Ships‘ album Precession is one of the finest records of the year song-wise along with the most sonically detailed. It’s been on constant play since it came out earlier in the year and Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen’s gigs have been regular features since.
For the Simon-featuring vocal cut ‘I Can Never’, the Dublin band teamed up with Irish illustrator Matt Griffin for a psychedelic retrostellar animated video.
A walking tour of this summer’s RHA Annual Exhibition with Director Patrick T. Murphy.
Free, body or face art done by the Dublin Body Painting Jam.
Watch as an artist creates a 3D artwork using Google’s Tilt Brush and have the chance to step in and create your very own piece of art.
Artist Colm Mac Athlaoich will be doing free caricatures for people to take home and on the hour every hour he will be giving 15 minute mini-classes on how to draw caricatures
Throughout the night Hennessy’s expert mixologists will create bespoke Hennessy cocktails, as well as hosting cocktail masterclasses. Cocktails include Hennessy & Ginger and Hennessy Sidecar. Grub will be served up on our summer-eve patio.
We’ve got the Body & Soul Festival stage times, the playlist and how here are the recommendation for 12 acts to see in Ballinlough this year featuring 9 acts & 3 DJs you must see.
Friday, Main Stage, 10pm
I have zero idea what the live show from Scottish composer Anna Meredith will be like as she’s made music that had an epic brass quality and experimental post-rock-style music but if either of those show up as the sun sets on Ballinlough, particularly the bombastic ‘Nautilus’ then I’d be happy.
Friday, Woodlands, 3am
A late-night show from one of the best new bands in Ireland? Nice. Christy Leech & Aimie Mallon are a party band who make music that moves between house, pop and electro. They are one of the hottest tickets on Irish festivals this summer so stay up late for this one.
The Bug ft. Miss Red
Friday, Midnight Circus, 21:30
If it’s heavy bass and atmosphere with a gritty rhythmic shake informed by down and dirty Drum ‘n’ bass, ragga, grime, ambient and dub, then a live show from the Bug is a must.
Simon Greene’s most recent Bonobo album traded off his reputation as a creator of intricate electronica to add some toughness and dynamic dancefloor production to his music, making Migration his best work yet. Live, he’s already known for large band recreations of that music so this should be a treat.
Saturday, Reckless In Love, 1am
Corkwoman Ellen King’s electronic is fairly uncompromising sonically, eschewing clean lines and grids for grit and lo-fi noise. Beneath it all, is a throbbing techno style. As seen in the recent Women In electronica documentary, King is also founder of the Gash Collective, who are also playing throughout the weekend.
BARQ are seasoned musicians having played with Hozier, Kodaline, Monster Monster, Damien Dempsey, Loah, Lethal Dialect, Ryan Sheridan and Zaska in the past and are establishing their own rap-tinged soulful R&B jazz sound under a genre they’ve coined as “agrosoul.”
Saturday, Wonderlust, 11.15pm
Saturday is a great day for Irish DJs. While it would be remiss of me as one-third of Lumo CLub not to mention that we are playing twice on Saturday at Reckless in love from 4pm – 6pm and Absolut Bar late at 2am til close. So before you come over the latter, you can find my Loose Joints co-host Sally Cinnamon playing at the Wonderlust stage where I know there’s going to be be tunes I can recommend. Sally introduced me (and many others) to this track and it often gets a play in her sets.
Sunday, Main Stage, 9pm
One of my favourite live bands. The Florida band Hundred Waters‘ music features skittering electronic leaps, abstract folk textures and the undeniably beautiful voice of Nicole Miglis.
Sunday, Main Stage, 15:30 / Woodlands, 22:30
Kelsey Lu is a North Carolinian cellist and singer/songwriter who makes orchestrally-arranged ambient folk music and has an EP out on True Panther. She has earned comparisons to Alice Coltrane and Bat For Lashes, Lu’s music leans into the avant-garde spectrum yet she has collaborated with artists in the field of pop and R&B like Blood Orange, Kelela and Wet.
Sunday, Woodlands 1am
They are the creators of an album that is one of my favourites of the year, an ’80s-inspired collection of strutting synth disco with heart. Simon Cullen and Sorca MCGrath will work better than most at 1am at a festival. The place to be.
