FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘This Is How We Fly

Central And Remote: Seán Mac Erlaine

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 Interview with Seán Mac Erlaine.

“The aim was (and is) to develop a responsive electronic world which matches somehow the sound and approach I had developed with saxophones and clarinets.”

—Seán MacErlaine

Words: Mark Carry, Artwork: Craig Carry

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Seán Mac Erlaine is a Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist, composer and music producer, recognized as one of Ireland’s most forward-thinking creative musicians. Mac Erlaine’s works intersects folk, free improvisation, jazz and traditional music. He also collaborates with a range of non-musical artists particularly in theatre and radio.

An accomplished saxophonist and clarinetist, Mac Erlaine holds a PhD in music (practice-led research around customised live electronics in solo woodwind performance), a first degree honours Masters of Music (Jazz Performance) and a Diploma in Jazz Performance awarded by The Guildhall School of Music, London.

Mac Erlaine has collaborated with a hugely diverse range of musicians and artists reflecting his own versatility and interest in cross-platform work. He has performed with leading musical figures including Bill Frisell, David Toop, The Smith Quartet, Hayden Chisholm, Lisa Hannigan, Frank Gratkowski, Ronan Guilfoyle, Iarla O’Lionaird, Damo Suzuki and many more. He has also performed as a special guest with Detroit techno legends Underground Resistance and The Gloaming.

One of the pinnacles of the Irish composer’s work are the two utterly compelling solo works already under his belt: the mesmerising 2012 debut full-length ‘Long After The Music Is Gone’ (recorded entirely in a small room in Leitrim) and last year’s eagerly awaited follow-up ‘A Slender Song’, consisting of live recordings of improvised performances around Ireland over a four-year period. The illuminating live performances took place across the length and breadth of the country (in turn somehow reflecting the Irish landscape and its unfathomable beauty) encompassing Cork, Dingle, Dublin, Galway, Laois, Meath, Mitchelstown, Skibereen, Sligo, Tralee and Wicklow. Both records are available on the innovative Dublin-based independent label, Ergodos.

The near-mythical Irish/Swedish quartet of This is How we Fly is a contemporary folk band with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh – fiddle & hardanger fiddle, Seán Mac Erlaine – clarinets & live electronics, Nic Gareiss – percussive dance, and Petter Berndalen – drums and percussion. Their music sees Swedish folk music rhythms meet the texture of traditional Irish fiddle, percussive dance from America & improvised jazz and electronics. The band’s self-titled debut is a timeless gem: a distillation of contemporary music’s infinite possibilities as an emotion-filled mystical world is unleashed with each timbre and tone of incomprehensible sound cast by these four gifted musicians.

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‘A Slender Song’ is available now on Ergodos.

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

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Interview with Seán MacErlaine.

It’s a pleasure to ask you some questions about your otherworldly musical compositions. Firstly, congratulations on the stunning new album, ‘A Slender Song’; it’s a work of tender beauty. This record is a collection of live recordings of improvised performances around Ireland over a four-year period, which in many ways offers a snapshot into various moments in time; reflections on life and indeed, the landscape and trajectory of the Irish landscape. Please take me back to these live performances and the art of improvisation?

Seán Mac Erlaine: Thanks so much for asking, listening and the kind words. I started playing live solo shows around 2006/2007 but in 2010 my approach and tools changed fairly radically as I packed up my dozens of hardware pedals and acres of cables (it just got too heavy for the bicycle!) and started developing and using customised software and a computer alongside my woodwinds. This coincided with quite an increase in solo performances mainly in Ireland, and pretty much all over Ireland, and happy to say, mostly in really interesting spaces for people who (gave the impression) were listening! And being in a space with people is pretty much key to the improvisation thing for me. I’m doing my best to respond to the place and generate some form of exchange with an audience. It seems that to create new music afresh with no predetermined plan is an honest way of attempting that. I guess if you meet a friend for a chat you don’t want either party to really know what going to be said beforehand, to my mind that gets stale very quickly.

I was very interested to read that you see ‘A Slender Song’ as a sister album to your debut solo record, ‘Long After The Music Is Gone’. How has the process changed or technique altered since recording the debut record, Sean? The compelling sound of the woodwind instrumentation in addition to the innovative live electronics conjures up such a timeless and enchanting sound. I can imagine there is a close dialogue and sort of symbiosis existing between the acoustic and electronic worlds of sound for you?

SM: The first record was made in private, in a room in one location, Leitrim. In many ways in was about that location and drilling down into some ideas around that. While it’s full of improvisation there was also much deliberation and reworking and attempting to create a coherent piece of work. There was a lot of learning about the sound world I was presenting. With ‘A Slender Song‘ it was a case of playing with all I had learnt from the first record and bringing it to audiences in different parts of the country and really seeing if I could create new music from scratch every night from a type of solo woodwinds and electronics language I had worked on.

Since I started working with computers, this new set-up allows me to work with live electronics in a much more nuanced way than the guitar stomp boxes I had been using. The aim was (and is) to develop a responsive electronic world which matches somehow the sound and approach I had developed with saxophones and clarinets. I spent the years since then working with this new system (built-in Max/MSP) so that I can improvise with it like an instrumentalist would. Everything you hear comes first from the instrument – there’s no external sampling or prepared sounds, I think this helps bridge a gap between the organic and electronic.

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Please take me back to your earliest musical memories? At what age did you begin playing clarinet and saxophone instruments?

SM: My predominant memories of really getting into music are through radio. Back in the day (!), Dublin’s pirate stations played many hours of 1960s chart music which I listened to for hours on end. I was playing piano back then and refusing to do the exams and buying the big book of The Doors arranged for piano was a major turning point. By that time I was playing a lot of guitar and was writing songs and playing Dublin’s singer-songwriter scene as well as terrible lead guitar playing in a band playing Velvet Underground tunes and the like. But for whatever reason I became fascinated with the saxophone, I was about 16 by then. To this day I listen a lot to those early song-making heroes but I ventured deep into the world of instrumental music and now my fingertips hurt when I pick up the six string!

In terms of influences, I would love to gain an insight into the composers and musicians you feel have inspired you – and continue to inspire you – on the path of creating new sounds and music-making?

