Stephen Shannon and Cillian McDonnell were formerly of the band Halfset but in recent times, they’ve recalibrated themselves and the friends of 20 plus years have been make electronic music as Mount Alaska. that is reminiscent of Moderat and Burial on three previous singles.
Their fourth track on Language Recordings arrives shortly before their set at Metropolis on Sunday at 5pm after Le Boom on the Bulmer’s Live stage and their support slot for Kiasmos at Vicar Street on Sunday, November 5th.
‘Outlier’ is the kind of track that has euphoria running through its veins. In its 6-minute running time, it as the qualities that make the best dance music sing: an outlook that feels positively faced to the future, textures that exhale with the rhythm (with a Jon-Hopkins-esque build) and sonics that transport.
The duo have a long-standing friendship (having met each other the week McDonnell moved to Dublin in 1994) and Mount Alaska allows the pair to indulge in a fully electronic recording process using analogue synths and equipment.
‘Radius’ is Mount Alaska’s third such track a song that is dense in its production with digital drum hits, undercurrents of cloudy synth lines, stormy vocals and patches of melody lines. It’s like Burial crossed with Moderat.
Mount Alaska (Twitter) is a new project from former Halfset members Stephen Shannon and Cillian McDonnell.
Since the band disbanded Shannon has been working as a producer at Experimental Audio studio and composing film scores while McDonnell among other things, started the label Music/is/for/losers.
Now, the duo have returned to making music together under the name Mount Alaska.
‘Sine, Cosine, Tangent’ is our first listen to the outcome of their creative pursuit, a wavey experimental electronic instrumental to be released on Language Records on Monday, November 7th 2016. A second single featuring The Gloaming’s Iarla Ó’Lionáird is due in January.
As it turns out, Stephen and Cillian have known each other for 22 years.
“I met Steve in a club the week I moved to Dublin, in September, 1994,” says McDonnell, “and since then we’ve been digesting, discussing and dissecting music together, on some level. For the last decade we have played in bands together, recorded on other people’s music together, toured as backing musicians together, DJ’d together and experimented making electronic music together.”
“Cillian and I have always wanted to make a purely electronic record,” says Shannon, “and I wanted to make music that made full use of the old synthesizers and machines I’ve been gathering in my studio over the years. We started work in 2012, spending time in isolated places to help us focus. We created dozens of songs, most of which ended up being merely exercises or tests, to find what we were looking for. ‘Sine, Cosine, Tangent’ started out as an experiment, as most of our pieces do.”
McDonnell, a drummer by trade, was keen to get out behind the kit:
“I wanted to steer Mount Alaska towards the dancefloor (which is where my head and heart are at, musically),” he says, “and while Mount Alaska’s songs and structures are very much shaped by contemporary electronic music, our sound is still heavily influenced by the machines and methods utilised by past masters. These new recordings are just snapshots of how we feel about the songs at present, and I fully expect them to morph and evolve once we start to play live in 2017.”