we finished the year with a special gig at the university in galway here to mark december 10. we were honoured to participate, and our particular thanks go to maria varaki for making it happen. thanks maria!
i don't think there's any point in railing against the use of technology in music. this is like railing against the use of technology to allow somebody to hear or see who would otherwise, due to some condition, be unable to do so. what i am absolutely certain of, though, is that all the technology in the world won't turn a bad idea into a good one. toys are still just that, toys... unless, of course, you do something which can be argued as worthwhile with them.
not that it stops with technology. the argument can be extended. we use any amount of objects at gigs, as you have seen. i'm very particular about what i use live though - things behave differently as instruments, and don't produce the same sound - it sounds a certain way, so that's why i use it... naturally, this approach can be disputed, as can the definition of what is or isn't worthwhile.
not forgetting, of course, the fact that this is only how i feel now; i might feel differently tomorrow...
many thanks to all who risked the roads to be with us during our run of gigs in Switzerland... making it to a gig takes on a whole new meaning in a 3-dimensional place like the alps where you've six directions to contend with as opposed to the usual four :) we certainly came away with some great memories, ones that couldn't have happened without your company...
recently completed a series of interview clips and live footage. have a look here.
whatever the effects of venues on gigs (see last entry), we're looking forward to getting to test these musings a little more, as we intend gigging a little further afield again in the coming year. details, as ever, on the mailing list.
there's no denying that people interact with venues - it's definitely not just a case of the musicians and the crowd responding to each other, although that of course is a central part of it - the venue itself is also in on the act.
we're playing different types of places from before - and sure, the music has changed, and the instrumental and vocal approach is different from the way i used to go about it in the past - but still, we walk off after a performance and there's still something unaccounted for going on.
playing a church, a stage, an amphitheatre - these things, one from the other, seem radically different to me, and one of the elements of a gig seems somehow to have something to do with the character of the place.
lots of people talk about "vibes" etc., but that feels a little vague; it falls short for me, because what happens at a gig doesn't seem at all vague.
ley lines, say you? maybe. i look forward to any other theories...
thanks to our supporters over the last few concerts for all the positive vibes and support... these dates have been really something special for us. hope to see you in clifden on sunday 23rd; you can get the details here.
i've been asked to put up the standard set list for the most recent irish gigs (august -september 2007), so here goes...
kiss the blade *
mutual fear *
prayer for the living
scenes from an extinction
only the weather *
lullaby for the nameless
one more day
* older tracks which are yet to be made available for download
during the last tour (february/march 07), we compiled a disc called st. nicholas's mix (after the church of the same name where we played in galway) which was available on cd at the gigs, only for the duration of the tour. this was not a live cd, just a different selection of studio recordings from lambs, songs for animals, short stories, endangered breed and earlier. due to a level of interest in this, we've been making further copies available as people ask. while there are currently no plans to make this available via the site, if mailing list members still wish to get a copy, this can be arranged.
in terms of live recordings, we do in fact plan to make some of these available on the site, as recorded from the tour, if they work out. more on this as it happens.
so there we had it - a few sporadic gigs for the end of 2006, where we tinkered around and found something that didn't kill our long-suffering listeners. we'll definitely be doing more of these as a four-piece, details of which will as usual go out on the relevant mailing list.
it's great playing outside of the rock venue/nightclub circuit. interaction with the audience is on a totally different footing, but definitely more positive; the physical proximity certainly has something to do with this - afterwards band and audience all just head off to the pub together.
with these last few concerts we received help from a lot of people who went out of their way and well beyond the call of duty to ensure that the gigs happened smoothly; to all, a huge thank you - particular mention must go to japan's finest, yosuke iwanaga, neil mccarthy of inner ear productions, and john pheby for their invaluable assistance in our hour of need :-)
hats off to project 06! community, creativity, fun - what more could you want? well done to all who took part. let's hope that it leads to a more open dialogue with regard to the future of these things in Galway. make sure to visit the website and read up on the issues raised. special praise must go to ollie jennings, mike diskin, padraic breathnach, lycette and all those who provided a focal point and helped make it happen.
for ourselves, a very special word of thanks to all at st. nicholas' collegiate church for being brave enough to host our gig :-) and for all their kindness, positivity and support.
here's a miniature gallery of live shots from a recent four-piece gig...