SM: Well, the important early ones are Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bowie (jeez I sound like a dad-rocker), when the saxophone arrived it was all Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Miles Davis and I practised everything I could understand from their music for years. I rarely listen to them anymore. I’m much more likely to listen JJ Cale than Bill Evans these days but maybe that’ll change. I’m really into guys like Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jon Hassell, Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan and heaps of other non-related stuff.

As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, please discuss for me the essence of this technique and the parallel that exists between this area of interest and music?

SM: Explaining the essence of Alexander Technique is quite the challenge, as it encompasses and influences really a lot of things and has been one of the most significant things I’ve encountered. One explanation is that it’s a training of one’s thinking, a development of a mental discipline which allows the student to improve in whatever they are doing. Another description is that I help to teach people how to think and move freely, easily and more efficiently. Music is something that I really care about doing, Alexander Technique allows me to do everything better so music falls into the everything net. It has brought much pure joy to me during performances perhaps sometimes in place of what might have been occupied by negative thinking or anxiety.

In terms of collaboration, you have been involved in many wonderful projects having performed with Bill Frissell, The Gloaming, Lisa Hannigan among many others during the recent past. I can imagine these collaborations must help your own development as a musician and performer? Please recount your memories of playing with some of these musicians? Do you have other collaborations planned in the near future?

SM: Absolutely. Music is a communication and getting to play with other musicians (and artists outside of music) of such a high calibre is really quite a spin. You can learn a ton of things from even watching someone great on stage and then sharing that stage really builds on that. I’m always collaborating with people so in the next few months I’m working on a new theatre piece with an amazing team of actors and dancers; I’m writing for a small improvising choir and setting (some of) Finnegans Wake for them; I’ve a gig with a monstrously good string quartet; and some more secret surprises that I can’t blurt out yet. But each one is a true privilege to be able to spend time and create with these folk.

You are also a member of the highly innovative and awe-inspiring Irish/Swedish group, This Is How We Fly. It’s one of those rare and magical events to witness This Is How We Fly in concert, and I’m glad to have witnessed your show earlier in the year. Please discuss the inception of This Is How We Fly and how each of you crossed paths? Please shed some light on the forthcoming record and what ideas you feel could materialize on the band’s follow-up?

SM: This has been a very special collaboration for me especially as I’m coming from a somewhat another world from the three other men who are steeped in traditional musics in a very deep, informed and ridiculously creative way. I was a big fan of Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s playing for years – true story: I first meet him in my own kitchen at a party. And we had spent some time working on material and just playing before he put the group together for a once-off gig. Caoimhín was the only one who knew all of us individually so it was a gamble and we haven’t looked back since. We have been lucky to get to play as often as we do, to feel such support from audiences and to get our first record out there. The next one is slowly brewing, we are writing together and road testing the material live and bit by bit amassing new ways of creating together and listening together. Hopefully that’s what people will hear when album number two is ready!

 


 

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‘A Slender Song’ is available now on Ergodos.

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

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Written by markcarry

February 23, 2015 at 11:39 am

ON SALE: Colleen plus special guest Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh / Cork Opera House / Sunday 3 May 2015

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We’re delighted to announce a special double-bill concert comprising the world-renowned composers Colleen (France) and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (Ireland). Each artist has developed a wholly unique playing style and highly distinctive approach to their own respective instrument of choice: Colleen’s viola da gamba and Ó Raghallaigh’s Hardanger d’Amore fiddle. Taking place on the May Bank Holiday Weekend, this concert will be Colleen’s only Irish performance of 2015 in support of her soon-to-be-released fifth studio album on Thrill Jockey Records. In addition, this one-off concert will take place in the intimate setting of the Cork Opera House where the stage itself will be shared by both musicians and audience alike, making for an unforgettable experience. Colleen plus special guest Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh performs at Cork Opera House on Sunday 3rd May 2015, tickets are €17.50.

Tickets are available now from the Cork Opera House Box Office (Emmet Place, Cork), telephone: + 353 (0) 21 – 427 0022, or online from the following link:

http://www.corkoperahouse.ie/events/colleen-caoimh%C3%ADn-ó-raghallaigh

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COLLEEN (FRA)

The Paris-born musician Cécile Schott has been making music as Colleen for over a decade now: beginning with a string of much-loved records for The Leaf Label (debut 2003 album ‘Everyone Alive Wants Answers’, 2005’s ‘The Golden Morning Breaks’ and 2007’s ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’, as well as 2006’s ‘Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique’, (an E.P. originally created for Atelier de Création Radiophonique as a commission from France Culture). After a four-year break, Colleen made her long-awaited return to music in 2013 with the release of her album ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ via London-based label Second Language, its eleven songs featuring, for the first time, Schott’s own voice as well as a new-found love for Jamaican music and rhythm. Colleen’s hugely anticipated fifth studio album will be released by Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey Records in April 2015.

While her first album, ‘Everyone Alive Wants Answers’, was made up entirely of acoustic samples taken from her eclectic record collection, second album ‘The Golden Morning Breaks’ saw her exploring a wide range of instruments which she all played herself – cello, classical guitar, ukulele, music boxes, windchimes, and a rare 19th century glass harmonicon. After the music box interlude of the ‘Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique’ EP, she made an old dream come true with 2007’s ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’– a modern album using almost exclusively baroque instruments (viola da gamba, spinet, clarinet, classical guitar and crystal glasses), focusing on their resonance and the silence between the notes. Colleen’s performance at Cork Opera House will mark Cécile Schott’s eagerly-awaited return to Cork to mark the release of her fifth studio album.

Press:

“An album of unusual sensuality and feeling.”
(The Irish Times)

“…a gleaming treasure.”
(Folk Radio UK)

“Like nothing you’ve ever heard. Astonishing.”
(DJ)

“Lyrical and full of light…magical.”
(Mojo)

Links:

http://colleenplays.org/
https://www.facebook.com/colleenplays

 


 

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CAOIMHÍN Ó RAGHALLAIGH (IRE)

Ireland’s Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh plays traditional and contemporary folk music on Hardanger d’Amore and other fiddles. The masterful musician and gifted composer is undoubtedly a national treasure; heralding a distinctive and utterly compelling voice in Irish contemporary music. In addition to being an established solo artist, he performs with two groups The Gloaming and This is How we Fly, in duos with Dan Trueman, Mick O’Brien & Brendan Begley, a trio with Martin Hayes & Peadar Ó Riada, and as part of many other collaborative projects.

