‘Look Ahead’
The groove and the sample and the 123 /15 hi hat pattern. Lovely.

Aphex Twin – ‘Produk 29’
Surprisingly likable. As I haven’t been a big fan in the past, I had no “issues” with him putting out a new album whatsoever.

Vessel – ‘Red Sex’
Simple and to the point monotony as it should be.

Nils Frahm – ‘Says’
A bit cheesy in the best possible way. Reminds me about us…

Katy Perry – ‘Roar’
I have been force-fed this track every morning all spring by my 10 year-old daughter. A bit like a musical stockholm syndrome…I have fallen in love with my tormentor.

Peder:
Gazelle Twin – ‘Anti Body’
Just found out about this record, totally feeling the attitude and impact of it. Really got a sound of it’s own which is pretty rare these days.

Klara Lewis – ‘Msuic II’
Klara is probably the artist that has had the biggest impact on me this year. It’s a real privilege to be able to work with such a unique and gifted talent.

DB 1 – ‘Nautil 1/3 B1’
The whole Nautil series on Hidden Hawaii is so amazing but if I have to pick a favorite from the 3 records this has to be it. Perfectly balanced and executed.

Surgeon – ‘Fixed Action Pattern’
The best techno 12″ this year from the best label, Token.

QT – ‘Hey Qt’
The PC music camp is the most punk of 2014. The fact that both my girlfriend and my 3 year-old daughter told me that it was the worst thing they ever heard me play at home makes me like it even more.

2014 Highlights Roll The Dice:

Putting out ‘Until Silence’ of course but also the fact that it turned out exactly the way we wanted.

Semibreve festival in Braga, Portugal: it was a delight to get to play in this beautiful old theatre where they have hosted the festival off the beaten track for several years. The organisers and everything surrounding this small and heartfelt festival was a delight.

 

Highs 2014: 

Malcolm:
My 10 week old Staffordshire puppy, Billie.

Peder:
Being able to do what I do for another year, to be able to make music and do whatever I want is something I am truly grateful for.

Lows 2014:

Malcolm:
The Swedish parliamentary situation which is going from bad to worse rapidly.
We all hope that the re-election in march will clear things up a bit, but as is now its just a farce, with very sinister undertones.

Peder:
See Mal’s answer. One love, fuck fascism.

 

—Roll The Dice

 

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‘Until Silence’ is available now on The Leaf Label. 

https://www.facebook.com/rollthedicesthlm
http://www.theleaflabel.com/

 


 

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Klara Lewis (Stockholm, Sweden)

Earlier this year marked the eagerly awaited debut full-length release from Swedish electronic artist, Klara Lewis, on the prestigious Editions Mego label. ‘Ett’ was recorded, sampled, edited, manipulated, mixed, produced and arranged by Lewis. A collection of four new works — contained on the sublime ‘Msuic’ EP — would later see the light of day on the Swedish imprint, Peder Mannerfelt Produktion (released on 12″ vinyl last November). ‘Msuic’ sees Lewis further expand the sonic envelope with her signature explorations of field recordings, electronics, rhythm, sound and atmosphere; confirming the Swedish artist as one of electronic music (and independent music at large)’s most exciting new talents.

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My top albums:

1. ‘Under The Skin’ OST, Mica Levi
2. ‘Because I’m Worth It’, Copeland
3. ‘All Over + All Under’, Edvard Graham Lewis
4. ‘The Epic Of Everest’, Simon Fisher Turner
5. ‘The Aquaplano Sessions’ (re-release), Donato Dozzy & Nuel

 

—Klara Lewis

 

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‘Ett’ is available now on Editions Mego. ‘Msuic’ (12″ & Digital) is available now on Peder Mannerfelt produktion. 

http://klaralewis.bandcamp.com
http://editionsmego.com

 


 

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Seti The First (Dublin, Ireland)

Seti The First is the Ireland-based cello-led group comprising the songwriting duo of Kevin Murphy (cello) and Thomas Haugh (drums, marxophone, percussion). ‘Melting Cavalry’ was the band’s debut album, released in 2012 to widespread critical acclaim. The band’s distinctive sound draws inspiration from a wide number of diverse sources (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, Henryk Gorecki, The Haxan Cloak). 2015 will see the highly anticipated follow-up to their mesmerizing debut, ‘Melting Cavalry’, entitled ‘The Wolves of Summerland’.

