After last week’s reveal of Orbital as Saturday headliners, today it’s been announced that Aphex Twin return to play Forbidden Fruit and headline the Sunday night after playing the festival’s inaugural outing back in 2011.

That adds to the recent news that Bon Iver will curate and headline the Monday June 5th date along with Flying Lotus, The Staves, Lisa Hannigan, Gordi and Paul Thomas Saunders.

Tickets:

Day tickets go on sale next Monday Feb 6th at the first tier of €49.50 + fees.
Two Day Weekend (Sat 3rd & Sun 4th) – €99.50
Three Day (Sat 3rd, Sun 4th, Mon 5th) – €145.50

Here’s a recent live set from Texas from AFX:

Posted on February 6th, 2017

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Primavera Sound has just announced its lineup for the  festival in 2017 in Barcelona from 31 May to June 4th next year and it’s ridiculous.

Headliners on the lineup include

  • Arcade Fire
  • Frank Ocean
  • Bon Iver
  • Solange
  • Skepta
  • the xx
  • Aphex Twin
  • Slayer
  • Grace Jones
  • Van Morrison
  • Run The Jewels

Also present and correct:

Flying Lotus, Mac Demarco, The Magnetic Fields, Angel Olsen, Teenage Fanclub, Seu  George plays the Life Aquatic: A Tribute to Bowie, Grandaddy, Tycho, Swans, Bicep, !!!, Badbadnotgood, King Krule, Glass Animals, John Talabot, Fatima Yamaha, Henrik Schwarz, Joy Orbison, Julia Jacklin, Sinkane, Skinny Puppy, Operators, Weyes Blood and Tuff City Kids.

Tickets start at €175 + fees.

Here it is in full:

15304327_10154787158383156_7838273032265360973_o

Posted on November 30th, 2016

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As announced last week, Aphex Twin will release a new Cheetah EP on Warp on July 8th.

The EP purports to feature “digital sound generation techniques combined with wave sequencing technology to bring you sounds with movement and depth rarely found on records today.”

A video for one of the EP’s tracks ‘CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]’ was just released and it turns out its the work of a 12 year-old kid, Ryan Wyer, from Rush in Dublin, who is clearly an Aphex Twin fan.

His video features him and his friends in Aphex Twin t-shirts having a laugh and is officially, the first Aphex Twin video since ‘WindowLicker’ 17 years ago. (apparently 2005’s Nannou doesn’t count?)

Aphex Twin – Cheetah EP Tracklisting

01. CHEETAHT2
[Ld spectrum]
02. CHEETAHT7b
03. CHEETA1b ms800
04. CHEETA2 ms800
05. CIRKLON3
[ Колхозная mix ]
06. CIRKLON 1
07. 2X202-ST5 *

*CD, Cassette and Digital track only, included on download available with vinyl

Posted on June 21st, 2016

Artists: ,

Update: It’s 2016, I found this post and enjoyed it. I’ve now added a Spotify playlist of all of the albums available.

Below is a list of my favourite records of the ten years between the turn of the millenium, the year 2000 and 2010. Ranking these albums was led by a) what the album means to me and b) how often I’d listen to it. Each and every one of these albums blew me away repeatedly at some time between the ages of 18 and 27. Each one has something special going for it, something magical that brings me back to it. For that I can only thank the creators of each.

Without further ado, here are my favourite 50 albums from the decade. And remember, you can’t be wrong if they are your favourites.