2014 was a remarkable year for Ireland-based composer Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. Firstly, January ‘14 saw the release of contemporary quintet The Gloaming’s stunning self-titled debut album via Real World Records. Subsequent concerts would be performed across the globe (including Sydney’s Opera House) to mass celebration and widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as touring with his other band, the Irish/Swedish quartet This Is How We Fly, across both Ireland and Europe, Ó Raghallaigh also performed a series of truly special solo concerts (entitled “In My Mind”, a solo fiddle and film show) across the length of Ireland for the month of October, organized by Irish Music Network. Despite the hectic touring schedules, Ó Raghallaigh also released two stunning albums: the solo album ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ (via Dublin-based label Diatribe Records) and the mesmerizing ‘Laghdú’, a collaboration with U.S. fiddle player Dan Trueman.

Press:

“a seamless and unfettered soundscape… there’s enough space and light here for influences as diverse as baroque to minimalism to breathe free… the work of musicians reveling in the moment: a rare find.”
(The Irish Times)

“possibly one of the most fulsome and beautiful recordings I have ever heard. Great music has this magnificent power over us, a power to which the heart must yield always and without regret.”
(Iarla Ó Lionáird)

“ASTOUNDING… Replete with unexpected melodic twists and turns, the tunes are highly cinematic, painting richly impressionistic images.”
(Colm O’Hare, Hot Press)

Links:

http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com/
https://www.facebook.com/caoimhinoraghallaigh

 


 

Fractured Air presents: COLLEEN plus very special guest CAOIMHÍN Ó RAGHALLAIGH / Cork Opera House / Sunday 3 May 2015

Tickets are available now from the Cork Opera House Box Office (Emmet Place, Cork), telephone: + 353 (0) 21 – 427 0022, or online from the following link:

http://www.corkoperahouse.ie/events/colleen-caoimh%C3%ADn-ó-raghallaigh

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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Central And Remote: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

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Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

“The Earth orbiting the Sun describes an ellipse, and traditional music is at the heart of my own elliptical orbit. Sometimes I’m very close to it, sometimes a little more distant, and this record feels like I’m a little further towards the outer edge of that trajectory. Winter, night-time, facing out.”

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

Words: Mark Carry

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Ireland’s Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh plays traditional and contemporary folk music on Hardanger d’Amore and other fiddles. The masterful musician and gifted composer is undoubtedly a national treasure; heralding a distinctive and utterly compelling voice in Irish contemporary music. In addition to being an established solo artist, he performs with two groups The Gloaming and This is How we Fly, in duos with Dan Trueman, Mick O’Brien & Brendan Begley, a trio with Martin Hayes & Peadar Ó Riada, and as part of many other collaborative projects.

Last August saw the eagerly awaited release of Dublin-based independent label, Diatribe’s Solo Series Phase II which features some of the country’s most exciting and ground-breaking musicians making music today: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (Hardanger d’Amore); Kate Ellis (cello); Adrian Hart (violin) and Cora Venus Lunny (violin, viola). Each of these stunning solo works represents the utterly transcendent sonic creations currently being unearthed from Ireland’s vivid, imaginative and striking musical landscape. In the words of label Director, Nick Roth: “I feel privileged to have been party to sharing these journeys; four circuitous paths across wild terrain which converged, finally, on the top of the mountain, looking out. I am so happy to introduce this music to its audience at last, and I look forward to seeing it march on from here – sliding across the other side of the scree, and on into the world.”

Ó Raghallaigh’s newest solo work, ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ contains some of the most beautiful and visceral musical compositions to have graced this earth. The album closer, ‘What What What’ is an intimate re-work of a timeless gem that forms a vital pulse to This Is How We Fly’s self-titled debut record. Elsewhere, the experimental sounds of ‘Rún’ inhabits the cosmic space of the late great, Arthur Russell. The traditional ‘Easter Snow’ is beautifully re-interpreted by Ó Raghallaigh on the album’s penultimate track. A beguiling atmosphere is immediately cast upon us with the album’s mesmerising opening pieces of music, ‘Litosphere’ and ‘Cloud’. As ever, with Ó Raghallaigh’s deft touch of hand, an ocean’s depth of raw emotion and rare beauty seeps through the aching pores of the listener’s heart and mind.

Laghdú, the title of this debut album by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman, translates as: a lessening, a decrease, a reduction. The music they have written evokes a purity and timeless quality as the majestic fiddle notes becomes a dialogue between two close friends. In essence, the universal language of music is instilled in each of Laghdú’s eleven evocative compositions. The dynamic range is nothing short of staggering — from the near-silent to the nigh-on orchestral, at times exploding joyously from their hybrid 10-string fiddles, at times barely there — holding time still. Laghdú is a revelatory, awe-inspiring and exhilarating experience.

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Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

It’s such a pleasure to ask you some questions about your music, Caoimhín. Since the last time we spoke quite a lot has happened, music-wise, so it’s very exciting to talk to you once again! You have recently returned from California where you were teaching fiddle as part of the 31st annual Valley of the Moon fiddling school. The photographs from this place looks spectacularly beautiful; this must have been a very special experience for you. I would love for you to recount your memories of your stay there and indeed, the lessons in particular that you taught to your students? What sort of advice would you share to people who are starting to learn a musical instrument, Caoimhín? 

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh: California was indeed beautiful. I was teaching the fiddle there among the redwoods at the invitation of Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before — an incredibly strong sense of community, a wonderful openness and welcome for everyone, a very special atmosphere. Nearly 250 people in a self-contained bubble for an entire week, an immensely enjoyable and nourishing bubble, hugely inspiring for tutors and students alike. The sense of fun and play are a very strong part of it, both such important aspects of real learning.

In terms of the lessons in particular, I had three classes a day of between 30 and 50 people each, and it was certainly a challenge at first to figure how to teach a group that large effectively. I guess my aim was to help people discover ways to expand time, and expand the notes of the music, to get to a point where every note feels huge and bursting, where they feel like they have all the time in the world to spend on that enjoying note before going on to the next, and through that feel what it’s like to play music that’s full of heart. Quite simple, but beautiful too, and so rewarding.