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Kevin: It’s probably a question of tunnel vision but for me 2014 was all about finishing our second album which is called ‘The Wolves of Summerland’. We toiled relentlessly and finally put it to bed in December. It marks a bit of a departure from our first album ‘Melting Cavalry’ and therefore was a bit of a nerve-wracking adventure, however, we’re thrilled with the results. Cellos still provide the bedrock but there is much more frantic Marxophone and Zither leading the way; overall there is a more aggressive intend this time out. We had strong themes of unrest and revolution in mind––the dynamics of denial & delusion and the blindness to rising tides of societal upheaval among those in power; and of course, the recurrence of these things time and time again. So we focused on some extraordinary historical events, the rise and demise of entire empires and the regimes that followed, huge moments of passion, bloodshed, tragedy and melancholia. This became the canvas unto which we offered our wandering brush. In November we collaborated with visual artist Brian Kelly at the Cork Film Festival which took these ideas into the live arena, something we’ll hopefully further explore going forward.

Other than that, highlights of the year include playing on Adrian Crowley’s brilliant album ‘Some Blue Morning’. Myself and Seti’s live cellist Mary Barnecutt also played at Adrian’s launch in The Workman’s Club in Dublin which was a special night.

Thomas: Working on the second Seti album likewise dominated my year, rhythm made an unexpected return to my musical outpouring. As we got into the spirit of the music–with all of these big themes and ideas, it just became necessary to have that kind of foundation. It’s been a long time since I got behind the drums to really drive the bus, I just let it happen and it more or less flowed. Some new discoveries for me here too–the Persian Daf (drum), an incredibly versatile instrument. It’s a powerful and sacred centre piece in lots of Sufi music of which I’m very fond. Some Hurdy Gurdy made it on there too and I’ve loved that instrument since my teenage years when I first heard a Nigel Eaton album.

As for the music of others in 2014, Perfume Genius and Wildbirds & Peacedrums come to mind, both of which also took rhythm to new levels on their latest releases. Mica Levi’s incredible soundtrack for ‘Under The Skin’ thrilled me, also Grouper’s ‘Ruins’ and Arca’s ‘Xen’. Hildur Gudnadóttir’s ‘Saman’ took some time to settle with me but it was worth the effort. I also took some time to listen to the works of Ligeti–the music of whom most of us are probably familiar with through it’s prolific usage in films, music that is both terrifying and thrilling in equal measure. Not a bad aul year.

 

—Seti The First

 

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‘Melting Cavalry’ is available now; its much-anticipated follow-up, ‘The Wolves of Summerland’, is due for release in 2015.

http://setithefirst.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/SetiTheFirst

 


 

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Adrian Crowley (Dublin, Ireland)

2014 marked the special return of Irish songwriter Adrian Crowley with his hugely anticipated (and career-high) seventh studio album, ‘Some Blue Morning’, via Glasgow-based independent label Chemikal Underground. ‘Some Blue Morning’ is the follow-up to Crowley’s masterful 2012 Choice Music Prize nominated ‘I See Three Birds Flying’, and features contributions from Seti The First’s Kevin Murphy on cello; Dublin-based songwriter Katie Kim on vocals and members of London string ensemble Geese, amongst many more.