Listen on Spotify

Nialler9’s albums of the decade (2000-2010)

  1. The KnifeSilent Shout (2006)
  2. Joanna Newsom Ys  (2006)
  3. Broken Social SceneBroken Social Scene (2005)
  4. Queens of the Stone AgeSongs for the Deaf (2002)
  5. Arcade FireFuneral  (2005)
  6. J DillaDonuts  (2006)
  7. BattlesMirrored (2007)
  8. Animal Collective –  Feels  (2005)
  9. RadioheadKid A  (2001)
  10. Why? Alopecia (2008)
  11. GorillazDemon Days  (2005)
  12. The StrokesIs this it?  (2001)
  13. MIA/DiploPiracy Funds Terrorism / Arular    (2004/2005)
  14. Four TetRounds (2003)
  15. Cannibal OxCold Vein (2001)
  16. Death in VegasScorpio Rising  (2003)
  17. LCD SoundsystemSound of Silver (2007)
  18. Panda BearPerson Pitch  (2007)
  19. The StreetsOriginal Pirate Material  (2002)
  20. Aphex TwinDrukqs  (2001)
  21. PlaidDouble Figure (2001)
  22. Godspeed You! Black EmperorLevez vos Skinny Fists (2000)
  23. Saul WilliamsSaul Williams (2004)
  24. MadvillainMadvillainy  (2004)
  25. Buck 65Talkin’ Honky Blues  (2003)
  26. SquarepusherGo Plastic (2001)
  27. Sufjan StevensSeven Swans  (2004)
  28. The AvalanchesSince I Left You  (2000)
  29. Super Furry AnimalsRings Around the World  (2002)
  30. BeirutThe Flying Club Cup  (2007)
  31. DJ ShadowThe Private Press  (2002)
  32. Girl TalkNight Ripper  (2006)
  33. Broken Social SceneYou Forgot it in People (2003)
  34. Grizzly Bear  – Veckatimest (2009)
  35. Bon Iver For Emma Forever Ago  (2008)
  36. CamilleLe Fil  (2006)
  37. Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post-Pavilion  (2009)
  38. El-PI’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (2007)
  39. Bloc PartySilent Alarm (2005)
  40. OutkastStankonia (2000)
  41. DangerdoomThe Mouse and the Mask (2005)
  42. The Beta BandHot Shots II (2001)
  43. Max TundraMastered by Guy at the Exchange (2002)
  44. MogwaiMr Beast (2006)
  45. Primal Scream XTRMNTR  (2000)
  46. Wolf ParadeApologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
  47. Jamie LidellMultiply  (2005)
  48. Dangermouse The Grey Album (2004)
  49. Flying LotusLos Angeles  (2008)
  50. Shugo TokumaruL.S.T. (2006)

Posted on February 25th, 2016

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I spend most of my day listening to music of all tempos and styles, so when I get close to the night, and bed is calling, I rarely put on music. I used to fall asleep with headphones in my ears but those times are gone and sleep is more precious. Occasionally, my head will be buzzing too much with work and plans that I can’t relax. Music can help then.

Here’s a 3-hour Spotify playlist featuring music for such an occasion, for sleep-inducing, quiet times, for background noise, for night-marches into a deep consciousness or whatever you’re having your self.

It features music, ambient, atmospheric and minimal from Aphex Twin, M83, Brian Eno, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Jon Hopkins, Ebauche, Burial, John Foxx, Julianna Barwick, Tangerine Dream, Air, Stars Of The Lid, Boards Of Canada, Harold Budd, Laraaji, Arca, Nils Frahm and more. It will be updated again in future so subscribe. In the meantime, press shuffle and drift off when appropriate.

Next up on the themed playlists? Halloween, Running, morning time or something else? Let me know.

Listen to the ambient playlist

Nialler9 on Spotify.

Posted on October 22nd, 2015

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Lauren Laverne just announced the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize over the course of her show on BBC 6 Music for 2015 and the list is:

Aphex Twin – Syro
Wolf Alice – Bros
Roisin Murphy – Hairless Toys
C Duncan – Architect
ESKA – Eska
Florence & The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
Benjamin Clementine – At Least For Now
Jamie xx – In Colour
Soak – Before We Forgot To Dream
Gaz Coombes – Matador
Slaves – Are You Satisfied?

Not a bad list, leaning a bit too heavily on established names perhaps. Would have hoped for Jonnie Common, All We Are, Lianne La Havas and Gwenno but you have to pay to enter so who knows if any of them did. 