For people starting to learn an instrument, one bit of advice would be this: not to think of the aim as to play that instrument, but to both find a way to let the music that’s inside you to burst out, and to enrich the music that’s inside you. Pick some favourite tunes to sing to yourself over and over and over again, hum or whistle them all the time, become so familiar with them that you are bordering on boredom, and then turn the tunes into playgrounds for fun and adventure for yourself. Of course you need some technical ability on the instrument, but I really feel like you don’t need that much, far less than most people think, and if you have music inside you that is just bursting to get out, your body will find a way. It is SO easy to become bogged down in the technique of playing the instrument and never get above and beyond that, and to lose sight of the music and the reason why you wanted to play in the first place.

Play. It’s an important word we use to describe making music. If you can have immense fun in playing music without your instrument, the instrument then just becomes a tool to let that music out in another way. Pick one tune, an incredibly simple tune, immerse yourself in it, get to know it inside out upside down, and then start playing with it through your voice, be audacious, make yourself laugh with the ridiculous things you do when you are truly playing with it and having too much fun, embrace all the idiosyncratic things peculiar to you, your voice, your mind, yourself.

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Congratulations on your new solo album, ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’. It’s such an incredible journey that really captivates your heart. This album was made as part of the wonderful Diatribe Solo Series II that has been an ongoing project from 2009 to its eventual release this year. Firstly, please discuss this particular project for me, Caoimhín and what you set out to create and capture from the outset? I would be very interested to know in what way do you see ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ fitting alongside your previous marvel work of ‘Where The One-Eyed Man Was King’?

CÓR: Nick Roth approached me a few years ago now to ask if I’d be interested in making a solo record for Diatribe as part of a String Series, along with Kate Ellis, Cora Venus Lunny and Adrian Hart. I really like what Diatribe do, and what I thought it might allow me to do, too, and I viewed it as a wonderful chance to push things a little further than The One-Eyed Man, and put out some music that I might not otherwise have a chance to release. The actual recording of it was up in Wicklow, in the most beautiful little cottage in the mountains, with some lovely mics and Keith Lindsay engineering. We spent two or three days there, recording both things I had intended to record, plus some improvisations and other things on the suggestion of Nick Roth. It must have been fairly chilly — I remember that between pieces, when there’d be a break, we had all four of the gas cooker’s ring firing full blast, the oven the same, in an effort to thaw into the bones. I’m particularly delighted with ‘Cloud’, which is a decomposed version of the very common traditional reel, Miss McLeod, because I’d never played it like that before and only did so because Nick pushed me to, and I love the result. I love the two Mammoths [‘Big Mammoth’ & ‘Little Mammoth’], too — they totally delight me, how ridiculous they are on first listen, but so beautiful once you get over that.

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In terms of solo music, your fiddle music belongs in the same illuminating stratosphere as say, Satie’s piano works, Bach’s cello concertos, Frahm’s piano and so on. What is immediately apparent on ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ is your singular style of instrumental music; the timeless sound you create could be only made by you (and isn’t that the hallmark of a great artist?) I would love for you to shed some light your approach to composition and the trusted tool of the Hardanger d’Amore fiddle with which you create such beautiful music? Can you discuss the choice of the album-title and the central narrative that you feel runs through the collection of songs? I feel the title serves the perfect embodiment to the resultant music contained on ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’. 

CÓR: That’s kind and generous in the extreme of you. I feel quite embarrassed by such a statement, and absolutely can’t imagine how anyone could think that, but graciously accept the compliment, too. Thank you! In terms of composition, I like to improvise, and record the improvisation, then review it and extract what I think has promise, be that extracting the finished recording, or extracting material with which to craft a performable piece of music. I  like to think about space, sound, texture, feel and effect on state of mind as opposed than notes, chords and musical ideas.

The Earth orbiting the Sun describes an ellipse, and traditional music is at the heart of my own elliptical orbit. Sometimes I’m very close to it, sometimes a little more distant, and this record feels like I’m a little further towards the outer edge of that trajectory. Winter, night-time, facing out.

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‘Má Tá’ is my current favourite; a piece of music that elicits a full spectrum of human emotion. What are your memories of writing this particular piece, Caoimhín? I would love to know how much are these pieces of music improvisation-based or spontaneously created or is it a case of taking time for the music to naturally take flight where a piece of music will eventually bloom?

CÓR: A few years ago I had a three-month residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, and improvised every day for an hour or two in the beautiful chapel there. Má Tá popped out one day there, one of the very few “traditional tunes” that wrote themselves there for me. I loved the discipline of that residency, and the wonder of taking a blank sheet of time every single day, whether you felt like it or not, and painting sound onto it until something new and beautiful would pop out, which it inevitably would.

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Please discuss the act of improvisation and the creative process involved? Already this year, you have made utterly transcendent music — borne from live improvisation and for live performance — with the likes of cellist Julia Kent in Cork and Bill Frisell as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and Iceland’s Amiina sometime ago in Dublin, among many others. I can only imagine how special the feeling is when music created by a collaboration of this kind (and in this live context) ascends into the atmosphere. Is there a certain approach or path you seek when exploring sounds through live improvisation?

CÓR: The creative process for me begins with the desire to be at that point where things come into existence, the desire to start with a blank canvas and to not know what the first brush stroke will be, plus the ensuing reaction to that. Improvisation for me is being in the moment, reacting in that moment, being open to anything and everything, being willing to go wherever it is that you will be taken, relinquishing control, embracing chance. What I seek when playing live is a change in the state of mind in both myself and the listeners, more-so than following any musical ideas through. I’m drawn to less, to paring back and inviting space and silence into play, playing so quiet and so little that the silence becomes a magnifying glass for extraneous sound; for a while, at least, until something changes, until the balloon of sound wants something to inflate it again, fill up the room with notes that now sound big and bold and beautiful, after the quiet, and make you breathe in a different way, larger, after the whispers.