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When I cast my mind back to the beginning of 2014 I am brought back to the familiar recording den with my old friend Stephen. I remember a few crisp mornings where the sun was shining in its wintry way. I’d walk from the north of the city all the way to the south reaches, along the grand canal, the path on the bank with the weeping willows near Portobello and on and on towards Dolphin’s Barn… thinking all the while about the day’s recording that lay before me and wondering how it would all sound by the evening when I’d walk back along the same way along the canal banks to Portobello…and turning then towards Kelly’s corner, up Camden Street and onto Wexford Street, South Great George’s Street… continuing through the city and finally on to the home stretch of North Strand. Those walks were times I would relish every day with a spring in my step for the record that was beginning to take shape. That daily ten-mile leg-stretch became a part of the process of making the record. Yes, I’m pretty sure there is no joy quite like the joy of recording new songs and building an album from the those first glimmers of ideas. And then I finished the record that, later in the year, I would call ‘Some Blue Morning’. 
I suppose much of early 2014 was taken up with making ‘Some Blue Morning’. It is all-consuming and, really, I found little time for anything else. I remember thinking that until I had something complete I would hide myself away. Even after the recording there was that matter of coming up with suitable artwork for the album. Which brings me to Steve Gullick.
2014 was the year I first met the fine gent that is Steve. We had ‘spoken’ over the years and talked about maybe making some pictures and indeed had planned to meet once or twice, usually when I was in London for a gig. But things happened and we never seemed to manage to get to the same spot at the same time. Not until Easter, ‘14, that is.I remember waiting in a café down the street from Highbury and Islington tube station across from Union Chapel. I sat in the window seat with a huge coffee staring out at the brick portico of the chapel. Then the door of the café swung open and Steve was greeting me in person for the first time. He was carrying three cameras. We sat there chatting for some time. About the world, about making records, about people, about life and mutual friends. About Jason Molina who had tragically passed away the year before. Something that has deeply effected me and so many others. Then Steve said, “okay, let’s get started” and we left the café and walked across the busy street and approached the heavy locked doors of Union Chapel. A quick phone call to Les who was working in the chapel that day (installing a new lighting rig) and we were inside wandering about corridors and back stairwells. Steve must have taken more than 800 photos and by the end of the afternoon we were sure that he had captured something that would be the cover art for ‘Some Blue Morning’.
Oh, 2014 was the year I discovered I could play clarinet. There is a charity shop near where I live. One day I ducked in for a quick look round. And there at the back of the shop in a glass cabinet was an opened black box with a dissembled clarinet inside. I knew it had to be mine and a few minutes later I was at home checking on YouTube how to put a clarinet together. A few minutes after that I was getting some sounds. I suppose all those years of playing saxophone in my bedroom had some bearing. I told Thomas and Kevin of Seti The First about this “haunted clarinet” I had found. Thomas called me a few weeks later and asked me to have a go at recording some parts for the new Seti record.
So the next thing you know I’m on a 123 bus to Thomas’ house with the charity store black box under my arm. I’ve been listening to the finished record and I have to say that I am proud to have played a small part in it. I’m so happy that my clarinet notes didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.
I’m trying to remember what films I went to see in the cinema. I spent a week in London by myself in the summer in a little house in Golders Green by Hampstead Heath. A friend of mine kindly let me stay there and I thought it would be a nice way to work on some writing. I did get some writing done but I also did a lot of walking around. One day I went down to Soho and headed for the Curzon Cinema. That’s where I saw ‘Boyhood’ by Richard Linklater. What an incredible film. I didn’t feel the three hours pass. I loved ‘The Double’ by Richard Ayoade which I saw at the IFI in Dublin, the Nick Cave documentary ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ at The Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin. ‘Under The Skin’ was creepy and great.

Oh, and speaking of London, I’m brought back to a late night taxi ride with my sister. It was late September. We had hopped in a cab in Hammersmith and didn’t speak once all the way to Woolwich Arsenal where our younger sister lives. Why didn’t we speak? Well, we both suffer from car sickness and we had just been on a pilgrimage, you see, and were still trying to process the three hours or so that had just passed. I’m talking about Kate Bush. Kate Bush at Eventim Apollo. The opening bars of ‘Running Up That Hill’. Now there was a moment.

But that was the night there was a power outage on stage before the show was due to start. We, the audience, sat waiting for around 50 minutes. At one point when the house lights went up, we all thought the show had been cancelled but a few minutes later Kate is onstage telling us matter-of-factly and down-to-earthedly that “it had been sorted”.

I managed to see a lot of great concerts. Bill Callahan at the Olympia, Dublin in February. Cat Power in July, also at the Olympia. Eels at Muziekgebouw, Eindhoven for Naked Song festival. I was playing at the festival and I managed to duck in behind the sound desk an watched the whole concert (at the end of the concert Mark jumped off the stage and went around the entire auditorium giving hugs to everyone in his path before ending up back on the stage to play an encore).

My Brightest Diamond at The Workmans Club. Shara Worden’s voice is incredible and it was so great to finally see her live. Violinist Cora Venus Lunny played an astonishing improvised set at her album launch in The Grand Social in Dublin. The National at The Iveagh Gardens in Dublin. Speaking of the Iveagh Gardens, I got to see some great comedy there… namely Eddie Pepitone.