in response to another question, the one of how we're getting all the sounds, we have not, of course, dispensed with all use of technology, we're just using it a little less aggressively, so onstage with us (not visible in these shots) we have a handful of effects units, some "specialist" microphones, a synth module with sequencer (we use the sequencer for just one track at the moment) and some submixers. these devices have a serious hand in the overall sound of the gig, not least because we're also mixing ourselves from the stage and so manage to have a greater degree of control over what we're doing than we were used to before.
why not an ordinary band line-up?
i'm sometimes asked this about the live set. fairly early on in the process of putting the set back together, the decision was made to stay away from sequences where we could, the feeling being that enough time had been spent in that territory on stage. this of course meant that if i wanted to keep the feel of the arrangements, the long-suffering musicians would have to engage in some instrument swapping, and that any exotic sounds that i didn't want to dispense with would have to be produced with whatever was to hand... the rule was, if the song fell apart without it, it stayed.
and so i become the beloved of all sound engineers. not.
project 06 is to hit the streets of Galway this summer. here's some copy from their website:
"2006 will see a fully fledged and fully independent alternative programme of arts events, entitled project '06, which will take place in galway during the galway arts festival from 18 to 29 july. project '06 hopes to pose the question to the public: what sort of arts festival do you want? it aims to re-ignite the city with the feeling that the arts are truly our own and that a range of new projects can originate and develop in the city. project '06 is a one year project which hopes to open a dialogue with the galway arts festival and influence its future direction."
i think this is a great idea and long overdue. visit their worthy site here.
the installation "distraction" that anna and myself worked on with swiss artist monika von aarburg some time back will feature in video form at the jahresausstellung der bündner künstlerInnen, or annual exhibition of graubünden artists, at the bündner kunstmuseum, chur, switzerland, and will run from december 11th to january 15th 2006, opening on december 10th at 5pm - these are the details according to what they have online at the moment. for more information you can have a look at their website here.
elements of this installation have also recently featured in "somewhere between", a show at galerie art one at heinrichstrasse in zürich.
meanwhile, a profile of the installation which was originally staged in geneva can be found in the other projects section.
another live shot wandering around looking for a home...
digital remastering, you say? well, yes, in response to the comments regarding sound quality, there is a bit of it going on, in order to sit the material better in the mp3 format... most of it to do with volume ranges and stereo imaging. the deep irony of these computerly goings-on, of course, is my general aversion to said machines in the first place in the music-making process, not to mention my opting for a digital download system... :)
here are a few low-res stills captured from footage shot by anna during a recent stripped-down gig...
you've asked me about various tracks performed at these gigs, particularly songs like kiss the blade, touching land and their live renditions and why they're not in the downloads section. so:
1) in the case of songs like what's left and touching land, they will be. these are tracks from "lambs", which is the newest batch of material and has yet to be uploaded.
2) kiss the blade is an older track and is also due for upload - however, at the moment we only have the old, full production studio version - the live rendition, such as it is being performed now at gigs, has not as yet gone to tape, although i do have plans to make some live recordings available if they work out.
all details regarding any new additions to the downloads area will always be sent out via the mailing list.
that was an interesting gig! (re. wed 28th september, town hall studio galway). i'd never done such a stripped-down set before - conor and eddie did an excellent job, no? as always, thanks so much to all involved - neil of inner ear productions for organising it, the staff of the town hall theatre, anna for the tech support, rebecca for such a fine set and, of course, all of you who showed and so generously gave your support...
the downloads section is now live, which i'm really pleased about. At the moment, it's a basic version with a general selection of tracks old and new , but more and more tracks will be uploaded as time goes by... do check back.
apologies for the delay in getting the site up and running... the idea was to have the site available within a month of the first concert. this however has not been the case, as with so many things in life... that said, if you're reading this, the problems have obviously been ironed out, so welcome!
some work from a collaboration with swiss artist monika von aarburg will soon be featured in the "other projects" section. this will be audio and images from an installation which took place as part of an exhibition in switzerland last year, where anna and myself did the soundtrack for the space. as a sort of online record for the installation, it'll be kept here on the site... more on this as it happens.
and so we kicked things off again on the live front with a concert in the nun's island studio, galway. thanks so much to everyone for coming along and supporting... it was a really special night. special thanks to tomas, siobhan, mattie, maeve and all at the galway arts centre for all their kindness.
it's an odd feeling to go back to playing live after this length of time... the music has changed and i've changed. gigs are more likely to occur sporadically as opposed to at regular intervals, depending also on the timetables involved between musicians and myself. i'll try and keep this updated whenever i can.
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