Recording Smacht at Beechpark Studios

I had the pleasure of recording Smacht at Beechpark Studios with Daire Winston in May 2014. The piece was was performed by Kate Ellis, Robin Panter, Cora Venus Lunny and Adrian Hart and came together on tape over the course of a few hours. Benedict Schlepper Connolly, from Ergodos, was on hand to offer his creative and technical assistance and Daire Winston made sure everything ran smoothly and the recording session came together really nicely.

They were all a joy to work with. I’m very proud to have Kate, Robin, Cora and Adrian performing this piece on the record and am delighted that they agreed to be involved. It was a really confidence boost for me as a composer that musicians of their calibre had faith enough in the music to commit it to a recording. What was probably not a big deal to them, felt like a tremendous vote of confidence to me and I’m eternally grateful.



Photos from the session courtesy of Orla Mc Nelis.


Genesis of the Smacht string quartet

Ergodos are shortly releasing a piece I wrote called Smacht. The piece is a 23 minute string quartet, but it didn’t start out that way. I want to take you back and show you how it began.

Smacht... in the beginningIt was Autumn 2011 and I was up to my eyes in the final year of my masters. I was at one of those points in my life where there’s a constant feeling that the world is falling in. And was suffering from the the ever-present pangs of self doubt: Had I made the right decision in pursuing music? Was it all just a pipe dream? Was the light at the end of the tunnel a train?

As well as trying to fulfil all my college commitments I was involved in the Dublin Laptop Orchestra – which had kicked off in ernest that summer. We had our first major gig happening in November with This is how we fly. I was in the throes of writing something for it… and was struggling.

Much to my shame I hadn’t actually known who This is how we fly were prior to that. And as I’d ultimately be writing something for them I was having a wee look on YouTube to see who they were. I came across videos of Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh performing his solo material with a loop pedal and was enraptured. I really liked the droney, hypnotic feel to his music. Read more

Moving on – My Contemporary Music Centre highlights

It’s a little over two years since I started working for the Contemporary Music Centre. I arrived out of college and lucked my way into a really interesting job filming and editing videos and recordings of concerts and interviews of contemporary music: composers, performers and organisers. I’ve got to work with some great people during my time there and meet lots of interesting people as well. I was also privileged to work with a great group of people in my time at the Contemporary Music Centre, some of whom have move on and some who are still there. In no particular order thanks to Jonathan, Caitríona, Keith, Evonne, Eve, Sinéad, Karen, Emma, Ben and Sam. I’m now leaving to move to the Netherlands and start a Master in Composition and as I move on to pastures new I wanted to share some of the work which I’m proudest of from my time at the Contemporary Music Centre.

Culture Night

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Screen Nights – Timeless: The Composer/Arranger Series

Screen Nights #2 – Timeless: The Composer/Arranger Series by Brian CrossScreen Nights is back and this time we’re focusing on the Timeless Series by Brian Cross. Brian, aka B+, is a Limerick native who studied in at the National College of Art and Design and then went to Los Angeles  Read more

Screen Nights at #12 Rutland Place

Screen Nights

Screen Nights is a series of film screening/concerts happening at  12 Rutland Place in January. The idea being to bring ideas from different musical scenes together for low cost nights out. As part of Screen Nights there will be three films shown which showcase different musical scenes: All Ears – a film about the L.A. beat scene, A Joyful Slog – a film about the independent music scene in Ireland, and PressPausePlay – a film about being an artist, whatever the discipline, in the digital age. As well as the film each night will have a related act performing, which will allow the audience to ask questions about what they’ve seen and listened to. Read more

Heima a film by Sigur Ros

I love this film! It’s a beautifully shot, and wonderfully paced, look at Sigur Rós‘ homecoming to Iceland. It follows the band as they play intimate gigs in rural towns and forgotten spaces, engage with the people of Iceland. Heima is a wonderful way to spend two hours, listening to Sigur Ros’ music and taking an arm chair tour of Iceland.

Arduino: the Documentary

Arduino: The Documentary is a film giving some background on the Arduino boards, which have opened up technology for everyone. The film also looks at  the wider open source hardware movements and talks about the kinds of effects projects like the Arduino is having on the way people learn about and interact with technology. One of the interviewees makes a very good point in the documentary that although there is now more technology than ever before there is also less understanding about how it works. The Arduino is one of the stars in the open source technology movement and it’s been allowing groups like artists and students to get hands one with their technical lives. Thanks to Javier Laguna Inzolia for the heads up about this documentary.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with this product or service, I just think it’s epic!

A joyful slog

A joyful slog  is a film about the DIY/indie music scene in Ireland, packed full of interviews and footage of musician and people active within the scene. It tracks the genesis of the scene in Ireland, from early exponents like Fugazi, and how the forerunners inspired and effected the current wave of DIY musicians. How the choices they made created a model for those who came after them to use to go indie. It’s a really motivational film and echos a lot of the sentiment that I heard in May at Music 3.0, ‘Just go and do it’. It’s also great to hear from the musicians and bands themselves, to hear about the process and what being independent means to them. If you’re interested in getting your own music out into the world it might give you some ideas or the kick you need to get started. Last, but certainly not least, the film is packed from beginning to end with excellent music. Well worth a watch.

Indie Game: The Movie

This weeks pick is Indie Game: The movie, a film I have no idea where I came across or why I watched, but I did and I loved it. I’m not involved in indie games either as a developer or a played , I’m not even a gamer, but I really enjoyed this documentary. You really get involved with the guys who are pouring their lives into these games and find yourself willing them to succeed. I particularly enjoyed it as it’s a good look at the life of an independent creative and the highs and lows that it brings. The developers talking about why they make games, and how the creative process, for them, is a way to communicate with the world. This film is being screened this Sunday as part of the Darklight film festival. Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite.

 Disclosure: I have no affiliation with this product or service, I just think it’s epic!