Here’s a Spotify playlist of all of the nominees:

Posted on October 16th, 2015

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Yesterday Richard D James aka Aphex Twin or user48736353001, began posting unreleased tracks to Soundcloud that sounded like they were taken from the early years of his music-making career.

While there was no official confirmation that the music was by AFX, reliable sources like Planet Mu’s Mike Paradinas and WATMM forum say it’s him and that the songs have been played in his live/DJ sets over the years.

It also really sounds like Aphex Twin.

James appears to be having a bit of fun with the identity saying it’s not him but a man called Simon while also leaving comments like “Would like to know the full setup for this track, brilliant music man. I love your early 90′s stuff so much, I was doing stuff in the early 90’s, similar to you but I didn’t know about you when I did it ! Im also 43 years old 🙂 I’m going to be uploading it to soundcloud soon, gotta dust off the old DAT’s & cassettes!”

That prompted the actual Aphex Twin SC account to post on last week’s official track ‘Diskhat ALL Prepared1mixed [snr2mix]’: “beautiful stuff, would love to hear more.”

It’s trolling our scent-throwing of a sort but there are over 59 songs on that account now to hear. Here are 15 favourites to start you off:

Not only that but there’s an official Warp release of Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP out as of yesterday. The release is the output of his robot-style music experiments – a series of mechanical instruments performing his compositions and controlled by computer.

Posted on January 27th, 2015

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Artists:

Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish Albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 


 

Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham.

My favourite albums of the year features a sixth album career highlights from a psychedelic mathematician, a fourth album breakthrough for a rubbernecking sweat-drenched band, the return of Aphex Twin, a Wicklow man who seemed to take over the music world, two great Irish rap albums, an album about an imagined trip through China, two very different R&B debut albums, lounge-time electronica from Norway, Annie Clark’s continued ascension through ambition, a collaborative effort from Iceland and the Faroe Islands and a marquee buddy rap album that said more about the state of America than anything else this year and had a brash kick-ass time doing it.

There’s a Spotify playlist available for it all but click down to get some context for each album from 10 to 1. Top 100 songs of the year tomorrow.

Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist


30. Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
29. Ratking – So It Goes
28. Shabazz Palaces –  Lese Majesty
27. The Bug – Angels & Devils
26. Lone – Reality Testing
25. DJ Dodger Stadium – Friend Of Mine
24. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
23. Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell
22. Lethal Dialect x Jackknife J – 1988
21. Hozier – Hozier
20. Warpaint – Warpaint
19. The Gloaming – The Gloaming
18. Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch
17. Sinkane – Mean Love
16. Dorian Concept – Joined Ends
15. James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical
14. Fatima – Yellow Memories
13. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time!
12. Alt-J – This Is All Yours
11. St Vincent – St. Vincent


10. Aphex Twin – Syro

AFXRichard D James’ first album in 13 years.

“We know now that the contents of Syro is just some of the material recorded in the intervening years in one of James’ many studios. The oldest track stretch back six or seven years, using a massive 138 pieces of musical equipment (all listed in spiral on the artwork).

“What appears before it also echoes the heavier side of Druqks but repeated listens reveal new textures, new moods, new avenues explored by James. The trademark eeriness of melody and general cheeky humour is still evident throughout but the greatest part of a new Aphex Twin record is that is truly allows you to get lost in its puzzle, a completely different musical terrain even when there are expected imprints of ambient works, electro, acid, jungle and squiggly funk.

“The 10 minute experience of ‘XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]’ feels different every time with environmental listening experiences changing the focus and feel (headphones, outdoors, late-night) as all the best electronic music can do. Syro still offers much to explore, many repeat listens in.

“And that is the key to why Aphex Twin is pored over so minutely, because he goes into such detail in his music. James’ intricate compositional skills remains his biggest asset. While his sounds have been copied over the years, his brain is still peerless.”

Listen: Spotify


9. Angel Olsen – Burn No Fire For Your Witness

Angel OlsenThe American singer dials up the amps and keeps things intimate.

