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Distant Listening

Distant Listening 06

TIMMY TRA

“All I can say is everybody stay strong, lookout for those less fortunate, and look forward to the mother of all parties when this is over” – Timmy Tra

SONG #1

RUDDY SIMBAL

‘A SO THE SYSTEM WORK’

This track just makes me feel care free.

SONG #2

JEFFREY TURPIN AND HIS FRIENDS

‘CINNAMON SUNS’

If your in the mood to party then this is the track! Always a spirit lifter!

SONG #3

LEO’S SUNSHIPP

‘GIVE ME THE SUNSHINE’

Ah here! As it says, just gimme the sunshine…

SONG #4

LATYRX

‘LADY DON’T TEK NO’

Love this track a real rump shaker… Having a wiggle right now!!!

SONG #5

LYN COLLINS

‘ROCK ME AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN’

This has been in my record box since day one… Just a classic!!

PETER LAWLOR

‘There will be a time in the not too distant future where all of this will be a distant memory. So for now, we all just need to do our bit.” – Peter Lawlor

SONG #1

TOWNES VAN ZANDT

WAITIN´AROUND TO DIE’

As grim as the title may be I’ve found myself going back to this song, and this particular performance the last few weeks. I love Townes’ guitar playing and also his storytelling. I could have picked his performance of ‘Pancho and Lefty’ from the same documentary, but this is a really powerful and intimate performance to an audience of two.

 

SONG #2

CIGNOL

‘MODULARITY’

 

I’ve been finding it difficult to listen to any kind of dance music the last while, but this has been one that keeps creeping into my listening habits. One of the most consistent and best producers for the last decade in Ireland.

This is his latest release on the always great Distant Worlds label. The track really builds nicely over the course of its 7+ minutes running time. It literally ticks every box for me personally. Lush pads, acid, 808 and Cignol’s typical ear for melody. Every release from him is buy on sight at this stage.

SONG #3

GARIES

‘WHAT A ROOM’

I could’ve picked any tune from the new EP, but this is a good a place to start as any. Gareth and David make really unique sounding tunes when they team up.

There’s a rawness to the production and a really fun improvisational feel to their music that is missing from a lot of dance music. When they make music together it sounds like two friends jamming away on some machines and ultimately just having a bit of fun. The fact that it’s really good is an afterthought.

SONG #4

CLAIRE O’BRIEN

‘WE WILL BE ONE’

Full disclosure, the label I run released this. Still, I find myself going back to this EP a lot. We usually release dance music as well as experimental ambient stuff, so this was a bit of a departure from that.

Claire’s vocal performance and lyrics are the centrepiece throughout, accompanied by Neil’s production. In particular, the line “needing no one else”, seems to be apt for all our current quarantined states.

AL FEENEY

“These words of wisdom may buck against how most people currently perceive their situation – but – “The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you have time”… And don’t forget to breathe.” Al Feeney

SONG #1

MARANTA

‘YOU PLAYED IT OUT’

It as been a melancholy year so far me, on top of everything that is going on at the moment, this one is just one of the more recent (there has been so many) beauties that the late great Andrew Weatherall turned me onto.

SONG #2

ANDREW WEATHERALL

‘DISAPPEAR – DUNCAN GREY REMIX’

… and this is just a great one from the man himself.

SONG #3

VIAGRA BOYS

‘COMMON SENSE’

These guys were unquestionably my EP highlight last year. I enjoyed it all the more as I saved the day with some very last minute dynamic on the spot problem solving to ensure the gig happened!

Here they are pleading for a little “Common Sense”, an important ask for the times we are in. More from these guys later…

SONG #4

LANKUM

‘THE PRIDE OF PETRAVORE’

Lankum! I just love this album and band so much, trad and cool are not words that gel easily together, but lankum do it effortlessly with this immense call to battle! I love it!

SONG #5

VIAGRA BOYS

‘LICK THE BAG’

 

Viagra Boys again. This time they have forgotten the plea for common sense and just want to plunge headlong into hedonism! One for when the good times roll again!

