An engrossing sweep of the Irish composer David Collier’s recent work.
“…this music is ingenious, inventive and actually full of tension despite the seeming serene focus. The nuance of touch and timbre are brilliant and that timelessness … that frozen quality of the combination of sometimes busy surface and slowly unfolding structure, that is bewitching here. Momentum and stasis.” – Bernard Clarke, Nova, RTÉ lyric fm
Released on limited edition, transparent orange vinyl, with stunning artwork by Craig Carry, woodwind instrumentalist and composer Seán Mac Erlaine’s second solo album is a place where haunting melodies are living, growing things, developing in sympathy with nuanced loops and fluttering particles of sound.“Mac Erlaine is an explorer at the frontiers of sound.” ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ — The Irish Times
Star features three meditative string duos by Irish composers Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, Garrett Sholdice and Simon O'Connor. These three works, each composed specifically for the incomparable Baroque violin/double bass duo of Maya Homburger and Barry Guy, are a reminder of the value of concentration, quietude, and slowness. Star is now available on limited edition vinyl.
Long After the Music is Gone is the new solo album from Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist and composer Seán Mac Erlaine. It's an album of extraordinary ambience, rich with Mac Erlaine's distinctive supple reed work and subtle electronics. With each track Mac Erlaine seems to channel the atmosphere of a space or vista, immersing us.An extraordinary solo recording... consistently one of the most interesting and adventurous musicians of his generation. ★★★★ — The Irish Times.Curiously lovely tunes... I want to hear everything that Seán Mac Erlaine’s ever done. Compliments don’t get much bigger. — Hot Press
This debut release from David Collier is an engrossing sweep of the Irish composer’s recent work. The nuanced and expansive meditations of the string quartet Smacht are presented together with the pulsating brilliance of Dusk, a dazzling work for four percussionists. Collier’s compositions – sharp-focussed and sincere – radiate warmth and vitality, and are presented in a beautiful vinyl edition with artwork by Louise Gaffney.
Smacht, performed here by the all-star string quartet of Cora Venus Lunny, Adrian Hart, Robin Panter and Kate Ellis, grew out of a workshop with the band This is How We Fly in 2011. “I came across videos of fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh performing his solo material with a loop pedal and loved the hypnotic feel to his music,” says Collier. “I started playing with droning on one string of a violin while changing the notes on another and hit upon the seed that would become Smacht.”
Collier wrote Dusk during a percussion course at Princeton University, where he also met the New York percussion group Mobius Percussion, who later recorded the work. Dusk brings together delicately balanced strains of diverse instruments – glockenspiel, crotales, triangle, wood blocks, cymbal and bass drum – in an ambience where time is at once frozen and in constant adaptation.
The final track on the record is a remix of Smacht by Seán Byrne, a radically different take on this potent material. “So many of songs I loved when I was younger were remixes,” says Collier. “For me they were a portal into the less commercial side of the musical world and really opened my ears.”
Collier’s evocative work is already the basis of a breathtaking film by Irish filmmaker Bob Gallagher, with Smacht as its emotional, tonal and structural bedrock. “I came to Bob with the idea of doing a film about travelling the breath of Ireland in a single night to watch the sun set in the West and chase across the country by night to watch it rise again in the East.” Gallagher took this idea of travel and adapted it to a new narrative. “Together we travelled along the west coast of Ireland following a man as he journeys to the edge of the earth to scatter his father’s ashes.”
The Smacht release tour reaches Amsterdam, Dublin and New York in 2016.
To coincide with the launch of Smacht, Collier has commissioned a limited edition set of handkerchiefs created by textile designer Ruth Doorley at Dublin textile studio Print Block. “The design is part of an enso which comes from Japanese Zen Buddhism, a circle that is hand-drawn in one uninhibited brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create,” explains Collier.
“The circle may be open or closed. In the former case the circle is incomplete, allowing for movement and development as well as the perfection of all things. I was really interested in Japanese aesthetics at the time I was writing Smacht and just afterwards, particularly the aesthetic of wabi sabi which is the beauty of transience and imperfection.” The handkerchiefs are for sale with a digital download of Smacht.
“I would also add that this music is ingenious, inventive and actually full of tension despite the seeming serene focus. The nuance of touch and timbre are brilliant and that timelessness … that frozen quality of the combination of sometimes busy surface and slowly unfolding structure, that is bewitching here. Momentum and stasis.” – Bernard Clarke, Nova, RTÉ lyric fm
“The string quartet Smacht is … a fine, slow-building piece full of pathos…” – Liam Cagney, The Journal of Music
“From the point of view of genre, were Jónsi from Sigur Rós to start singing at any point during Smacht, it wouldn’t feel like a surprise, the style of the music being decidedly hybrid.” – Liam Cagney, The Journal of Music
David Collier is an Irish composer based in Amsterdam. His music is inspired by minimalism and ambient electronica and has been described as “aurally stunning” (Totally Dublin) and “conceptually elegant” (I care if you listen). Performances of his pieces have been given by ensembles and musicians including orkest de ereprijs, Ensemble Avalon, So Percussion and Kate Ellis. His music has been featured at international festivals including New Music Dublin at the National Concert Hall, Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Young Composers’ Meeting.
Revelatory, celebratory music by Garrett Sholdice, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Linda Buckley inspired by Christmas music by a mediæval master, and performed by Ergodos Musicians: vocalist Michelle O'Rourke, clarinettist Jonathan Sage and cellist Kate Ellis, with Sholdice and Schlepper-Connolly on piano and guitar respectively.… [An] eloquent meditation … The mood is spiritual, perhaps, but hardly sectarian, with a warm bath production style taking full advantage of studio effects – I Care If You Listen Magazine
Appearing together for the first time in many years, fiddle duo Toner Quinn and Malachy Bourke performed Dublin's Unitarian Church in June 2011. This is a record of that concert – a document of two of Ireland's finest traditional musicians re-visiting and evolving a shared, highly personal language.'A distilled delight' – The Irish Times
An immaculately crafted, beautiful and poignant collection of nine piano pieces, Simon O'Connor's debut solo album is the result of over three years work from conception to release."... an hour-long meditative, introspective work that … lounges in being hard to place … [E]xtended duration and emotional directness are key to the work’s effect.” – Liam Cagney, The Journal of Music""...music that moves with a glacial pace interrupted by turbulent surges but always exuding a gentle, glowing warmth ... Belfast pianist Michael McHale plays with the utmost care for tonal detail and under-stated textural sophistication." – Michael Quinn, Classical Ear
Composer Simon O'Connor and vocalist Michelle O'Rourke present a collection of haunting songs inspired by the stories of the widows of rebel leaders involved in the 1916 Easter Rising."There was no shortage of music contributions for the 1916 centenary, but I doubt if there was anything more original or insightful than this thought-provoking collection that focused not on the rebel leaders, but on their wives and sweethearts." – The Sunday Business Post