Since some time in 2010 friends of mine in Galway city have been recording and putting on gigs in an underused underground carpark built during the “If you build it they will come” hubris of the Celtic Tiger era. Thankfully they never came and the space has been appropriated by a few teenage bush drinkers, furtive couplings, artists, musicians and feral cats. It’s dark, empty and huge so the reverb and atmosphere are unlike that of any regular venue and it costs us nothing to play there. There’s a great sense of freedom in playing there, it’s so much easier to get lost in the music in the dark without any jostling or curfews. There’s a much more evocative description by Zara Doody who is also working on some murals down there. Declan Kelly has documented much of the goings on there in pictures, video and audio on his Abandon Reaon Blog which became a radio series on the Curious Broadcast and is now a record label. The first release is called “I’m in the Abyss!” and it’s a compilation of Carpark recordings in the form of photographic prints with download codes and there’s an all day improv session there today to celebrate.
These are some incidental photos I took when we were recording there, for the performances go to Abandon Reaon.
Cars are rarely seen in this carpark.
Babbleon Cork Front Cover
In 2010 I did a residency in The Guesthouse in Shandon, Cork. I spent the best part of a month exploring Cork and making urban field recordings, having conversations with people and recording overheard conversations. After an intense editing/mixing process I finally released an audio collage EP called “Babbleon Cork” as a free download. Since the EP is an audio collage I made these collages of photos of Cork including many of the recording locations.
The jewel case from my copy of The Future Sound of London’s ‘Accelerator’ CD had a ridged light-refracting cover to create a multi image as the cover was tilted. It worked on the same principle as 3D rulers some of us used to have at school. Naturally I used it to take some photographs.
Dublin Bay had long been bedevilled by silt build-up which made it difficult for large ships to enter. Various attempts to tackle the problem were made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries including a survey by Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. The North Bull Wall was completed in 1825 and proved to be a permanent solution. This was good for the shipping business but also had the unexpected result of Bull Island forming from the build-up of sand on the north side of the wall. The island is still growing today and hosts a bird sanctuary, two golf clubs, an apparent cottaging spot and kite surfers along its 5KM beach. It remains one of my favourite places in Dublin and is just across the road from St Anne’s Park with it’s multitude of follies and terrains.
These views of and from the North Bull Wall were taken with a Kodak Advantix camera famed for it’s panorama option in the early 2000’s when I lived in Dublin 5. The film format only had a narrow window of time to catch on before the advent of digital and has been discontinued but I had fun with it, my scanner and portable mini-disc recorder – and uploading the fruits of these devices via dial-up. The orange filter effect comes from a pair of long-lost sunglasses purchased en route to Burning Man ’99 placed in front of the lens.
Our host Peter Delaney filmed this segment of my first gig with Suzanne without our string section. We were opening for the mighty Mossy Nolan in Ormston House where Suzanne was doing a writer’s residency last summer. This clips starts off with Suzanne improvising over a partially sketched-out guitar part which segues into our song ‘The Shivering’. Ailbhe has finished writing all the string arrangements but listening back I’ve started to hear double bass on some songs so I’ve borrowed one which I have to learn how to play or at least play on some of our songs on before we go back into the studio.