“When you have a voice so striking you could hang a hat on it, it’s probably a good idea to hang your songs on it too. Angel Olsen’s 2012 debut album Half Way Home introduced us to the Missouri singer’s deep country-folk vibrato that sometimes sounded like an entrant in a yodelling competition and musically, was set to throwback acoustic folk. She was an otherworldly attraction.

“The followup, Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar) still relies on Olsen’s distinctive tones to draw you in but the songs hold you closer and Olsen reveals more of herself in the process, while expanding the arrangements to include a rock band at full tilt, devastating acoustic songs and poignant country-folk.

“If Olsen sounded distant and unearthly before, on Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she is emotionally baring, whispering uncomfortably close in your ear or sometimes dancing around you, a real person, hanging her songs and her voice on relatable and knowable experiences.”

Listen: Spotify


8. Godknows + MynameisjOhn – Rusangano/Family

SBsA brilliant grimey hip-hop collaborative album via Clare, Zimbabwe and Limerick..

“As they describe it, ‘a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea’ with the expressed interest of changing the game.

“What God Knows, the founding member of the Random Acts Of Kindness collective and Ennis-born mynameisjOhn came up with (along with MuRli) is a game-changer in the way it drags Irish hip-hop into a fully-formed album/mixtape format with a confidence and skill that is unfamiliar in this country’s rap output.

“MC God Knows is a fervent presence, an MC with command, as heard on the soulful clip of ‘Standard’, an easy album highlight. MynameisjOhn provides the horn-soul hip-hop backing but doesn’t rest there, the beats bang, the strings stab and God Knows goes double time to the beat slowing to let the soul sample breathe.

“The versatility extends to MynameisjOhn too. ‘Throw The Spear’ reminds me of an MF Doom production – Dangerdoom era, meets Machinedrum. ‘Habbahuk’ is more plaintive, ‘Twentyfourseven’ is psychedelic funk and there are hints of a knowledge of electronic subgenres, even African dance on ‘African Shirts’.

“Aspects of being an African boy growing up in Ireland seeps through the lyrics in details about being black in an Irish school. He’s Joined by MuRli and Guide on ‘Words Of Our Fathers’, a track which, in the short history of Irish-African rap would have never been made twenty years ago, and serves as an aural document of one small thing that multi-cultural Ireland has given us.”

Listen: Bandcamp


7. Kiasmos – Kiasmos

KiasmosIcelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroe Islands’ synth-pop musician Janus Rasmussen’s first album together collides two worlds of sounds to engaging effect.

” Arnalds and Rasmussen explore what happens when contemporary composition that uses stringed instruments, has a classical knowledge and is often written with scores in mind intersects with the sensibilities and practices of synthesizer-driven music structures.

“The pair spent much of the year in Reykjavík working together on this album. The result is a grandiose vocal-less dance album that effectively uses the tactile textures of the former in the arena of the latter.

“Across seven, often long tracks (the average length of about 6 and a half minutes), the opposing worlds of electronic and classical mesh well together and Kiasmos moves in a place that is neither contemporary or classical, house or techno, but that crosses both with a new identity.”

Listen on Spotify.


6. Glass Animals – ZABA

ZABAAn alluring minimal indie R&B album from the Oxford musicians.

ZABA, the band’s debut album pushes their atmospheric agenda into a cohesive release. Their M.O. is slinky minimal pop, not a million miles from Alt-J, but more exotic and worldly than their counterparts. But they do share a common parlance in how they translate their traditional band setup into an otherworldly place.

“Executive production by Paul Epworth with Bayley producing ensures that level of aural consistency, meaning ZABA which is likened to ‘a backdrop of man-made wilderness,’ according to the band directly, is awash with ambient and alluring songcraft.”

Listen on Spotify.


5. Mr Twin Sister – Mr Twin Sister

Twin SisterDark disco and electronic pop on album #2 from the Long Island band.

“The eight tracks on the self-titled second album are definitely night-time grooves, which occupy the same mood without jumping around from genre to genre, and as an album it works wonderfully, because Mr Twin Sister have an attention to the small details that stands to them when they delve deep into genres like disco and funk.

