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Posts Tagged ‘long exposure’

bukeandgase001More clearing of the archives. This is US experimental duo Buke and Gase playing in the Engineering Library of the National Concert Hall. This is from about two years ago I think. Cool space. They should use it more often.

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GloamingNCH6

This photograph was taken during the 2014 run of gigs by The Gloaming at the NCH in Dublin. It was the second time I had photographed them using the long exposure technique (the first time was in Vicar Street a year or two previously). They always put on a mesmerising show, and each one of them makes a unique contribution, but for me the real star is fiddler Martin Hayes. Which is why I was puzzled when, as we were leaving the NCH that night, my wife said: “Martin Hayes has no soul”. I initially took this as a criticism, meaning that his playing was lacking in some sort of emotional core. But then I realised she meant that the only way he could have achieved such instrumental virtuosity, such dazzling and seemingly effortless brilliance, was by trading his soul. Like Robert Johnson and many others before him, he must have set out some damp night and headed for a God-forsaken crossroads, probably somewhere in the middle of Clare, where he met the devil and did the deed. On the outside he’s a warm witty human being, blessed with a rare musical gift. On the inside he’s a cold dead husk of a man. It’s the only plausible explanation.

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PaulSmythEvanParker01

This photograph is of Evan Parker and Paul G. Smyth playing upstairs in the National Concert Hall in Dublin last month. This was part of an ongoing series of improvised duo concerts that Paul has organised in conjunction with Note Productions, and features a range of leading figures from the improv world. Evan Parker is, of course, something of a legend in that scene, and over the years has also played on records by people like Scott Walker and Robert Wyatt to boot. The gig was really great – far more coherent and accessible than I expected it to be. Fully improvised music can be somewhat hit and miss for me. I sometimes find it invigorating, as if I am up there with the players on that weird tight-rope trying to collectively negotiate a path from one point to another. The in-the-moment nature of the experience can be exhilarating and exciting and when that happens it seems like all music should be like this. At other times though, it completely loses me, and I find myself longing for a tune or a song or something else I can latch on to, and wondering what I am doing actually listening to this stuff. (more…)

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mvestleThis is a photograph taken during the exhibition Amid The Deepening Shades which took place at the Deer Park hotel in Howth back in November 2014 and was curated by the artists Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty. The Deer Park is no longer in use as a hotel and occupies a spectacular location in the grounds out the back of Howth Castle. The photograph was taken during a music performance by the drone/noise group mvestle which happened inside the drained hotel swimming pool one Sunday afternoon. I’m sure I was not the only person to feel echoes of Kubrick’s The Shining from the whole event. As if the location of the abandoned hotel was not enough, when I went for a stroll around some of the empty corridors, I came across a child’s bicycle lying on the floor outside the door of one of hotel rooms. They assure me they didn’t put it there on purpose but I don’t think I believe them.

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Lee Ranaldo

This is Lee Ranaldo playing a recent solo acoustic gig in Dublin. Sonic Youth are on hiatus at the moment and consequently there doesn’t seem to be much hope of any new records any time soon. The upside of this though is that all of the members are not only pursuing interesting solo projects but also touring them in venues that are much smaller and more intimate than the ones they would be playing in if the whole band were in tow. Lee Ranaldo’s show was in the Bello Bar, which fits maybe 100 people – a far cry from the last time I saw Sonic Youth, which was at an ATP event in the UK a few years back, with an audience of a couple of thousand. (more…)

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Grumbling_Psych011

Last but one. This is Grumbling Fur again but this time shot from front of stage rather than the side.

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Hills_Psych027

This is Hills, from Sweden. Find out more about them here.

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GrumblingFur1_002

This is Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan, otherwise known as Grumbling Fur, on the Furnace stage of Psychfest. I like this band a lot and have been obsessively listening to their excellent Glynnaestra album for the last few weeks.

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Woods_Psych016

This is Woods playing at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia 2014, which took place over the last weekend of September. This is the second of a series of photographs that I took at it (the first was of Goat and can be seen here) and I’ll put more of them up here over the next week or so. As usual, this photograph was created by opening the shutter at the start of the song and closing it at the end. Big thanks to the festival organisers for facilitating this, especially Sam Hinde, and also to the crew who were all extraordinarily helpful. As I said, more of these to come.

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GoatForPete

Pop, punk, prog and psych: these are what Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices refers to as the ‘four P’s’. For Pollard, they constitute the key ingredients of this thing we call rock. You can include one or two of these ingredients and still produce something really good, but if you want to be great, you have to master all four. As the driving force behind the greatest band of the modern era, this is a man who knows a thing or two about music, and we should therefore take note of what he says. What Pollard’s taxonomy suggests is that psychedelia is not some sort of temporary aberration in the trajectory; not just the folly of drugged-out hippies in Haight-Ashbury. Instead it’s a core element of the DNA of the music itself, and it’s therefore just as relevant right now as it was when the original wave of psychonauts set the controls for the heart of the sun way back in the late 1960s. If you’ve never tuned-in, turned-on and dropped-out, then you’re not just missing out on the joys of one particular sub-genre of rock music, you’re missing out on pretty much the whole damn thing. Your outlook is fundamentally flawed. You probably think ALT-J are a good band.

The photo at the top is of the Swedish band Goat. The text is the first part of a review I wrote for thumped.com of the 2014 edition of the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia. You can read the full thing here.

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