Albums released in 2014… I really loved ‘Brothers and Sisters of The Eternal Sun’ by Damien Jurado and wonderful albums by Cora Venus Lunny, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Kate Ellis, Tindersticks, Einsturzende Neubaten, Marissa Nadler… I’m sure I’m missing others and I’ll probably kick myself later.

Well, my own album came out towards the end of the year…early November. I had a kind of belated album launch at The Workmans Club on December 12th. I am pretty confident that was the favourite gig of mine in 2014. I had been rehearsing with the twin cellos of Kevin Murphy and Mary Barnecutt, and also with Katie Kim who sang on more than half of ‘Some Blue Morning’. It felt so good having Katie, Mary and Kevin on stage with me not to mention my good friend Matthew Nolan who plays guitar on ‘The Wild Boar’ when we perform it live (just saying “plays guitar” feels like a gross understatement, though, considering the vast soundscapes he conjures).

Other favorite live moments from the point of view of the stage were the Daylight Music event at Union Chapel with Katie Kim (it just so happens it fell on the Summer solstice. I remember waking up that morning at 4am to the near deafening sound of birdsong from Hampstead Heath. It was quite something). Explore The North Festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands was special too. That was in a church also, a Lutheran church with a lot of history. Oh, singing some David Bowie songs in The National Concert Hall in July was much fun.

And there was a special show that I was invited to be a part of during the East Cork Early Music festival. Justin Grounds and Ilsa de Ziah who play baroque violin and baroque cello respectively rearranged an hour-long set of my songs which we performed together at L’Atitude for a late night show. It was the first time I sang my songs on stage without playing an instrument. It felt like a new discovery. What incredible musicians. Also sharing the stage with David Thomas Broughton, Roddy Doyle, Mark Andrew Hamilton of Woodpigeon at the Golden Factories event for Young Hearts Run Free at St. Michians Church was quite special.

In theatre… I saw the final show of a seven-day run of ‘A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’ performed by Aoife Duffin. She was incredible. It was intense and staggeringly impressive. I wondered how long it must have taken her to unwind after giving so much.

This Is The Kit played in the engineering library of The National concert Hall as a part of the Brassland weekend there in December. Well, that was a beautiful show but equally sweet was having them sing happy birthday to my five-year old daughter in the hallway of my house at 7:30am before they rushed out the door to catch the ferry to Holyhead. I hope they didn’t miss it.

 

—Adrian Crowley

 

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‘Some Blue Morning’ is available now on Chemikal Underground.

https://www.facebook.com/adrian.crowley
http://www.chemikal.co.uk/

 


 

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David Westlake (London, UK)

The Servants formed in 1985 in Hayes, Middlesex, England, by singer and songwriter David Westlake (Luke Haines would later join The Servants in ‘87). Their unique blend of poignant lyrics, intricate arrangements, and utterly compelling indie-pop sounds was a world away from the mundane and noisy lo-fi scene heralded by the NME’s C-86 compilation the band would later appear on. ‘Small Time’/‘Hey Hey We’re The Manqués’ re-issued double album is available now on 2CD via Cherry Red and on double LP via Captured Tracks. David Westlake’s ‘Play Dusty With Me’ will be re-issued next year by U.S. independent label Captured Tracks.

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2014? Deficit, devolution, free movement, Remembrance, Crimea, Ebola, ISIS, One Direction, Rolf Harris. But you know all this already. My 2014 – I got married, I played the NME C86 show, and first time since 1991 I played music with Luke Haines.

I am 49, so the best 2014 music release is unsurprisingly a reissue. It’s the Kevin Ayers Original Album Series five-disc set. The award for best latter-day recording (that I’ve heard) goes to Morrissey, from whom the very existence of new work is always an event. Cherry Red Records reissued C86 in 2014. I am on the compilation, but I always hated that song. Captured Tracks Records will issue my album ‘Play Dusty For Me’ in April 2015. Highly recommended.

Best book of 2014 has to be ‘Coming Up Trumps’ by Jean Trumpington. Multitudes of dull and deluded people trot out self-satisfied memoirs nowadays. Many can claim worth only as purgative toilet-seat reads. ‘Coming Up Trumps’ earns its right to exist – a remarkable life winningly told. Aurum’s paperback selection of John Betjeman newspaper pieces, ‘Lovely Bits of Old England’, is a treat.

