Sunday Selection: The introspective world of Áine O’Dwyer

The first musical selection of 2015 should go to the amazing work of irish pipe organist & multiinstrumentalist Áine O’Dwyer, whose “music for church cleaners” was a revelation to me last year, when a friend told me about it, although released already in 2011 on tape.

Now there will be a deluxe vinyl version of this masterpiece, out januar 19th, expandet with a second part and with new artwork out via mie records

mie records cover church cleaners mie 28

“Over the course of several months, Áine O’Dwyer was given access to the pipe organ in St Mark’s Church, Islington while the cleaners were at work. Primarily a harpist, this was a rare opportunity to grapple with the “king of instruments” and apply her sense of melodic, structured improvisation in a very different context.

Since it’s impossible to exert complete control over such a recording environment, she entered into the sessions with a Cagean mindset, embracing the extra-musical sounds.This gave the recordings a unique character and concept. With the door left open to serendipity, it can seem that the sonic environment coalesces in sympathetic harmony. Here, the synth-like whoosh of the vacuum cleaner, a child’s laughter, various echoed clatters and chatter become part of the music(…)

This first track posted here, is a track of the 4-track CD release “Anything bright or startling?” out via second language, Áine singing for the first time. Buy the CD with unique artwork here:

“Effectively the follow-up to her 2011 album of improvised organ etudes, Music for Church Cleaners (‘…stately and meditative… Gorgeous.” said The Wire), the vivid, aptly titled Anything bright or startling? is Áine’s first album with vocals, although it was initially conceived as a largely instrumental work. Áine’s mesmeric, crystalline, often acrobatic voice and dreamlike, ineffably poetic lyrics nonetheless punctuate the album’s four lengthy, serpentine song suites, only deepening the immersive, enrapturing effect of her dexterous harp playing and textural touches of piano, organ, glockenspiel, tin whistle and cello (the latter courtesy of American Aaron Martin).

With its glinting, bucolic air, offset by detours into shadowy introspection, and rolling, freeform architecture, the album pitches up closer to Nico at her most reflective (The Marble Index might be a partial signpost, as might the transcendent tenor of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks) than anything stereotypically ‘folk’ or Celtic in nature. The song suites unwind with an idiosyncratic, at times rhapsodic immediacy, as if being discovered for the first time in the process of recording, although, in fact, passages of spontaneity and improvisation are just elements of what is often meticulously through-composed music” (..)

And this track is one of my favourite and comes as a bonus of the Anything bright or startling? release, I bought via bandcamp: “Safely Adrift” a meditation in 18 minutes. Hopefully there will be a vinyl release in the future, like for the “Church cleaner”. It is intended as she wrote me in an email, when buying the track.

And at last, the “Meditations on a World Ending” seem to be the dark apocalyptic version of it – and a comment on these days shape of the world.

Mesmerizing music!


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