New Releases (30 November 2023)
Released this week (28 November), The Thinning Veil is a new film and EP, developed as a collaborative project by composer Michael Gallen, filmmakers Natasha Duffy and Shane O’Callaghan and event producers Sofft Productions. The project, which originated from a live event in Monaghan in October 2022, includes traditional songs and tunes, some from the Oriel region, arranged by Gallen and performed by traditional musicians Rose Connolly (singer and fiddler), Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn (uilleann piper), Stephanie Keane (dancer) and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (sean-nós singer and flute). The film, set on Monaghan’s boglands, explores themes of death and environmental change, and the four-track EP includes ‘Oh Lovely Appearance of Death’, ‘Knocktallon Jig’, ‘Bóthar Chluain Meala’ and the haunting ‘Lullaby’ – a lament centred on Ó Duinnchinn’s pipes. Watch the film here. Listen to the album below.
Galway-based producer and guitarist Aengus Hackett, performing as Penji, released his latest electronica album Future Nostalgia last month, following his EP Penji in 2020. This new record comprises seven tracks blending Hackett’s electronic music with his expertise as a jazz guitarist. The album explores themes of alienation and the increasing reliance on technology. The upbeat, synth-focused ‘WORLDWIDEWEB’ was composed as a tribute to the pandemic era of live-streamed dancefloors and is a highlight of the album, as well as the atmospheric groove-based ‘A.I. Love You’ and the downbeat closing track ‘As Póca’.
Alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin Rachael Lavelle has this month released her debut album Big Dreams – a ten-track record of ballads, big vocals and dream-like soundscapes with layers of instrumentation and electronics. The record comes after a series of single releases this year including ‘Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential’ and opening track ‘Travel Size’. Closing track, the title piece ‘Big Dreams’, is a highlight in an album full of lush and layered works that features spoken word excerpts read by Doireann Ní Bhriain – the intercom voice on the Luas. Lavelle is currently on tour, performing tonight in Galway (30 November) and visiting Limerick, Kinsale, Cork and Kerry over the next two weeks.
Dream-pop band NewDad have recently released ‘Nightmares’, the latest single from their upcoming debut album MADRA. The record, following the band’s previous EPs Waves (2021) and Banshee (2022), was produced by Chris W. Ryan (Just Mustard) and will be released on 26 January. Junior Brother last week released a new track ‘The Men Who Eat Ringforts’, an idiosyncratic piece with syncopated rhythms and a warped-sounding motif on tin whistle, based on the concept of demolishing ringforts (hallowed places in Irish folklore) to build roads. The music video, directed by Ellius Grace, matches the unsettling tone of the song and sees the artist dressed in a suit and also in a version of what seems to be a straw-boy costume, a comment on the conflict between modernity and tradition. Junior Brother is currently on tour and will perform across Ireland, Europe and the UK between now and February.
Other new records include composer Sam Perkin’s new EP Children in the Universe with Crash Ensemble, Halo Track and Diamanda La Berge Dramm; and traditional singer and songwriter Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin’s latest album Seven daughters of the Sea – Seacht nIníon Na Mara, which comprises of songs in Irish and features guitarist Steve Vai, Indian classical Bansuri player Rajat Prasanna, Steve Cooney, fiddle/piano player Dónal O’Connor, vocalist Macdara Ó Graham, and piper Fin Moore from Scotland.
Belfast-based traditional band Réalta have released their third studio album Thing of the Earth; Galway-based choir Resurgam have released their debut album Gentleman Extraordinary – featuring works by Tudor composer Thomas Weelkes – on Resonus Classics; composer John Buckley has released Boireann: Music for Flute and Piano on the Métier label; and composer and conductor Vincent Kennedy, with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and uileann piper Mark Redmond, tomorrow releases Music of People and Place, a record of works inspired by the mythology, landscape and people of Ireland.
Jazz guitarist Louis Stewart’s 1977 Out on His Own has been re-released on Livia Records and is now available to purchase on vinyl too; and Louth Contemporary Music Society have released Terry Riley – In C Irish, a re-imagining of the composer’s 1960s minimalist piece In C, performed by traditional Irish musicians Zoë Conway, Dónal Lunny, Michelle Mulcahy, Louise Mulcahy, Paddy Glackin, Máirtín O’Connor and Mick O’Brien.
Vocal group Anúna have released a new album Otherworld, multi-instrumentalist Tim Edey has released A Celtic Christmas, singer-songwriter Lewis Barfoot has shared her new album Home, Cork singer Molly O’Mahony’s new EP Extension is out tomorrow (1 December), and Ye Vagabonds have collaborated with US indie band boygenius for a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s version of ‘The Parting Glass’, with all proceeds going to the Aisling Project, an after-school project working with children and young people in disadvantaged areas in Dublin.
Listen to a playlist of all recent releases below. To submit your release, email newreleases [at] journalofmusic.com.
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Published on 30 November 2023
Shannon McNamee is Assistant Editor of the Journal of Music.