MARION RUKAVINA

“I am hoping that we are all gonna be on the other side of this soon. I can’t wait to be dancing and sweating again in room packed with beautiful humans” – Marion Rukavina

SONG #1

THINKING OF YOU

‘SISTER SLEDGE’

This song is so smooth and cheerful. It just makes me sing and dance along, while extending ‘thinking of you’ to all my loved ones.

SONG #2

GRACE JONES

‘PRIVATE LIFE’

My all-time favourite of Grace Jones,. It’s so badass. Also, maybe best bassline ever, who knows?

SONG #3

BROADCAST

‘MESSAGE FROM HOME’

Trish Keenan’s vocals are so comforting and kind. I listen to Broadcast a lot at the moment, so it was hard to just pick one song, but here you go.

SONG #4

DJ KOZE AKA ADOLF NOISE

‘WAS IST ZU VIEL ZEIT?

Koze’s alter ego Adolf Noise is asking the right question these days: what is too much time? Just think about it.

SONG #5

DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES

‘OUT OF TOUCH’

Time for some soul searching. BIG tune.

Distant Listening 04 : Toby Hatchett & Kobina

Toby Hatchett has been creating his stunning hi fi, and often sculptural soundsystems in his West Cork workshop, and luckily for us bringing them to ALS for a number of years now.
Toby has a long history of working on and devising divilment at festivals as a producer and DJ – his My House venues and parties – are a trademark collection of irrevent craic, brilliant music, incredible design and sound.

How is it goin’ Toby? Can you tell us how you are riding out the storm?

I’m currently holed up at home in a nice field just outside of Clonakilty in West Cork.

How are you finding all of this?

Honestly my day to day is not that different as I live quite a isolated existence normally anyway holed up in my workshop here at home. I am starting to relish the real slow down though and the new pace of the days. All the ‘real’ work is on hold and the deadlines are gone.

“I’m hoping that some of this calmness and lack of urgency will stick when this all recedes.”

What do you hope comes from this experience?

It’s quite liberating to just do the things you want to do, days are now a mix of work on the house, cooking new things, box sets, walks and Wine. I’m hoping that some of this calmness and lack of urgency will stick when this all recedes.

SONG #1

ANNA MIEKE

‘IDLE MIND’

Anna Mieke’s Album Idle mind was my favourite release last year and it’s still never far from the turntable. The production and mix sounds stunning on Vinyl through the quite large Speakers we have in the living room…it’s food for the soul to have her wonderful voice soaring through the gaff!

SONG #2

WINGS

‘LOVE IS STRANGE

My favourite McCartney number of all time. Simple, gentle and incredibly groovy…savage Drums! Always makes me nod my head and smile.

SONG #3

ANDERSON .PAAK

‘THE SEASON/CARRY ME’

I just love the incredibly deep and complex production of this track…it’s a slow banger.

 

SONG #4

SAINT ETIENNE

‘ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART – ANDREW WEATHERALL MIX’

Since he passed I’ve listened to this track so much…it’s nice and long, a two in one deal! Superb drum intro, savage bass line, super dubby. My favourite of his remixes. Makes me smile every time!

 

SONG #5

LAGARTIJEANDO

‘CHAKANA COSMICA (ULISES REMIX)’

I just recently heard this and it’s been on repeat ever since (thanks Aisling R!) Perfect bpm for the lock-down… Deep, intricate with an absolutely banging kick drum sound. It really deserves some volume and then try not to stay still!

 

Kobina is electronic musician Seán Arthur. He aims to pull together diverse and often disparate strands to create a uniquely textured and emotivesound.
His 2013 debut release “Ahome E.P.” and follow up in “Sentinel Island E.P.” released in 2016, were received enthusiastically, with prominent reviews from Goldenplec, Nialler9, The Last Mixed Tape, and others.
Seán has joined us as a performer at ALS three times across the years.

Hey Seán. How are you getting on these days?