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I must congratulate you on the phenomenal Laghdú record, which is the ground-breaking collaboration between you and Dan Trueman. I can’t begin to describe the sheer beauty and joy this album ceaselessly transmits. You and Dan must feel deeply proud of this gorgeous record. Please give me the background to Laghdu’s inception? When did you first cross paths with Dan? I feel this deep connection between you both with the music of ‘Laghdú’ casts its magnificent spell. Can you describe the musical connection that exists between you both, Caoimhín? It’s such a joy to witness each artist’s devoted instruments coalesce together, almost like an intangible symbiosis that gravitates between the soaring notes and masterful musicians. 

CÓR: I first met Dan in September 2000. He was the first person I ever saw play the hardanger fiddle, and that obviously has had a fairly monumental impact on where my music has gone since then. He had just brought out a record with his wife, Monica, called “Trollstilt”, which remains one of my favourite albums, and one I have listened to a very very large number of times. We started making music together in 2010-11, when Dan lived in Dublin for a year with his family. In addition to being a phenomenal composer and a frightening fiddler, Dan is also a computer music genius, and initially we toyed with various programmes, electronics and tools before deciding not to go down that particular rabbit hole, and instead focus solely on the pure joy of playing two fiddles together. While he was living in Dublin, Dan went to Norway to collect an instrument that had been made specifically for him by Salve Håkedal, a strange and beautiful 10-string version of the hardanger fiddle. It was the most beautiful instrument I’d ever had the privilege to play, and immediately asked Salve to make me one too — it’s the only instrument I play now, and I find it near-impossible to go back to playing anything else, such is the beauty of it. Equally special are the bows we play with, baroque and transitional bows from French bowmaker Michel Jamonneau. And though we have identical instruments and identical bows, the sound and music we both look for and get is really quite different to the other. Writing music with Dan is such a thrill, crafting things phrase by phrase, interlocked parts. And playing that music together is the most absolutely satisfying and rewarding experience, utterly thrilling and delightful.

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Can you talk about the choice of the two traditional songs on Laghdu: ‘The Jack of Diamonds Three’ and ‘Fead an Iolair’ (the latter was also recorded in s different version for ‘Where The One Eyed Man Is King’)? What are your memories of first hearing and indeed playing these particular tunes?

CÓR: The Jack of Diamonds Three is a set of three tunes from three different traditions: an old-time American tune (Jack of Diamonds), an Irish tune (Garrett Barry’s) and a Norwegian (a mazurka from Vidar Lande). When Dan suggested Vidar’s, I immediately thought of Garrett Barry’s. They seemed to fit nicely together, and we liked the idea of a set of traditional tunes that represented all three countries from whose traditions we had been extracting DNA. Garrett Barry’s is a tune I associate with Willie Clancy, of course, as Garrett Barry was a huge influence on him, although I think I first learned it on the whistle and flute from Michael Tubridy as a teenager, who I was lucky enough to have as my teacher on those instruments for many years. And speaking of Michael Tubridy, his solo record from 1979 is called “The Eagle’s Whistle”, which is what “Fead an Iolair” translates as, and it is from Michael I learned that tune many years ago. I also associate it with Séamus Ennis, and particularly his playing of it on the “Feidhlim Tonn Ri’s Castle” LP, an epic story punctuated with a few scattered tunes. I love playing it with Dan, and in addition to it in its innocent and beautiful state, there’s also a much much darker version of it on the record, “Tuireamh na n-Iolar”. Gnarled, twisted and powerful.

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‘What What What’ is one of those awe-inspiring pieces of music that never ceases to amaze. I love how this piece (and others too, of course) has mutated, transformed and evolved across various incarnations; belonging nicely on This Is How We Fly’s debut record, your newest solo work and again on Laghdú. As a musician and composer, it must be wonderful to witness a piece of music you wrote evolve and change depending on the context — space and time — in which you find yourself in. I wonder is this one of the endearing thrills of a musician as his/her work continues to explore new terrain? I would love for you to recount your memories of ‘What What What’ and the moment in time which this beautiful song came into glittering life? 

CÓR: I’ve always loved having recordings of the same person playing the same tune at different points in their life, seeing how it had evolved — different versions of the same thing by the same person. And I love the idea of letting a piece go where it wants depending on the people you’re playing with, too. As far as I remember, I wrote “What What What” down at the Baltimore Fiddle Fair in 2007 or 2008. I think I’d just heard Brittany Haas play the fiddle for the first time, and was totally blown away by what she was doing — I couldn’t understand her bowing, went back to where I was staying, took out the fiddle and tried to figure it out, but somehow this tune popped out instead. Brittany is a phenomenal fiddler, frightening, from a kind of old-time music background. Herself and Dan have a beautiful record out, too, of music they wrote together, called “Crisscross”.

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It is very exciting to see your forthcoming solo Irish tour this Autumn which is based on your love of traditional music and its importance on you as a musician and person. Please discuss this special project and what other projects do you have in the pipeline, Caoimhín? As with any project you have been involved in, it is with a special sense of anticipation we await your next work of art. Thank you for the truly beautiful music you have crafted thus far and the very best wishes with all your future endeavours. 

CÓR: The project for the Music Network tour is a solo show I’m making. I’ve wanted to find a really satisfying way to perform a show solo that offers a bit more than just me on stage with only my fiddle. With this show, while it includes some sections of me playing totally solo, I’ve also got sections with live looping and some sections where I play with projected “virtual guests” — friends of mine who play or dance that I’ve made videos of. I love photography, and this is a way to integrate that into what I do, too. I’d be hoping that it becomes the way I play solo shows in the future, and that I’d be constantly making new little films and pieces, continually evolving new sections and enriching what I’ve already made.

 


 

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‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is available now on Diatribe Records (Buy HERE).

‘Laghdú’ by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman is available now on Irishmusic.net (Buy HERE).

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http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com
http://www.diatribe.ie
http://irishmusic.net

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Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s “In My Mind”, a solo fiddle and film show, tours Ireland from 11—19 October 2014 courtesy of Music Network Ireland. Tour dates are as follows:

11 Oct   Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny
12 Oct   The Model, Sligo
13 Oct   Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar
14 Oct   Sugar Club, Dublin
15 Oct   Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray
16 Oct   Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge
17 Oct   Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
18 Oct   Triskel Christchurch, Cork
19 Oct   Tipperary Excel Centre, Tipperary

For bookings and further information CLICK HERE.

