Note Productions last night launched a new space for music entitled The Fold which take place over the next few months in St Audeon’s Church. The events enlist a series of musicians known for their ability to work in a variety of contexts, this time focusing on improvisation. The first session comprised of Séan Óg, Fergus Cullen, Gavin Duffy & Karl Him and Iarla Ó Lionáird. Ó Lionáird was unfortunately unable to participate due to tonsillitis but was replaced by fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.
Musician, composer and producer Séan Óg opened the evening with a half hour performance of one work which he outlined briefly before starting (approx. half hour – I didn’t have a watch but it felt about a half hour and too short at that). He took his starting point as a 15th century hymn which worked perfectly in the 15th Century nave of St Audeon’s and wound his way forward through music history ending on a lullaby of his own composition. He varied the performance with recordings, looped sections and various saxophone techniques to produce a work which kept the listener engaged for the full half hour.
The performance by Cullen, Duffy and Karl Him was an exercise in feedback and electrical hum which made the most of the underground feel to St Audeon’s. There were many concepts hinted at and tested during the work but none developed to a convincing level. With a bit more time to work through all the different elements (feedback, the use of unusual instruments such as a recorder with electric guitars, bowing the strings, vocal repetition & distortion) it could be possible to chose a few to focus on a develop. It felt a bit like a basement rehearsal and I personally found the sheer volume of the three electric guitars working towards deafening.
Stepping in for Iarla Ó Lionáird at the last moment the multi-faceted Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh three works; one a variation on a West Kerry tune and two of his own devices. Ó Raghallaigh’s music gently insinuates itself into your subconcious and rests there urging you to relax and give yourself over to the music. His diversity is aptly reflected in the diversity of the three instruments; the rich basses of his custom-made 5 string viola and the sweetness of the fiddle offset by the layered sounds of the hardanger fiddle. Séan Óg used nailed Ó Raghallaigh’s performance in one when he stated “I feel nourished after that.”
The evening itself was a success although it seemed there were two tested concepts which have been aired in public a number of times previously acting as bookends to a work which needs more development. The initiative is a collaboration of 9. records, The Joinery, The Bottlenote Collective and Note Productions and future performance dates can be found here along with recordings of each performance.