I’m currently holed up in my apartment in Amsterdam. I’ve trying to take the quarantine to work on some projects that took the back seat to “paying” jobs over the last while. I’m pretty fortunate that I’ve been finding the space and time pretty manageable overall.

 

“People are here for one another, make use of that.”

What do you hope comes from this experience?

I think it helps when you have no expectation on what you should be doing in this time. If you want to do nothing, do nothing. Look after yourself, stay inside. People are here for one another, make use of that.

SONG #1

H.TAKAHASHI

‘CIRCULATION’

Ironically, the Japanese ambient artist wrote this album on an iPhone while commuting from the peaceful Saitama to chaos in Tokyo for his job. Ironically for album written in transit, I find it washes over with much needed stillness during this period of weird nervous energy.

SONG #2

SON HOUSE

GRINNIN’ IN YOUR FACE

I’ve spent a lot of time digging through my blues record collection. I find a lot of comfort in Son’s voice. Blues and Jazz has always helped slow me down and pay attention.

SONG #3

NEW JACKSON

THE GONO LINE

New Jackson is a national treasure. This song was one of my favourites of last year and his work is criminally overlooked in Ireland by the mainstream. I love the weird off kilter beat, it leads you in one direction, and the surprises you with most incredible melodic switch.

SONG #4

SOCCER MOMMY

YELLOW IS THE COLOR OF HER EYES

Love this song. Such a exposed, melancholy, and rewarding listen. Some nice production touches, and interesting guitar lines to help steer it clear of becoming corny.

SONG #5

PRESCRIBE DA VIBE

I’M HERE

This is such a banger. When I’m trying to get a bit of a buzz going in the apartment during this time, this track is the way to do it. The muffled chopped vocals are reminiscent of Blawan’s Getting Me Down edit but the garage beat that switches up through this track interesting enough to justify repeat plays.

Distant Listening 03 : Claire Beck

Claire Beck is one of the most recognisable figures in the Irish music scene today – Claire’s voice has been heard across the airwaves on Phantom, TXFM and most recently Today FM for what seems like forever – a steady and always popular champion of brilliant music and sunny vibes.
Beyond this, Claire is also a great DJ – providing some of the standout moments at ALS over the past number of years – her sets in The Ballroom at ANYE 18 & 19 were particularly notable – where she really caught the mood of the room with signature panache on both occasions, but Claire is truly a music lover and a master at sharing that passion. 
All in, Claire is one of our very favourite people, and a real champion of all we do – we caught up with her in her unique isolation staton of her barge home. 

Claire Beck here. I’ve been honoured to be a regular performer at ALS/ANYE over the past couple of years. Some of my favourite festival moments, both on stage DJing and off getting lost with friends, have happened at The Manor.

Hi Claire! How have things chaged for you workwise since this all kicked off?

I’m usually running around between a music manager role, DJ gigs, event planning, and prepping for radio shows. Everything is on hold/gone at the moment except for the radio show, which I’m so grateful to still have. It’s a blessed outlet in a sea of strangeness.

I’ve turned it into a ‘mud free festival on the radio’ since lock-down began. It’s beautiful and bizarre getting messages and pictures from people, all dressed up, at home listening.

And away from work?

When I’m not traveling into studio to do the show (with my official letter for checkpoints tucked into my pocket like a secret agent), I’m spending the lock-down at home on my houseboat.

Listening to heaps and heaps of music is my number one activity (as usual). Baking, planting, knitting… if you can think of a ‘things to do on a houseboat’ stereotype, I’m probably living it right now.

I’m missing my friends, my mam and my Nana, who turned 89 during the week – but I’m grateful that they’re healthy.

“I’ve decided to embrace the times where my creativity, energy and optimism feels boundless, and forgive myself for the times when it’s blocked.

What do you hope comes from this experience?

When this all started, I had a burst of creative energy and was fully embracing this new normal, the time and space to make things. Then after about a week, this burnt out and I felt utterly lost.