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Julia Kent w/ Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh / March 2014 / Photo Essay by Izabela Szczutkowska

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We were delighted to present (alongside Plugd Records) a special double-bill concert with the world-renowned composers: Brooklyn-based cellist Julia Kent and Irish fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, in Cork’s Triskel Arts Centre on Saturday 1st March. The show was Julia Kent’s debut Irish solo show and the highly awaited return of Ó Raghallaigh, who performed with The Gloaming at Triskel Christchurch a year previously. 

All photographs: Izabela Szczutkowska

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Since then, Kent has continued to tour Europe (in support of her latest Leaf Label album ‘Character’), having opened for Valgeir Sigurðsson and Liam Byrne. Kent has also embarked on a new project with Melora Creager, Dawn McCarthy and others, and premiered all-new material for a special electronic performance in Torino, Italy on April 11th. Ó Raghallaigh has traversed Europe, playing several Italian shows and Amsterdam, before a special residency with Cleek Schrey at the Irish Arts Centre in New York. This May marks the Irish tour of This Is How We Fly, a contemporary folk ensemble featuring the immense talents of Ó Raghallaigh, Seán Mac Erlaine, Nic Gareiss, and Petter Berndalen.

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“Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea
Hung their heads and then lay by.”

—(‘Orpheus with his lute made trees’, L. A. J. Burgersdijk)

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“Sometimes, being from the world of traditional music, I wonder how to give people a window into that world, to share what I love about it. The same with other things in life I love, like being in the mountains. I want to start from scratch and make a really compelling, rich, wonderful thing of it, and a very Irish thing, but somehow hopeful and exciting and beautiful.”

—Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

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“For me, music is really about communicating, and the kind of instrumental music I make is a way of expressing emotion without words. I feel really fortunate to be able to travel and play, as I do; I’ve had some wonderful encounters all over the world. Of course it’s a bit of a cliché to say that music is a universal language, but it truly is. Through music you can communicate with anyone.”

—Julia Kent

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“When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the instrument because it seemed like a voice – my voice.”

—Mstislav Rostropovich

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All photographs by Izabela Szczutkowska. (http://www.izyandthesunshines.blogspot.ie)

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http://www.juliakent.com
http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com

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Central And Remote: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

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Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

“Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea
Hung their heads and then lay by.”

—(‘Orpheus with his lute made trees’, L. A. J. Burgersdijk)

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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As I write these words on a page, I celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday. Interestingly, to recount some memories from my childhood (as one inevitably does on a day like so) — some distant, others intimately near — a river-flow of music is interwoven between the snapshot of fleeting moments and scattered incidents. Growing up I fondly recall first coming across Irish traditional music, and the subsequent linkage between this world of sacred sound and the values of heritage and identity (perhaps becoming clear some time later). A band who immediately shifted the ground from beneath my feet were Planxty with their lineage of folk and traditional song. The adventurous instrumentation of bouzouki, mandolin, guitars, uilleann pipes, tin whistle and bodhrán opened up an entire new world of beautifully precious music. The masterful musicianship among its members — Christy Moore, Liam Ó Flynn, Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny — formed a profound impact on me that opened my young eyes to the age-old tradition of Irish music and the ceaselessly magical beauty that surrounded these four corners of our island.

Forward some years later, and a similar feeling of illumination and sense of miraculous discovery is drawn towards one particular musician, namely Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. A trusted friend of mine urged me to listen to an album entitled ‘Where The One-Eyed Man Is King’ by this “incredible fiddle-player”, little did I know what celestial sound awaited me. How could I have missed out on this album for so long, I thought then, as Ó Raghallaigh’s spellbinding layers of whistles, fiddles, Hardanger fiddle, flute and piano, not only conjured up the sound of an age-old tradition but distilled a new dappling of vivid colour into the ripples of sound. A unique approach to music-making is etched across the rich canvas of other-worldly sound, from the opening notes of ‘It’s All About The Rhythm Of Her Toes’, a delicate lament to the closing drone-based, ambient opus, ‘The Old Waltz’.

Uncovered from the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, it was recorded that Brahms was enraptured with the Irish folk airs which he had heard played, and which he called “la musique des anges”. For these words perfectly surmise the power and glory of Ó Raghallaigh’s works, from his solo output to the rich body of collaborative work. In addition to being an established solo artist, Ó Raghallaigh is a member of two groups: The Gloaming (Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Iarla Ó Lionaird, Thomas Bartlett, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill) and This Is How We Fly (Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Petter Berndalen, Seán Mac Erlaine, Nic Gareiss); he performs duos with dynamic Kerry accordion player Brendan Begley and Dublin uilleann piper Mick Ó Brien and plays in a trio with Martin Hayes and Peadar Ó Riada.

The upcoming double-bill concert with New York-based cellist Julia Kent alongside Ó Raghallaigh in Cork’s Triskel Arts Centre (taking place on Saturday 1st March) will be Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s first return to the Triskel since last year’s special live performance with The Gloaming and will provide audiences with the chance to witness the immaculate musicianship and immense talents of Ó Raghallaigh in a special solo performance.

Ó Raghallaigh has released eight albums to date: ‘Kitty Lie Over’ and ‘Deadly Buzz’ with Mick O’Brien; ‘A Moment of Madness’ with Brendan Begley; ‘Triúr Arís’ and ‘Triúr sa Draighean’ with Martin Hayes and Peadar Ó Riada; ‘Comb Your Hair and Curl It’ with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh and Catherine McEvoy; the eponymous debut from the band This is How We Fly; and his solo ‘Where the One-Eyed Man is King’.

This Is How We Fly is one of those adventurous and compelling artistic endeavors that truly reveals music’s endless possibilities. The self-titled debut album is a sonic marvel with one foot stepped in tradition and the other rooted in daring experimentation. This Is How We Fly is a melting pot of cultures and in turn, offers up a richly diverse kaleidoscope of sublime sounds. Ó Raghallaigh’s hardanger fiddle is blended with fellow Dubliner Sean Mac Erlaine’s distinctive clarinets and live electronics (Mac Erlaine’s solo Ergodos release ‘Long After The Music Is Gone’ is another essential listen) and Stockholm’s Petter Berndalen (drums and percussion) and Michigan’s Nic Gareiss (percussive dance). A truly captivating world of sound is unleashed by this highly accomplished quartet.