Best film – ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’. Impeccable in every respect. Ralph Fiennes delivers a tour-de-force performance. Tenacious and good as Leslie Howard’s Scarlet Pimpernel. Or Anthony Valentine as Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman. There’s one for the teenagers. Someone would have to have a pretentious heart of stone not to love ‘Paddington’, too.

Memorably best new TV – Andrew Graham-Dixon’s BBC documentaries on Paul Nash and William Sickert, with the centennial focus on World War One. Most momentous TV – a repeat in March 2014 of a 1979 episode of ‘Top of the Pops’. Momentous because my wife was on-screen in the audience, then aged 14. Who could have known that thirty-five years later we would be thanking our lucky stars that the presenter she found herself standing next to that week was blameless Mike Read?

 

—David Westlake

 

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‘Play Dusty For Me’ by David Westlake will be re-issued by Captured Tracks (LP & CD) on 18 April 2015. ‘Small Time’/‘Hey Hey We’re The Manqués’ by The Servants is available now on Cherry Red Records (2CD) and on Captured Tracks (2LP).

http://www.lostsheep.com/davidwestlake
http://www.cherryred.co.uk/
http://www.capturedtracks.com/

 


 

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K. Leimer (Seattle, USA)

For the third installment in Brooklyn-based RVNG Intl.’s archival series, the tape is wound back to 1970s Seattle, home place of ambient music pioneer K. Leimer. ‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975 – 1983)’ unearths unreleased portions of Leimer’s vast archives and highlights the work of a self-taught visionary whose use of generative compositions ferried his music to infinite resonance. Kerry Leimer was born in Winnipeg, Canada. He was raised in Chicago before his family permanently settled in Seattle in 1967. This year’s ‘A Period of Review’ heralded one of 2014’s most prized re-issues. K. Leimer’s forthcoming full-length player, ‘The Grey Catalog’ will be released on Palace Of Lights in January 2015. 

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It’s odd that highly obscure music, written and recorded more than 34 years ago, would matter in any way at all today. So despite performing again and completing and releasing a few albums on our little label, much of the past year was spent talking and writing about the germinal work that was assembled as ‘A Period of Review’. Which made 2014 seem more like 1979 to me. But between bouts of studio time and grappling with miles of tape there was some remarkable listening: Gudnadóttir’s ‘Saman’; the Jakob Ullmann ‘Fremde Zeit’ / ‘Addendum’ box; Taylor Deupree’s ‘Faint’; David Sylvian’s ‘There’s a light that enters…’; Nils Frahm’s ‘Screws’; and A Wing Victory for the Sullen’s ‘Atomos’. impossibly rich diversity and innovation. And now wrapping up the year with ‘Different Every Time’, a book that’s unevenly written but compelling all the same. And the recording — especially important to me because it includes Wyatt performing one of the ‘Experiences’ by John Cage from a record, also thirty+ years old, originally issued on the Obscure label. Now if i could just find the piano pieces from that same document! The free hours that remained were given over to compiling another reissue, based on ‘The Neo-Realist’ (at Risk). A compilation for my fake rock band Savant which will be released in the first half of 2015. Titled ‘Artificial Dance’, it seems set to guarantee that my experience of 2015 will seem more like 1982. But beyond the solace and joy of such sustained musical innovation and accomplishment, the overriding experience of 2014 remains the naked violence and injustice that my country visits upon so many people. Our own citizens routinely and unjustifiably killed by police; The published and redacted details of the Bush administration’s torture program; pornographic levels of wealth set beside unprecedented income inequality; blanket denials of our shared environmental crisis. Just who is meant to be left solvent and able to purchase the refrigerator magnets and iCrap that drives most of the culture?

 

—K. Leimer

 

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‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975-1983)’  is available now on RVNG Intl.

http://www.palaceoflights.com/
http://igetrvng.com/

 


 

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Matthew Collings (Edinburgh, UK)

Matthew Collings is a Scotland-based composer. In addition to his solo recording and live output, he collaborates regularly with artists from disparate backgrounds, including musicians Dag Rosenqvist from Jasper TX and Denovali label-mate Talvihorros, dancers and filmmakers. 2014 marked the release of Collings’ new sophomore full-length, ‘Silence Is A Rhythm Too’ on the prestigious German-based independent label, Denovali Records.

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So, 2014.

Has been another year of slow growth. I spent much of the year wrestling with the idea of Edward Snowden. Realising that my work is much better off with other people, and made with other people…and so am I.