“Andrea Estella’s lyrics suit the vibe, their disco-noir sound is escapism and she often seeks to escape. ‘In The House Of Yes’ she locks herself in her room, drinks to a stupor and dances on her own own til her head is on the ground. ‘Rude Boy’ finds her rejecting the advances of an opposite (“I have all the drinks i can handle”), content to exist in the space. “Is there a real me? Or am I just a series of nights,” she sings on ‘Blush’. The thrilling ‘Out Of The Dark’ has her questioning identity too – “I am a woman / But inside I’m a man / And I want to be as gay as I can.” The Johnny Jewel-esque ’12 Angels’ has someone singing about being in drag to reinforce the theme.

“Despite the album being united in tone, there’s a sense that Mr Twin Sister aren’t settled. It’s in the artwork which is deliberately unfinished and packaged, it’s in the 37-minute running time and it’s in the new name. The altered band have reset and are heading in their own independent direction and making great music as part of the process.”

Listen on Spotify


4. FKA twigs  – LP1

FKA TWigs2014’s magnetic leftfield R&B star.

“Twigs has showed herself in public through artwork and videos which have hyper-realised versions of herself (large eyes, elongated neck, disfigured faces), that she is interested in examining and distorting her identity, including the very name she’s persisted with – Formerly known as.” On LP1, she shares seemingly true intimate versions of herself.

“There is no worry that the separation of the music from the visuals FKA twigs has become synonymous with has lessened the impact of LP1 or that twigs has nothing to say. A longer sustained running time means rather than snatches of character-forming opinion, we get a confidential look at the artist herself talking sex, self-image, desire, loneliness, intimacy, and state of mind, subjects normally guarded from others more vehemently, particularly for new artists.

“The combination of twigs’ alien otherworldliness, her ambient often anguished electronic R&B style and her intimate and lustful portrait of herself, directly or reflected in others, makes for an iconic release and helps form a person who feels human and real. By the end of the album’s 10 tracks, twigs decides that she knows herself best, after all.”

Listen on Spotify


3. Future Islands – Singles

FIThe Baltimore band’s fourth record of melodramatic synth-pop hit a bigger audience.

“These are songs that have the chest-thumping melodramatic new wave pop at the heart of what they do while refining the songwriting and production by Chris Coady make for an overall better album.

“There’s a straight up heart-on-sleeve anthemic lean to all of the songs. Each of them stand on their own, hence the title, whether it’s the yearning synth-pop of ‘Spirit’, the hook-laden chorus of ‘Sun In The Morning’, the bass-funk of ‘Doves’ , the slow epic atmosphere of ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’ or the brilliant album closer ‘A Dream Within A Dream’.

“There’s quite enough eccentricity in Herring’s vocal delivery whether he’s whispering, skulking, brooding, wailing, growling, crooning or delivering a monologue like David Bowie in Labyrinth on ‘Fall From Grace’. His range is beautifully dramatic and spirited and the music doubles down on providing an effective poignant foil for that – focusing on chugging bass, propulsive rhythms and colourful synths. It’s a perfect distillation of Future Islands which just happens to leave a more accessible, hook-laden welcoming impression than before. The band are all on the same powerful page rather than just being “that band with the eccentric lead singer.”

And let’s face it – as Letterman proved, and as this album substantiates, Herring, Gerrit Welmers and William Cashion have a lot more highly-strung emotion and joyful connections to make with audiences.”

Listen on Spotify


2. Caribou – Our Love

Our LoveAffirmative heart-on-sleeve dancefloor psychedelia.

“What a pleasure it is to arrive at the sixth album from an artist to find them at the peak of their music-making abilities. Press play on Our Love and that sentiment is obvious.

“Snaith’s psychedelic imprint and swells of emotion covers everything, through his falsetto and his preference for nostalgic-faced melodies. His lyrics add to the tenderness, chiefly concerned with a slipping, fading love, yet he offers us, and himself, solace in every other way.

