Here’s something I don’t come across to often in my new music travels.
El Grey are a Bray-based band who have just released an 18-minute “musical cosmos” that features no pre or post-production. ‘My names A, your names Zed (el-F#)’ is a live recorded track in the vein of contemporary cinematic piano ambience. It’s a song that wonderfully meanders for its duration, that never leaves consciousness but pushes and pulls at it.
El Grey suggest the song is good for meditation, stress relief, yoga, zone out music – basically, it works as a soundtrack to your life, which could be working at a computer too.
The song is made by El Grey (vocals, music, lyrics) with Al Kelly (chanting, piano, sound) and Chris Topher (effects and synths)
The song was posted to Youtube with the following message:
I’ve always been a thinker. And after this recording ‘happened’, I couldn’t stop thinking for many days.. I still have more and more thoughts coming my way.. About life, about music, about finding your style, about finding your place on Earth.. It’s a bit of a read but, if you’re interested to know a little more, feel free to read on… xox
This track is very different from what you normally hear…. except it feels like home to me. it’s my 18-min musical cosmos. It’s just the vocals (incl. live looping), piano & male chanting by Al Kelly and various sound effects Chris Topher.. – all recorded live, one take only. ..
I was lost for words when I first heard it back. Then I couldn’t stop listening. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. .. Then I cried.
It isn’t a song. ..It’s a piece of music. ..It’s a piece of me. For the first time I am recorded there live, just as I am, as a human and as a musician/vocalist, very naked, vulnerable, showing how I wander in music naturally, how I levitate, how I become music… another sonic dimension of myself…
The piece is far from perfect but this is what I love about it. It was in no way pre-produced… It follows no conservative rules, no formats, no usual expectations of the masses.. It lets go of everything. It’s about following your heart. That’s why I think it’s so precious to me. It’s natural. It’s about freedom. You start somewhere and then you let yourself immerse in the sound, you’re taken somewhere… You don’t know where you will end up. That’s why it’s so real. It’s about the flow. … I feel this is the first recording I truly lose myself into. I also think the recording actually enables the listener to walk with me.. through the soundscape. For the first time.
That’s how I have been all my life. How I am before I even start to think what format I/my music should be. It’s just the first time it’s been recorded in its natural, organic form-less form.
It’s who I am musically…
I would recommend listening to the track with headphones on. So I sing straight into your ears. So the air isn’t between you and me. So we are as close as possible. In the middle of the night. Eyes closed. Just like a soundbath… In that way, I truly believe we can walk together.. You’ll be in my world of sound.
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.