Most recently, the long-awaited arrival of The Gloaming’s self-titled debut album has been gracing the earth’s atmosphere. A common thread that connects these gifted musicians together is the masterful use of language, sentiment and expression. Ó Lionáird’s mesmerising voice blends majestically alongside the fiddle of Hayes and Ó Raghallaigh’s trusted Hardanger d’Amore. The opening ‘Song 44’ comprises of lyrics adapted from original poem no. 44 by poet Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh. An unfathomable beauty is unleashed by The Gloaming that utters, with every sacred note, to phrase a poet: “the godly-given prize” of true art and treasured music. ‘The Necklace of Wrens’ contains lyrics adapted from the original poem by Michael Hartnett. The piano line of Bartlett serves the aching pulse to Ó Lionáird’s fragile vocal. Some moments later, Cahill’s guitar adds new layers of depth and elegance. The words and music of ‘Opening Set’ — the album’s longest cut — represents the crowning jewel of the group’s towering debut album. Distinct movements begin and end throughout the heavenly sixteen minutes, as the instrumentation of guitar, voice, fiddle and piano casts an everlasting spell upon you that further confirms the abundance and exceeding beauty of its native music.

I feel the beautiful poem ‘The Music or the Folk’ by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil translates the sheer beauty of The Gloaming’s truly transcendent work into fitting words:

“From time eterne unto these living hours
They count their heritage;
And fresh as wood-bells wet with April showers
It wears its weight of age.
The stream of nature-song runs quick the-day
As it ran in the world of years away.”

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Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.

My first introduction to your awe-inspiring music was 2007’s ‘Where the One-Eyed Man Is King’, which I discovered through a friend of mine, sometime later. I absolutely adore your fiddle-playing. I feel your beating heart as I listen to the gorgeous compositions. Please take me back to this particular space and time, and share some of your memories of writing and recording this remarkable album?

CÓR: I first met Iarla Ó Lionáird in July 2005, and he immediately became a huge inspiration to me: although I had the desire to branch out, create something new, I had no idea where to begin. Iarla gave me a list of basic recording gear to buy: a PowerBook, Logic Pro, two Brauner mics, the MOTU Traveller. With this new kit, I hid myself away in the wonderful Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and just became a child with new toys for a few weeks, experimenting and adventuring in a new world of possibilities. There were two other inspirations at the time: my artist friend, Fiona Hallinan, with whom I was making ‘Audio DeTours’, and an album called ‘Miniatures’, featuring 60 composers, each of whom were asked to make a one-minute track, and which I had discovered through Peadar Ó Riada, who was one of the sixty.

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I would love to gain an insight into your technique and the development of your drone-based fiddle style over the past few years?

CÓR: Initially, it was just a question of letting the music that was inside get out. Throughout my teenage years I gorged myself on traditional music that was drone-based, you could say: Patrick Kelly, Pádraig O’Keeffe, the Star Above the Garter, Mrs Galvin, as well as listening to endless hours of the uilleann pipes, basking particularly in the sound of Willie Clancy’s music. When I finished my physics degree at university, I spent three years making uilleann pipes myself, and found a much deeper understanding of drones and intervals through studying with the wonderful pipemaker, Geoff Wooff. I had also come across the Hardanger fiddle in 1999, and had begun to let that music seep into my subconscious. The main teacher, though, was experimentation. I had begun to cross-tune fiddles, so that instead of fifths between the strings I had fourths and sixths, sevenths and seconds and thirds both major and minor. Every interval requires a different micro positioning of the fingers on each string, and trying to internalize that information until it became second nature was probably the best teacher you could ask for. Also, writing new music in those new tunings meant that you could really revel in the possibilities contained in each one, really listen deeply to the sound and react to it in a very different way than you would in trying to adapt existing material to those tunings, I think. Another large factor in developing this style has been the tools I choose to use: the Hardanger fiddle, with its flatter bridge and gut strings, and using a baroque bow, all of which conspire to make a non-drone based style unthinkable.

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There is a loving sense of joy and fulfillment born out of your music. Please discuss for me when you first started playing music and what were the surrounding influences that helped you on the path you now find yourself firmly on?

CÓR: I had a false start at the age of 6. After pestering my parents for a fiddle, we couldn’t find a fiddle teacher, and I ended up being sent for classical violin lessons: a disaster, which ended in the teacher summoning my mother to tell her “You’re wasting your money and my time. He’ll NEVER be a musician”. At the age of 10 I was reluctantly sent to traditional fiddle classes, still having the bitter taste of my previous experience informing my view of music. Yet after six months, I met some wonderful kids of my own age, who remain some of my closest friends to this day, and it was this friendship which really made the difference, always swapping tunes with each other and spending summers together at festivals, playing music all the while.

At one stage in my teens, I was going to two fiddle classes a week, plus a whistle class, a flute class, two uilleann pipes classes, along with various group and band practices. I was getting upwards of 20 new tunes a week, every week. I had some wonderful teachers, and also some wonderful playing companions. There can be something magic that happens when two people disappear into the music together, and I had one or two friends with whom I would really disappear with for hours, exploring music in something like a trance. There is something very profound about the act of playing music together, a communication with something abstract, a nearly meditative experience. That approach is something I grew to value as a teenager, and which still informs my approach to making music. One of my teachers was Michael Tubridy, and through him I got some part-time work in the Irish Traditional Music Archives, which continued for many years, throughout my time in college. The music I heard in the Archives had a big effect on me, and old world of sound and texture that seemed in some way to have been abandoned by intervening generations, and it seemed to me to be a world of riches that could be mined for gems of approach and thinking. Another big influence was meeting Tony Mac Mahon, and learning how he approached listening to and making music. I had always been profoundly moved by his playing, and he was a very interesting person to be around and to be influenced by.

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Your music has been described as being heavily influenced by the uilleann pipes and the music of Sliabh Luachra. What is it about both these worlds of music that inspires you?