“On Our Love, Snaith is now fully immersed in the world of the nightclub but he wears his heart on his turntable. That doesn’t mean that there’s an dumbing down or mindlessness. There is a simplicity to a lot of the tracks that, only comes from putting in the long hours. Snaith’s love of his craft continues to shine. If anything, he’s has just better at making things sound larger with less.”

Listen on Spotify


1. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

RTJBest buddies El-P and Killer Mike made the year’s best rap record.

“The sequel to one of the best rap mixtapes in recent times does what many sequels do not. It improves the dynamic between the cast, it delivers smarter, more quotable lines, it takes aim at larger targets and it adds a whole lot of bang.

Run The Jewels 2 is what happens when a producer-rapper/rapper hit a career high at the same damn time. Because this is El and Mike’s album, they own it. Because even though there are vocal guests: RATM’s Zack De La Rocha, singer/producer Boots and Three 6 Mafia’s Gangsta Boo, they serve the version of a banging lean record, rather than overcrowd it.

RTJ2 is two buddies, operating at their creative peak. It’s more than another chapter, more than a sequel. It’s a sinewy distillation of more than a friendship, it’s a fruitful creative partnership that sounds like it’s been reinforced by steel foundations such is the wicked bulging energy contained within the album’s 40 minutes.”

Listen on Spotify


Spotify Best Albums of 2014 playlist

Posted on December 22nd, 2014

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In association with

Tower-Logo

 

Best of 2014 : Albums | Songs | Readers Irish albums | Readers Irish songs | Remixes | Videos 

For the ninth year, I’ve handed the mic over to you guys to see what Irish albums made you move or moved you. This year 92 individual albums voted for and if you want to see the top 50, it’s at the end. But here’s a focus on the top 25 Irish albums released in 2014 as voted for by Nialler9 readers.

If anything tickles your fancy, be sure to drop into one of the Tower Records in Dublin, on Dawson Street or Eason’s, O’Connell Street and support the artist by buying a copy, preferably on vinyl.

For more: see my own lists in the Best of 2014:
Remixes | Videos.

More results coming before Christmas.

Artwork by Stephen Maurice Graham


Listen to the list on Spotify

Albums 25 – 11

25. The Riptide Movement – Getting Through
24. Mick Flannery – By The Rule
23. The Hot Sprockets – Brother Nature
22. Lethal Dialect x Jackknife J – 1988
21. Land Lovers/Windings – Split LP
20. Sinead O’ Connor – I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss
19. Adrian Crowley – Some Blue Morning
18. Women’s Christmas – Too Rich For Our Blood
17. SlowPlaceLikeHome – Romola
16. The Minutes – Live Well, Change Often
15. Sleep Thieves – You Want The Night
14. Rhob Cunningham – The Window and Day
13. Kormac – Doorsteps
12. Paddy Hanna – Leafy Stiletto
11. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy


10. Shit Robot – We Got A Love

Shit RobotNYC-based robotic Dubliner’s second album on DFA Records

With artwork from fellow Dublin globe-travelling artist Maser, Marcus Lambkin’s second album for the influential label is thoroughly of the DFA cannon. Those drums often associated with the label are felt throughout: post-punk-style yet filtered through Lambkin’ productions.

For the most part, the songs rely on club textures and modes: filtering from synth-disco to rave to electro to house. Dance and pop tropes are reinforced by vocalists Nancy Whang, Jenr and particularly by Holly Backer on ‘Feels Like’. The title track featuring the comedian Reggie Watts doing his soulful warble thing to a house-piano beat is a highlight.

Listen: Spotify | Buy


9.Delorentos – Night Becomes Light

DelorentosFourth album from the rejuvenated Dublin indie rock band.

“Assured from start to finish, Delorentos can even offer a peon to their hometown (‘Dublin Love Song’) that doesn’t leave you curled up in a ball of embarrassment. Yes they’re not exactly swimming against the musical tide but that makes the results all the more impressive, that in a world full of guitar bands they can still leave their mark. Another potential hurdle cleared with few difficulties, there’s even the feeling that the real Delorentos story is only just starting.” Phil Udell – State.ie.