It saw various births and deaths of beautiful people who I will miss and look forward to getting to know. I wonder what role I will play in people’s lives.

This year saw a furry of releases – a beautiful vinyl/photobook with Elin Svennberg, the dark yet uplifting pop of Graveyard Tapes, and a new record in ‘Silence is a Rhythm Too’ and a re-release of ‘Splintered Instruments’ on Denovali. 2015 will expect the Snowden monster to rear it’s head, as well as a record with Dag Rosenqvist which I’m finishing right now.

I’ve been incredibly lucky this year to meet so many amazing, inspiring people. The thought of them keeps me positive when I start to complain about my place and position in the world, which I really have no ground to do.

I’m a very very lucky person.

Some music to listen to this year: These New Puritans, Ben Frost, Talvihorros, Numbers are Futile.

Here’s to 2015 ; chasing sound, not chasing my tail.

 

—Matthew Collings

 

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‘Silence Is A Rhythm Too’ is available now on Denovali.

http://mcollingsmusic.com/
http://www.denovali.com/

 


 

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Sophie Hutchings (Sydney, Australia)

‘White Light’ is the latest collection of mesmerising piano music from Sydney-based composer and pianist Sophie Hutchings. Beginning with 2010’s debut ‘Becalmed’, the gifted composer has crafted her unique blend of neo-classical, piano-based compositions, which would later be followed-up with the spellbinding ‘Night Sky’ LP in 2012. Both records are available now on the Australian independent label, Preservation. Hutchings is currently working on her third studio album – and follow-up to ‘Night Sky’ – which will be released in 2015.

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Does anyone get nostalgic as midnight creeps towards the closing of a year, the beginning of another…… Reminiscent. Looking back over years, contemplating life…….

As a child I often created a sacred moment as the year wound down. Preparing for the approaching strike of midnight, setting up the record player with one of mum or dad’s records. I took life very seriously! Always allowing a moment over midnight to ponder over life… And so we should…… Casting our minds back and then casting it ahead in view of a new beginning.

I often start the year with the goal of uncomplicating my life. Uncluttering my brain… Simplfying and yet as weeks and months go by, slowly or quickly enough, the complicated starts to work its way back in. Whether it be the things in your life or the things you fill your mind with…

There was a lot of creative purging this year associated with writing the new album.. The highs and lows that come with that and life in general. So as I venture down the beautiful south coast of Australia this week, and make my way through the diverse landscapes of Myanmar in January, I want to remind myself of a basic fact. The simple things in life can offer so much contentment…

A boundless vast ocean, lying under a star lit sky, or gazing into an open fire……..Things like these..
I’m going to press the reset button and see how it goes for me this year ….

 

Inspiring Highlights of 2014:

Reads and Watch:
First read of 2014 – Donna Tarts ‘The Goldfinch’ one of the best contemporary authors to date. Her compelling narratives lead to not being able to put the book down!..

‘Tracks – The documented Solo Journey of Robyn Davidson’ (also known as ‘The Camel Lady’) through the Australian West Desert. The cinematography and soundtrack by Garth Stevenson created for the actual film was also a highlight.

Reading Solzhenitsyn’s contemplative and symbolic story ‘The First Circle’ depicting the lives of a secret research development made up of Gulag inmates set in Moscow. His sayings and philosophy on life pack some punch… Indeed an author to respect.

I watch so many movies so this is a hard one, but first one that comes to mind is Lao film ‘The Rocket’. It wasn’t released this year but was a standout for me. After living in Laos for sometime, Kim Mordaunt (director) was inspired to write the film whilst working on the documentary ‘Bomb Harvest’, and discovering Laos was the most bombed country on the planet, per capita. Two young children play the main characters in the movie, both whom had never actually acted before. It was a really inspiring film and gives insight to a country that has suffered at the hands of war.

I wanted to watch Béla Tarr’s 8 hour epic film ‘Satantango’ this year and it’s on my film hit list for 2015! There’s some beautiful shots HERE from it set to one of my all favourite composers Arvo Pärt.

Music:
I’ve been embracing a few new musical eras and genres. 60’s Vietnamese rock, Gamelan and also Turkish singer songwriter Fikret Kızılok!…
Also, ‘Open’ by The Necks was on high rotation.
Cleaning the house to this year’s Liars release ‘Mess’.
Touring with Ólafur Arnalds…
Creatively purging and mapping out the journey for the new album which will continue into the new year…….