Mix & Fairbanks
Sunday, Absolut Bar, 3pm
DJ Arveene has curated a whole weekend of DJs with an emphasis on the Irish selectors and the lineup is strong across the weekend with the likes of Ciara Brady, Kelly-Anne Byrne, Billy Scurry, Jimmy Rouge, Eddie Kay, Stevie G, Cyril Briscoe, DJ Deece and Aoife Nic Canna among them. Kildare up and comers Gary O’Reilly and Rob Smyth aka Mix & Fairbanks have recently got into original tracks to whopping effect, but it’s the skills as DJs playing disco and house edits and classics that started them on their path. Just listen to the Linndrum (80s drum machine) inspired mix they made for me last year.
Ok so slightly cheating here, but my wife Aoife runs Sing Along Social and last year’s Body&Soul was the first time her zero commitment choir debuted at a festival and it went off as you can see below. Basically, Sing Along Social is a zero-commitment choir, a group karaoke session, a party with lyrics and backing tracks. This year’s theme is Pop Battle so think Drake vs. Rihanna, Justin vs Britney, Abba vs. Fleetwood Mac and more, including props and inflatable. It’ll be gas. There’s a kids version on the Saturday too.
Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen have been making music as Ships for the last five years. As both a creative duo and real-life partners, they have imbued their synth-disco music with genuine exploration of human feeling. The ‘Ships’ in the title also represents some suffixes using the title – ‘relationships’, ‘friendships’, ‘scholarships’. There’s connection at the heart of their creativity.
With Precession, Ships have taken all that guardianship, heart and knowledge and have made one of my favourite albums of the year. Songs for the mind and body. The album is one of the most beautiful and dynamic sounding records you’ll hear this year. Its production is detailed with lots of little sonic treats that easy to pick up on but hard to create.
Ships’ established sound that engulfs synth-pop, disco, cosmic disco and vintage electronica is in its DNA. There’s groove, space, funk and glittering disco balls in its fabric. Whether its the gleaming disco-funk of ‘All Will Be’, the deep peaks of ‘Around This World’ , the booming electro of ‘None Of It Real’ or the hazed ’80s billowing ‘Another Way’, these songs demand rotational spins. Friends Rian Trench (Solar Bears), Ross Turner (I Am The Cosmos) and John Cowhie (Goodtime) help out.
Key to their success are the vocals by McGrath and Cullen, which gild these songs deeper in stature. Cullen glides across the psychedelic space-rock of Tame Impala-esque ‘I Can Never’ and McGrath’s brings a connective touch to the album synth-disco highlight ‘Where We Are’.
Body&Soul has added more acts to the festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath from June 23 – 25th.
RÜFÜS – Australian dance outfit Kelsey Lu – Brilliant cellist Brooke Bentham – Newcastle indie-rock Lyra – Cork electro-pop Ships – Dublin synth-pop duo I Have A Tribe – piano-folk pop
Ryan Vail – electronic contemporary composer Auxiliary Phoenix Trio – Jazz and hip hop fusion Dowth – synth drones and samples PrYmary Colours – electronic pop Wastefellow – electronic experimentalism
Reckless in Love:
On Friday – irregular ‘pop-up party’ Alice will feature Byron Yeates and his rotation of residents, oscillating between hardware-heavy analog sets, dreamy house tracks, balearic beat downs and experimental electronics from Automatic Tasty, Breen, Cáit and Eoin Ryan.
Saturday – festival favourites Homebeat curate a night of choice selectors and contemporary beat-makers from across the country. Kicking off with left-field gems from the Homebeat DJs there’ll be sets from Lumo Club, DIP DJs, Major Problems DJs, Neil Flynn (Lossless), Bantum, ELLL and John Daly.
Sunday – Berlin-based label maeve will unleash a surprise line-up that is primed to bring the festival to a spectacular close.
The 2017 Art Trail
Dublin-based collective Algorithm have created an otherworldly portal in the form of their Space Mandala; a vortex that undulates with colour and wills the viewer to relinquish their sense of self and dive headfirst into a shifting and uncertain future. Fusing architecture, engineering and art, Rae Moore has created the Funicular Folly, an explorable terrain that uses light brickwork to create an alternative tent structure that’s begging to be climbed. As festival-goers make their way around the grounds they’ll be greeted by surprising, twinkling, provocative and inspiring pieces from artists such as Felix Power, Jane Groves, Jason Kearney and our resident land artist Christy Collard to name but a few.
