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First Listen – A new anthology of Stano’s music highlights one of Ireland’s most experimental and versatile outsider artists

First Listen – A new anthology of Stano’s music highlights one of Ireland’s most experimental and versatile outsider artists


Stano is a name that runs through the eighties and nineties of Irish music, synonymous with sonic experimentalism and an eclectic output.

As interested in new forms as he is a versatile producer, Stano can turn his hand to punk, industrial, electronic, rock and in later years, drum and bass and beyond.

A new Anthology series on All City’s AllChival label is released this Friday (to coincide with the second Record Store Day drop of 2020) that spans five albums between 1982 to 1994’s Wreckage LP, the album, releasing on double vinyl and digital and with extensive liner notes, shines a light Stano’s early discography in a way that draws threads with all that came after it, and before it.

It is a project that started with the re-release of his debut 1983 album Content to Write in I Dine Weathercraft, on AllChival last year.

There’s a bewildering array of music and genre strains across the 18 tracks of Anthology.

You can hear the future strains of Girl Band on the Gary Numan-esque post-punk howls of ‘Emma Wild’ and the variation here includes the Kraftwerkian ‘Room’, the meandering synth arpeggios of ‘The Majestics Of Majesty’, the square coldwave of ‘Kissing Trees’, the ’80s Bowie style of ’80s Canary Car’, the shoegazey tones of ‘Brook’ and industrial big beat on ‘Bleeding Horse’. I love the electro marimba clash of ‘Chaplin’, which is like Yellow Magic Orchestra dialoguing with minimal wave.

Those references are useful but really, Stano was his own artist, an avant-garde innovator capable of turning his hand to whatever sound muse he was following internally.

Certainly, for younger listeners, who often dismiss the output of those who came before, Stano’s Anthology, like AllChival’s brilliant Quare Grooves compilation or Michael O’Shea reissue, recasts the past of Irish music in a significantly more eclectic light than is usually discussed, and in the process, highlights Stano as one of Ireland’s most experimental and versatile outsider artists.

Listen to the LP:

Stano says of the Anthology:

“When I’m recording an album I’m totally focused on it and when it’s finished I don’t really think about it anymore, my focus turns to the next one.

The anthology has encouraged me to look back at not just the body of work, 15 albums since 1982 but to those early days of being a young punk in Dublin, the freedom and excitement of the time. Searching out the old reviews and the posters of all the gigs here and in London and remembering the great musicians and performance artists I’ve shared a stage with.  Truly exciting times.

It’s been an amazing experience and a surprise to me that we could only fit 1982 – 94 on the double vinyl. I suppose I’ve underestimated the quantity of work I’ve produced over the years.  Now I’m really looking forward to Volume 2 which will include tracks from number 16 which is being cooked in the studio at the moment.”

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