I was looking online and seeing my peers seemingly churning out effortless work while I was stuck, feeling dreadful.

However, I quickly realised that we need to be very, very gentle with ourselves during this surreal time. We’re not robots and this obsession with productivity needs to stop.

It’s easy to scroll online and think ‘everybody is being so productive with this time, and I’m wasting it’. I’ve decided to embrace the times where my creativity, energy and optimism feels boundless, and forgive myself for the times when it’s blocked.

My top tip: forgive yourself, take the morning off to watch Netflix if you need to.

SONG #1

INNER CITY

‘BIG FUN’

“We don’t really need a crowd to have a party”. I think this song will be my lasting memory of hosting my radio show during lock-down (Saturday SoundSystem, Today FM 9pm-midnight, tell your friends pls).

Usually people get in touch to say they’re getting ready to go out. But now, its screen shots of virtual hangouts and shout-outs to friends all over the world. It’s also a banger, in fairness.

SONG #2

BICEP

‘ATLAS’

Last week was so surreal and time so non linear that I kind of … forgot that new music gets released? It was a real treat to get the first new music in three years from Belfast’s finest. I’m looking forward to playing this to a festival crowd as soon as possible.

 

SONG #3

SHURA

‘ELEVATOR GIRL FT. IVY SOLE’

I was already a Shura fan but even for her, this track is sensational. A giddy story of two women on a first date, in a breezy 90’s tinged RnB style and it’s divine. A queer love story shouldn’t stand out as remarkable but here we (still) are.

SONG #4

PATAWAWA

‘JUST NOT WITH YOU’

I’m a sucker for a live disco band and this young three piece from the UK are right up my alley. I’m not going to tell anyone how to suck eggs but if they were to play at the next ALS I would be thrilled!

 

SONG #5

TEDDY PENDERGRASS

‘LIFE IS A SONG WORTH SINGING’

You generate the power to decide what to do with your life’. This tune never fails to give me a (gentle, loving) kick in the arse when I need it and make me feel positive again. We will get through this.

Distant Listening 02 : Robbie Power

Robbie Power is one of the original and dearest members of the ALS crew.
Truly a renaissance man if ever there was one, Robbie splits his time between his home in Waterford, and a career in copywriting which allows him the flexibility to travel for large parts of the year, before returning to Ireland for the festival season.
Rob stepped up to become our Site Manager at ALS19, looking after a burley and grizzly crew of makers and doers who are responsible for creating and maintaining much of the infrastructure needed to transform the verdant grounds of Killyon Manor into a festival site – no easy task!
This aside, Robbie is equally adept chatting amicably about music or philosophy at the back of The Shift Shack mid boogie, and all with a trademark measured calm which sets him out as one of the very best we’ve got.

Hey Robbie, how’s it going? Can you tell us how you are riding out the storm?

Robbie Power here present and accounted for. Myself and the lovely Anna (ALS Decor) are ‘Coronavoiding’ in the beautiful Dunmore East having only returned from winter in Asia a couple of weeks ago.

We’re extremely grateful to have been able to find this hidy-hole on such short notice. I’ve got a copywriting biz (wordflow) among other things and Anna works in textiles which is extremely ‘on brand’ if you know Anna!

How are you finding all of this?

We are grateful to be extremely lucky people and like many of us, are really having no ill effects from current circumstances besides maybe a few less sheckles in the account. …coping is only about being aware of that.

We are grateful to be extremely lucky people and like many of us, are really having no ill effects from current circumstances besides maybe a few less sheckles in the account.

coping is only about being aware of that.”

SONG #1

Handsome Boy

‘The Truth’

Handsome Boy modelling School were a little ahead of their time in terms of building a sound through genre bending collaboration. The riff from the old standard ‘Coffee Cold’ along with the Roisin Murphy vocals get me every time.

SONG #2

THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA

‘ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN’

I Have been a huge fan of the cinematic since very early on and this collaboration with Roots Manuva always bring you on a journey. Credit to Roots for bringing vocals that somehow match the emotion of the orchestra.