Line up: Metronomy / Vitalic / Lambchop / Sleaford Mods / Mykki Blanco / Austra / Optimo20 / La Femme / Sinkane / Birdy Nam Nam / RÜFÜS / Hundred Waters / The Moonlandingz / Songhoy Blues / Tiggs Da Author / Anna Meredith / Formation / A Tribe Called Red / Kelsey Lu / Idiotape / Mammút / King Kong Company / Parcels / Brooke Bentham / Mario Batkovic / Elaine Mai / DBFC / Ailbhe Reddy / TooFools / Weval / Avalon Emerson / Mr TC / Æ Mak / The Bug ft. Miss Red / Loah / Kelly-Anne Byrne / Shookrah / Sing Along Social / Ships / Ollie Bell / Le Boom / Lyra / Jinx Lennon / Barq / Katie Laffan / Joni / I Have a Tribe / John Conneely Inc.
One of my favourite Irish bands of the last five years, the disco synth-pop band Ships, Simon Cullen (Music For 18 Machines, Lasertom) and Sorcha McGrath (Wounded Healer) have been carefully toiling away on their debut album for a number of years and now it’s all ready to drop on May 1st.
I’ve heard it. It’s so good. Precession will be up there with one of my favourite albums of the year.
‘All Will Be’ is one of the upbeat highlights from the album (the second teaser after ‘Around This World’), a synth-pop banger with McGrath’s earworm vocals and Cullen’s production lifting it to the next level. I’ve been listening to this non-stop for the last couple of weeks. So good.
Precession, as a title is “reflective of the subtle shifts over a long arc of time and the album represents an extract of our own experiences within that. Along the way, songs have come and gone, some have come back again and we’ve landed on a collection that we feel represents where we are as musicians and as humans in the world as it is now.”
Ships – Precession Tracklist
1. Golden Rule 2. Around This World 3. I Can Never 4. None of it Real (Featuring Ross Turner on drums) 5. All Will Be 6. Another Way (Featuring John Cowhie) 7. Where We Are (Featuring a solo from Rian Trench) 8. Round and Round 9. Nothing But
Music for 18 Machines is a reimagining of Steve Reich’s minimal 1976 piece Music for 18 Musicians on its 40th anniversary and is a co-present between Note Productions and Synth Eastwood and was conceived by Simon Cullen (Synth Eastwood, Lasertom, Ships) and he will be joined on stage in the performance by Neil O’ Connor (Somadrone).
The pair will utilise 18 synthesizers on stage.
Again, do you like synths?
Reich’s work is a blueprint of the minimalist movement – an exploration of pattern and process which morphs into a psychoacoustic experiment that posits the question ‘what happens when a group of musicians are asked to perform like machines?’
Music for 18 Machines reverses this process somewhat and seeks to coax an expressive and emotive performance from 18 electronic instruments triggered by a single sequencer.
The show will also feature artist Anthony Murphy (Shadowlab) who has created a new illustrative interpretation of the processes and patterns embedded in the work.
The date for diaries is the 15th of September 2016 at the Button Factory in Temple Bar. Tickets are €15+fees from UTicket.
Dublin duo Ships, Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen have been working on their debut album in their home studio Kimmage with their two cats Jackson and Frankie for the last year. With the album nearly completed, Ships not wanting to merely release digitally are aiming to put some thought and care into a physical gatefold vinyl package for the album with designer Dave Darcy.
Ships, consisting of Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen are one of my favourite Irish bands. Through tracks like ‘Space Inside’ and ‘You’re Gonna Feel It’ and a sound that engulfs synth-pop, disco, cosmic disco and vintage electronica, they’ve carved out a space of their own.
The pair have been working on other projects though lately, Sorca as Wounded Healer and Simon as Lasertom. Today marks a re-steering of the focus onto Ships who have a full=-length album forthcoming they want you to know about and support through a crowdfunded campaign – more on that below.
‘Around This World’ is indicative of the attention to detail, production chops and songwriting that Ships are capable of – growing from a atmospheric funk rhythm to a glittering synth journey.