CÓR: The sound and feel of that music is the primary thing, I think. It’s also primarily the flat pipes which enchanted me, which are a very different beast to the concert pipes. The flat pipes have this beautiful gentle warmth, a roundness, richness and depth to the sound they are capable of producing that totally captures me. Flat refers to being lower than concert pitch, be it C#, C, B or Bb, and I always tuned the fiddle down low myself: there’s something about being down there that forces you to be more laid-back, to play slower, with more ease. Both the flat pipes and the music of Sliabh Luachra have that laid-back ease, and an inherent depth of complexity embedded in the microscopic detail of every note, rather than an explicit showiness and virtuosity. It’s that depth of complexity that I love, as though every note they play is biting into a fresh and juicy peach, reveling in letting the juice run down your chin. Every time they play a note, it’s new. There’s a wooing of the unknown in the way they play, a relinquishing of control, a desire for allowing the music itself to be in unpredictable control, not the musician.

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‘A Moment of Madness’ is a recent collaboration between you and Brendan Begley. The duets of accordion and fiddle are things of sheer beauty. I love the energy inherent in the music. Please discuss this particular collaboration and the choice of songs you chose to record together?

CÓR: Spontaneity, unpredictability, dynamics and energy are all aspects of Brendan’s playing I have admired for a long time. We tend to choose tunes that enable you to disappear into them. Some tunes, often quite simple melodies, seems to let you disappear more readily than others: it seems as though you’re not involved in the act of playing the tune, only involved in the act of disappearing into the music. We also seem to choose tunes that tend to haunt us, that thing where you’ll have a tune on your brain 24/7, last thing you think of at night, first thing in morning, singing it to yourself all day long.

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What are the albums you have been listening to most these days?

CÓR: Susanna Wallumrod & Giovanna Pessi’s ‘If Grief Could Wait’ on ECM. Other than that, my new old car only has a tape player, so it’s mainly odd old cassettes from jumble sales and charity shops.

Always listening to some favourites, like Brittany Haas & Dan Trueman’s ‘CrissCross’; Nils Okland’s ‘Monograph’; ‘Officium’ by Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble; ‘I gCnoc Na Graí’ by Noel Hill & Tony Mac Mahon etc. etc.

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You are an integral part to the amazing collective that is The Gloaming. Your live performances across the country were truly spectacular special moments in Irish music, and beyond. As an artist and composer, performing alongside like-minded talents such as this, must be highly enriching. I would love for you to discuss The Gloaming and how the band came into being?

CÓR: Martin and Iarla had been talking about “doing something together” for years, and asked the rest of us to come on board. Both are great friends to me, have been hugely helpful and inspiring down the years, and a huge privilege for me to make music with them. Before our first gig, we got together for a few short days and got the material together, under pressure. That’s it, really. We just meet up, do the gigs, and scatter. The recording process was lovely, really rewarding, and we’re all just thrilled with the result.

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You are currently living in Dingle, Co. Kerry. A beautiful part of the world. I can only imagine how inspiring it must be to live there. How does this place shape your music?

CÓR: I’m right out on the very furthest tip of the peninsula, in Dún Chaoin. That place has been shaping my music since I was 17 or 18. I walked over the mountains from Tralee to Dún Chaoin on my Easter holidays back then, with a tent and a fiddle, and the place went right into the marrow of my bones, in a way. Every time I’d play music after that, I’d close my eyes, and that’s where I’d be. It’s a beautiful place, with incredible people, language, landscape, lore. I find particular inspiration in the work of my neighbour, the artist Maria Simonds-Gooding. I have been finding my head haunted by the aluminium pieces she has been working on the last few years, matched, in my mind, to some of Beckett’s words.

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Tell me more about the solo project ‘Film and Fiddle’ that is in development for touring in 2014?

CÓR: I made a one-off test of a show for the Project Arts Centre a few years ago to see if there was anything in the idea of a one-man show of fiddle and film. I had walked the mountains of New Zealand with a camera, taking time-lapse footage of that incredible landscape. Along with some stop-motion video and some “virtual guest” musicians, I made an hour-long show of all that, with me standing in front playing the fiddle. Basic enough, but it worked, in a way, and it felt like a really rich way of giving people a window into your mind.

Sometimes, being from the world of traditional music, I wonder how to give people a window into that world, to share what I love about it. The same with other things in life I love, like being in the mountains. I want to start from scratch and make a really compelling, rich, wonderful thing of it, and a very Irish thing, but somehow hopeful and exciting and beautiful. I’m hoping to tour it in October 2014 with the help of Music Network, if we can drum up interest from Arts Centers around the country.

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Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh will support Julia Kent as part of a special solo performance at the T.D.C. Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, on Saturday 1st March 2014. Tickets are €12, available HERE.

‘The Gloaming’ is available now on Real World Records.

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http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com
http://www.thisishowwefly.net
http://thegloaming.net

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Mixtape: Early Blue (A Fractured Air Mix)

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To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/early-blue-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Ed Askew – ‘Drum Song’ (Tin Angel)
02. Áine O’Dwyer – ‘Albion Awake/Lifeboy’ (Second Language)
03. Harold Budd – ‘Wanderer’ (All Saints)
04. Calexico – ‘No Doze’ (Quarterstick)
05. This Is How We Fly – ‘Pelargonens Död’ (Playing With Music)
06. Glenn Jones – ‘My Garden State’ (Thrill Jockey)
07. Karen Dalton – ‘Katie Cruel’ (Light In The Attic)
08. Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh – ‘Fead an Iolar’ (State Of Chassis)
09. Sarah Neufeld – ‘You Are The Field’ (Constellation)
10. Julia Kent – ‘Tourbillon’ (Leaf)
11. Colleen – ‘Geometría Del Universo’ (Second Language)
12. Moondog – ‘Symphonique #6 (Good For Goodie)’ (Columbia)
13. Julia Holter – ‘In The Green Wild’ (Domino)
14. Lucrecia Dalt – ‘Mahán’ (Human Ear Music)
15. Yo La Tengo – ‘Green Arrow’ (Matador)
16. F.J. McMahon – ‘Early Blue’ (Rev-Ola / Sacred Bones)
17. Richmond Fontaine – ‘Valediction’ (El Cortez)
18. Gram Parsons – ‘Love Hurts’ (Reprise)
19. Lambchop – ‘The Book I Haven’t Read’ (City Slang / Merge)
20. Ludovico Einaudi – ‘Fuori Dal Mondo’ (‘This Is England’ OST / Warp)
21. Lou Reed & John Cale – ‘Hello It’s Me’ (Sire / Warner Bros.)

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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.

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air

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