All the best to everyone’s start to 2015.

 

—Sophie Hutchings

 

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‘White Light’ is available now as a free download via Bandcamp HERE. ‘Becalmed’ and ‘Night Sky’ are out now on the Preservation label.

http://www.sophiehutchings.com/
http://www.preservation.com.au/

 


 

To read Part 1 of Don’t Look Back, click HERE.

To read our Albums & Re-issues of 2014, click HERE.

With very special thanks to all the wonderful contributors for their contributions.
Wishing all our readers a very happy new year and best wishes for 2015.

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Web: http://fracturedair.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FracturedAir
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fractured_Air
Mixcloud: http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/

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Mixtape: Some Velvet Morning [A Fractured Air Mix]

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Some Velvet Morning [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/some-velvet-morning-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Goat ‘To Travel The Path Unknown’ [Sub Pop]
02. Miles Davis ‘John McLaughlin’ [CBS, Columbia]
03. Pharoah Sanders ‘Greeting To Saud’ [Impulse!]
04. Boom Bip Feat. Nina Nastasia ‘The Matter (Of Our Discussion)’ [Lex]
05. Kate Ellis ‘Why Do You Smile?’ [Diatribe]
06. Spoon ‘Inside Out’ [Anti-]
07. St. Vincent ‘Severed Crossed Fingers’ [Loma Vista, Republic]
08. Rival Consoles ‘3 Chords’ [Erased Tapes]
09. Nils Frahm ‘Peter’ (Clark Remix) [Warp]
10. Caribou ‘Our Love’ [City Slang / Merge]
11. Daphni & Owen Pallett ‘Julia’ [Jiaolong]
12. Cora Venus Lunny ‘The Unknown (Dissolution)’ [Diatribe]
13. Tape ‘Merak’ [Häpna]
14. The Raincoats ‘The Void’ [Rough Trade]
15. Adrian Crowley ‘Trouble’ [Chemikal Underground]
16. Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra ‘Some Velvet Morning’ [Reprise]

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Facebook / Twitter

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Fractured Air 23: You’re Quite Alright (A Mixtape by Adrian Crowley)

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Irish songwriter Adrian Crowley returns with his hugely anticipated seventh studio album, ‘Some Blue Morning’, this November via Glasgow-based independent label Chemikal Underground. ‘Some Blue Morning’ is the follow-up to Crowley’s masterful 2012 Choice Music Prize nominated ‘I See Three Birds Flying’, and features contributions from Seti The First’s Kevin Murphy on cello; Dublin-based songwriter Katie Kim on vocals and members of London string ensemble Geese, amongst many more. After a series of wonderfully received live performances last year across Europe, Scandinavia, UK and Ireland, Crowley returns to the stage to promote ‘Some Blue Morning’ this Autumn. ‘Some Blue Morning’ will be released on 10th November 2014 via Chemikal Underground.

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Fractured Air 23: You’re Quite Alright (A Mixtape by Adrian Crowley)

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-23-youre-quite-alright-a-mixtape-by-adrian-crowley/

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Tracklisting:

01. David Bowie ‘Art Decade’ (RCA Victor)
02. T Rex ‘Cosmic Dancer’ (TELDEC)
03. Robert Wyatt ‘Sea Song’ (Virgin)
04. Codeine ‘D’ (Sub Pop)
05. Diabologum ‘La Maman et La Putain’ (Lithium)
06. Rachel’s ‘Rhine And Courtesan’ (Quarterstick)
07. Tindersticks ‘Marbles’ (This Way Up)
08. Nico ‘The Fairest of The Seasons’ (Verve)
09. Cora Venus Lunny ‘The Known (Calcination)’ (Diatribe)
10. Blixa Bargeld & Teho Teardo ‘A Quiet Life’ (Spècula)
11. Big Star ‘Take Care’ (PVC)

 


 

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‘Some Blue Morning’, Adrian Crowley’s seventh studio album, will be released on November 10th 2014 via Chemikal Underground. ALL DETAILS HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/adrian.crowley.5
http://www.chemikal.co.uk/artists/adrian-crowley/

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To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, & Twitter HERE.

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Written by admin

September 4, 2014 at 11:04 am