We thought about all the people who have taken the time to tell us that they’d like to hear it and wondered was there a way to make that possible. We’ve decided to put it to the people through crowdfunding, anyone who wants it can get it directly from us. We don’t know if it will be successful or not, but we’re ready if it is, and we’d be delighted. We’ve been working with Dublin printer and artist Dave Darcy, of One Strong Arm, devising the artwork and we’ll keep you posted when we’ve submitted the campaign for approval. We’re playing live at the end of June and July, where we’ll be trying out some album tracks, if you want to check out what you might be getting into!
Interlude Festival took place last October in the RHA Gallery and this year it’s back and expands to three days over five gallery rooms with an outdoor block party, outdoor courtyard and three stages, food garden, cinema & record store plus a craft beer bar and a cocktail bar. Interlude happens from Friday 24 – Sunday 26 June.
Lined up for the event is:
Dimitri from Paris
The Sugarhill Gang
Booka Brass Band
Donal Dineen A/V set
David Kitt DJ set
Nialler9 will be curating a stage on the Sunday which will include Cian O’Ciobhain, Bad Bones and more.
A limited number of early bird weekend tickets for the festival go on sale this Wednesday at 9am priced €49 plus booking fee from Ticketmaster.ie. General Weekend tickets priced €69 plus booking fee will go on sale this week from Ticketmaster.ie and outlets nationwide.
Ships are one of my favourite Irish bands of the last few years. They have released one of my favourite songs of the last few years and I always enjoy their live shows. While the band are taking their time in the release department and are busy with other things, Sorca McGrath has been working on a new music project of her own.
Wounded Healer is an attempt by McGrath to channel her own creativity through the music process, from writing the music to producing, to recording to mixing. More spacious and slower than Ships, the Wounded Healer EP comes out on This Greedy Pig’s label The Pig’s Ear. Watch Sorca and her friends perform the EP’s first track ‘Panic About Love’ in the National Concert Hall’s rehearsal space.
“The Wounded Healer moniker represents the rupture and repair we need to heal, learn and allow new things to emerge. Embracing words that both repel and attract me, it’s an effort to accept the light and shadow side of myself. I see so much polarising in the world around us, with such a concentration on making a villain of the ‘other’, so I want to embrace both sides to begin the process of understanding that we are all these things. These songs are about noticing these patterns and making changes from within.”
The idea is simple: DJs playing 7 of their favourite 7 inches all day.
I thought the day looked like fun so I asked him could we do the same in Dublin, except this time for a special cause. The Marriage referendum is taking place on May 22nd this year and I wanted to do something to raise money for Marriage Equality.
Having just got married myself, I think it’s unjust, unfair and indecent that two people can’t get married because of their gender/sexual orientation and the Marriage Referendum is our opportunity equalise that right for all Irish citizens.
So, Vinyl Love is a celebration of love and vinyl taking place two months before the vote on Sunday March 22nd on the rooftop of the Odessa Club. We’ll go all day from noon til the early hours of Monday morning.
There will be over 20 DJs and music lovers lining up to play 7 of their favourite 7 inches including:
Kelly-Anne Byrne (TXFM / Today FM) / Discotekken / Paul McLoone (Today FM/The Undertones) / Hidden Agenda / All City Records / Mother Club / Sally Cinnamon / Choice Cuts / Young Hearts Run Free / Nialler9 / Stevie G / Adultrock / Gib Cassidy (Elastic Witch & Girls Names) / Sweatbox / Una Mullally / le cool Dublin / State Magazine / Ships and more.
The results of your favourite Irish songs are in. It was a breakthrough year for a few Irish acts this year namely Hozier (duh), The Riptide Movement, EMBRZ and God Knows + MynameisJohn. Established acts or artists who have been around a while like James Vincent McMorrow, The Riptide Movement, Girl Band, SOAK, Cloud Castle Lake and Le Galaxie stepped it up.
The addition of ‘Cavalier’, ‘Red Dust’ and the ubiquitous ‘Take Me To Church’, which placed highly last year were a result of their mainstream success. You might have heard it online last year but the latter in particular was everywhere, becoming the most virally streamed track on Spotify of 2014 in the entire world.