SONG #3

LHASA DE SELA

‘DE CARA A LA PARED’

I was given a Lhasa Album years ago, just before I spent a few months driving around Europe where she would often be the soundtrack. Sadly she died of cancer only a few years later. I’ve never learned what these lyrics mean, the conveyed emotion is so powerful you just don’t need to know.

 

SONG #4

KATIE KIM

‘FAKE YOUR DEATH’

I have the pleasure of knowing Katie, but her music leaves me in no doubt that I would be a fan even if that wasn’t the case. I may even be a bigger fan, we’re all begrudgers down here! This song so succinctly conveys the feeling of having enough of it all (to me anyway), yet ironically is so beautiful it could probably bring someone back form the brink!

SONG #5

SWEET TEA

‘AFTER LAUGHTER (COMES TEARS)’

This song serves as a reminder that there is no escaping the vicissitudes of life, however it does swing both ways. There might be tears after laughter, but there will surely be laughter after the tears.

Distant Listening 01 : Ailbhe Reddy

Ailbhe Reddy is a contemporary singer songwriter from Dublin.
Her steady rise as a voice of note and particular complexion has marked her out as one of our favourite artists at ALS over the past number of years, performing at ALS ’17 and ’19.
Ailbhe’s songwriting is matched by her dry humour, and a sense of resilience that was put to the test during an unlucky downpour at ALS ’19 which made her performance on Further Afield a little tricky. 
But typically then, as with our chat below, Ailbhe just gritted her teeth and got through things admirably, winning the crowd over as always. 
www.ailbhereddy.com

Hi Ailbhe! Can you tell us how you are riding out the storm?

I’m currently recording demos in my sister’s house during this period of isolation. It’s pretty peaceful and I tend to forget what’s going on until I leave the house to go to the shops!

How are you finding all of this?

I’m okay, obviously it’s all a bit mad but I’m very fortunate that I have a cosy warm place to stay and lovely people to spend time with. I miss my family and friends who I can’t see but it will make me appreciate them all the more when we see each other again.

“I guess my advice is – don’t feel like you have to be making the most of this, you don’t have to be super productive and come out of this with loads done. If watching Netflix and going for walks is your buzz, do that.

Can you share one thing you’re doing to navigate these current tricky waters?

The way I’m dealing with it is just splitting my time between feeling useful (whether that’s a home DIY project or admin I’ve been putting off for months) – and doing things I enjoy like writing music and sitting around chilling out and watching TV.

What do you hope comes from this experience?

I guess my advice is – don’t feel like you have to be making the most of this, you don’t have to be super productive and come out of this with loads done. If watching Netflix and going for walks is your buzz, do that. Take it a day at a time and try focus on some of the positives, we rarely see this level of community spirit and people binding together. Seek solace in that, because it’s fairly spectacular.

“Take it a day at a time and try focus on some of the positives, we rarely see this level of community spirit and people binding together.

Seek solace in that, because it’s fairly spectacular.”

SONG #1

ANDY SHAUF

‘MARTHA SWAYS’

It’s just a very relaxing and peaceful song. Also reminds me of the last few hours of a long night out, something I won’t experience for a while.

SONG #2

BIG THIEF

‘MARY’

I love this song and Big Thief. It reminds of lonely long drives at all hours to and from Donegal last summer, while I was recording an album.

SONG #3

CHRISTIAN LEE HUTSON

‘NORTHSIDERS’

Just a sweet nostalgic tune about friendship, what’s not to love?

SONG #4

SHARON VAN ETTEN

‘SEVENTEEN’

More nostalgia, that’s clearly the buzz I’m on right now.

SONG #5

JULIA JACKLIN

‘PRESSURE TO PARTY’

Always makes me want to dance and sing along. Saw Julia Jacklin play live in the Button Factory a few months ago and it was beautiful. The whole set was flawless, especially this tune and a cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You’.

 

Photos : Zoe Holman