New year. I’ve been doing this monthly review for one year now. I will continue.

What I read

  • Some illness in the early month, plus being in the middle of several big books at the same time, meant I didn’t properly finish any books this month.

What I watched

  • Scavengers Reign. A cartoon about folks stranded on an alien planet. The thing that people like to mention about this show is how intricate and “alien” the ecosystems and flora and fauna are, and how it really feels like another world rather than a palette-swapped version of our world. I agree, that part is very interesting. But more than anything I loved the story.

What I listened to

  • Many friends of mine have received spam messages from me this month, sharing links to videos and recordings of Cocanha, a group connected to the great Pagans Record Label based in Pau, France. This performance is lovely, and you can really see how they play the tambourin à cordes. All their recordings are excellent, but Puput is the record I keep listening to.
  • Trá Pháidín’s new album An 424 is another current obsession. This was the first track I heard and I think it’s a good entry point for the band. They opened for John Francis Flynn at Vicar Street earlier this month and played a fantastic set.
  • I’m back on an Egisto Macchi kick, as well as some other library music recordings, but right now it’s Il Deserto that I’m listening to over and over again. My bud Niall puts it best: “every sound is exactly what’s called for at the right time and place”. For each of these pieces, Macchi was so so sensitive to what the music itself called for in its own development. I aspire to that level of awareness and thoughtfulness in the music I make.
  • I’ve also been digging into some of the archival live releases on Steve Roden’s bandcamp page. This one is just astounding. Imagine the patience.

What I did

  • Lots of work on this website:
    • I compiled this big list of every performance I can remember doing. It is amazing both how much I had forgotten, and also how much I can remember once a few details are provided (such as looking at old calendars, old show posters, old photos).
    • The navigation is a bit cleaned up.
  • I played a show with Whozyerman?, my first with this project, at The Button Factory i mBaile Átha Cliath.
  • I saw John Francis Flynn perform at Vicar Street. This show was incredible–his band is so good.
  • I performed with the UCD Composers Ensemble at UCD. In addition to a number of works made by the students, me and two students performed a piece of mine, a guitar duo with voice called “Water! Water!”.

What I made

  • I started a project of making and writing about field recordings. You can find them in the blog or by clicking here.
  • I made a piece of music for a compilation submission (we’ll see how that goes…). It is my first time recording with the uilleann pipes, which was a bit nerve-wracking. And exhausting.