Listen: Spotify


8.Daithí – In Flight

DaithiThe Galway kid moves from fiddling around into EDM pop circles on his own.

From his first forays into fiddle-assisted electronica, Daithí O’Dronaí has really raised his own bar and his sights. The music on his debut album In Flight (Co-produced by rising talent Ian Ring of Young Wonder) was unlike any other Irish album made this year as it was unabashedly a pop record: albeit one with the underlying structure of house, pop, trad and electronic music

Granted Irish radio is less accepting of this type of music than the UK is which maybe explained why the album didn’t spawn a big hit but in tracks like ‘Case Closed’ with Cork singer Senita, ‘Chameleon Life’ with singer Raye and ‘Have To Go’ featuring soul singer Jesse Boykins III there are certifiable chart house-pop bangers. No-one else in Ireland is making that kind of crossover music right now. Time for some catchup.

Listen: Spotify | Buy


7.Aphex Twin – Syro

AFXYes, the electronic music pioneer is from Limerick so his first record in 13 years has been claimed.

“We know now that the contents of Syro is just some of the material recorded in the intervening years in one of James’ many studios. The oldest track stretch back six or seven years, using a massive 138 pieces of musical equipment (all listed in spiral on the artwork).

What appears before it also echoes the heavier side of Druqks but repeated listens reveal new textures, new moods, new avenues explored by James. The trademark eeriness of melody and general cheeky humour is still evident throughout but the greatest part of a new Aphex Twin record is that is truly allows you to get lost in its puzzle, a completely different musical terrain even when there are expected imprints of ambient works, electro, acid, jungle and squiggly funk.

The 10 minute experience of ‘XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]’ feels different every time with environmental listening experiences changing the focus and feel (headphones, outdoors, late-night) as all the best electronic music can do. Syro still offers much to explore, many repeat listens in.

And that is the key to why Aphex Twin is pored over so minutely, because he goes into such detail in his music. James’ intricate compositional skills remains his biggest asset. While his sounds have been copied over the years, his brain is still peerless.”

Listen: Spotify | Buy


6.Godknows + MynameisjOhn – Rusangano/Family

SBsA brilliant grimey hip-hop collaborative album via Clare, Zimbabwe and Limerick..

“As they describe it, ‘a Zimbabwean Christian and an Irish pagan sit down with a pot of tea’ with the expressed interest of changing the game.

What God Knows, the founding member of the Random Acts Of Kindness collective and Ennis-born mynameisjOhn came up with (along with MuRli) is a game-changer in the way it drags Irish hip-hop into a fully-formed album/mixtape format with a confidence and skill that is unfamiliar in this country’s rap output.

MC God Knows is a fervent presence, an MC with command, as heard on the soulful clip of ‘Standard’, an easy album highlight. MynameisjOhn provides the horn-soul hip-hop backing but doesn’t rest there, the beats bang, the strings stab and God Knows goes double time to the beat slowing to let the soul sample breathe.

The versatility extends to MynameisjOhn too. ‘Throw The Spear’ reminds me of an MF Doom production – Dangerdoom era, meets Machinedrum. ‘Habbahuk’ is more plaintive, ‘Twentyfourseven’ is psychedelic funk and there are hints of a knowledge of electronic subgenres, even African dance on ‘African Shirts’.

Aspects of being an African boy growing up in Ireland seeps through the lyrics in details about being black in an Irish school. He’s Joined by MuRli and Guide on ‘Words Of Our Fathers’, a track which, in the short history of Irish-African rap would have never been made twenty years ago, and serves as an aural document of one small thing that multi-cultural Ireland has given us.”

Listen: Bandcamp


5.Adebisi Shank – This Is The Third Album of A Band Called Adebisi Shank

Adebisi ShankThe electro-rock band’s swansong leaves us stranded on a Mario Kart cloud.

“It’s facile to call the band math-rock or post-rock because there aren’t many of the standard tropes of those genres really left in the Adebisi Shank sound.

