Autumn News

Oi, oi…

A little bit of news to share for anyone interested…

On 2 August 2019, I released an album of electronic music dedicated to my wife and son (on his first birthday) entitled and then you… The album contains three tracks, one written the night before he was born, one written while I was away teaching in Birmingham, and one written during the night while I was soothing our son to sleep. It has warmed my heart to hear the kind words that people have said about the music, both in public and to me in person. The second track was featured by Kate Molleson on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show, and Eoin Murray wrote a very kind review of the tracks in the quietus here. Thanks to everyone that bought and listened to the album so far. You can stream or buy below if you’re interested:

On 14 September Crash Ensemble released their 20th anniversary album entitled Crashlands. I was really honoured to be featured as part of this recording alongside some of my favourite composers working today. I was also really happy with the piece that I wrote (a kind of swansong to using quite fixed notation), and think the recording sounds amazing. Adrian Hart and everyone involved with the production did a fabulous job. This is the sixth project that I’ve worked with Crash Ensemble on, and its always a pleasure to be working with such brilliant musicians who are also amazing fun to be around. There is a wee video about the whole Crashlands project below, and below that, there is a video of my piece performed in Carrick-on-Shannon. The album is available to buy on CD or download here and is available on all the usual streaming sites etc.

on 18 September the pianist Kate Ledger played my Four Pieces of Music Lasting Thirty Seconds Each for toy piano As part of James McIlrawth’s Amok concert series in York. Its very nice that these pieces have had a bit of an outing the past few years, as they are memorial music for Bob Gilmore who did much for the cause of Irish contemporary music and interesting music more generally. I couldn’t make the concert, as I was examining on PhD transfer panels that day, but James is doing really interesting things both as a composer and a concert organiser, and much success to him and this series. Thanks also to Kate for choosing to play these pieces.

On 20 September, for Culture Night 2019, myself and Andy Ingamells performed our new work nowhere better than this place in the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin. This was a 35 minute piece which involved recorded and live domestic concrète sound, synthesizers, and projected text. In a small way, through sound, text, and action, the piece tried to draw attention to increasing homelessness in Ireland, whilst also trying to empathise with why people migrate from one place to another. If these issues resonate with you, consider donating to the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland, or the local homeless charity in your area. There is a short video with myself and Andy talking about the piece here.

nowhere better than this place performance in CMC library

Early in the year Sunken Foal asked me if I’d like to take part in the second installation of his 101 BPM project. I was delighted to be featured amongst some top notch musicians, so jumped at the chance to be included. I was real happy with the piece I wrote for this, and I think the whole compilation works incredibly well together. Fair play to Dunk for sorting the whole thing out. There is a launch party for the CD on 13 November 2019 in the Soundhouse in Dublin. Tickets available here. You can stream or download the album below, or indeed buy the double CD.

In October, myself and Andy Ingamells were delighted to announce that our first piece together, this is about was awarded a prestigious PRSF Beyond Boarders award to tour around Ireland, England and Wales in 2020 with the help of Third Ear. We really enjoyed working on this piece together, and using the Irish sport of Hurling as a springboard, it is a very personal meditation (and work out) of the stuff that was going on in our lives in 2019. We’re excited to bring it to audiences across Ireland and the UK in the new year. I’ll be posting more details about this tour in the coming months.

this is about performed in Birmingham in May 2019.

Finally, keeping with sport related music, my 2014 piece for electric guitar quartet Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football was re-released on CD by Birmingham Record Company and NMC on Friday 25 October. This is a very special piece for me, as it is the first ‘long’ piece I wrote when I decided I needed to write long pieces. As a result, I structured the piece on the first half of the Ireland V Italy game of USA 94, and I tried to evoke my soundworld of that time. Its also a special piece because I wrote it in collaboration with my good friends, ensemble krock in Sweden, who performed the piece excellently, and also with my good friend, John ‘Spud’ Murphy at Guerrilla Sounds Studios in Dublin, who recorded it amazingly. You can buy the CD or download here. Its also available through all the usual streaming channels.

release day

In future news, I’m going into the studio in two weeks to record four sections of music unequally divided for gamelan, piano, and synthesizers. Its a sonically rich piece with big waves of sound, and quite the physical workout for me, so I’m really sharing the result with you in the future.

That’s about all I got, thanks for reading and supporting my music.

Till soon,

Seán