Post-rock used a traditional band set up to create something new with the same instruments but Adebisi strive for euphoria through a larger palette of sounds that they’ve incorporated from 80s music and video game soundtracks through vocoders, one of their dad’s saxophone playing, electro synths and Japanese pop culture. This Is The Third Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank is a whizz-bang of flag waving exuberance.”

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Buy


4.We Cut Corners – Think Nothing

We Cut CornersThe two teachers’ second album rocks out with brevity and lyrical craft.

“The first album from John Duignan and drummer Conall O’Breachain as We Cut Corners clocked in at 27 minutes but packed in more passion, melody and meaning than most manage at twice that length. That brevity is one of the band’s greatest assets, the delivery of short, sharp gut punching tracks that bow to the three-minute rule has become a trademark.

The band’s second album Think Nothing, recorded in Donegal with Villagers’ producer/guitarist Tommy McLaughlin is no different in that regard. Two years in the making no less but running at just 34 seconds extra, it wastes little of that duration. We Cut Corners are not a band made for indulgences.”

Listen: Spotify | Buy


3.The Gloaming – The Gloaming

GloamingMartin Hayes’ trad supergroup create an album that breaks many moulds.

“Those self-imposed challenges over the years lead fiddle player Hayes to to form The Gloaming, a group featuring two other Irishmen: singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh, playing his hardanger fiddle (a special instrument of Norwegian origin with eight or nine strings rather than four) and two Americans, the guitarist and frequent Hayes collaborator Dennis Cahill and American pianist Thomas Bartlett.

The Gloaming does create new ideas in old ones, by gelling the different experiences of the players. “I don’t recognise the lines that the rest of this band sees,” Bartlett says in a documentary about the band. ‘They’re very happy to go outside of those boundaries, but the fact that I don’t even know the tradition helps make them disappear.’

The Gloaming achieves a spacious temporal glow. Its evocative arrangements let the tunes breathe between the players, using familiar language in what feels like fresh ways. It communicates with the outside world from Cork to Clare to Vermont to Chicago to Norway and beyond. It has a context in that wide open world and does something delicate with the weight of history that informs it.”

Listen: Spotify | Buy


2. Hozier – Hozier

Hozier The Wicklow bluesy/rock singer was Spotify’s most viral artist of the year and defied expectation. My, how he’s grown.

“The Wicklow man’s debut album’s 13 songs reveal an assured lyricist, a powerful singer and dedicated blues guitarist that is a stern reminder, despite his growing ubiquity, of exactly why the dude is only going to get more visible.”

“Taken all together in album format, it’s the howl, the voice that keeps drawing you back. Hozier-Byrne proves he knows how to write a good song or 13, and he knows how to use his Bill Withers bellow to memorable effect. Hozier has the confidence where it matters – in the tunes. Everything else is already on the cards.”

Listen: Spotify | Buy


1. James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical

The Dubliner transitions from the folk tag to something much more effervescent.

Post Tropical is all about breaking away from conventions of McMorrow’s previous form. It is more nuanced and less traditional. Since appearing as a bearded man in a flannel shirt with a guitar, McMorrow has talked about how appearing as a bearded man in a flannel shirt with a guitar has pegged him as a folk artist. Certainly, much of Early In The Morning fit in with that pastoral idea of a folk musician, even going on song titles like ‘Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree’ and ‘To The Woods!!!’ alone.

McMorrow revels in defying those tags here. Recorded largely by himself, possibly all of the instruments and all of the layered harmonies which are also his, in a studio on a pecan farm in Texas on the Mexico border, Post Tropical is all about keeping away from the obvious.

It’s worth stating again, that the album is the work of one talented man’s intense schedule in isolation. It’s a towering achievement in that case but even without knowing that fact, Post Tropical stands up as a less-immediate release to its predecessor. It’s an emphatically unconventional yet rewarding album and a considerable achievement for its creator.”

Listen: Spotify | Buy


Listen to the list on Spotify

See a list of the top 50 albums.

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Posted on December 18th, 2014

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