All the artwork for Always Summer Somewhere comes from a single morning on Blackrock beach in south Dublin spent walking about using an old digital tape camcorder borrowed from my brother to take stills. I found a way to glitch the images by taking stills while fast-forwarding. This era of lo-res, blocky video didn’t last as long as VHS nor does it seem to be as valued for the aesthetic arising from its technical limitations. Indeed I had given up on these images myself because they were so ‘bad’ but saw them with fresh eyes while searching the archives for ideas for the new album art.
On the morning in question I had, as usual, been up at dawn to hand out flyers for Blackrock market to commuters crawling along on the dual carriageway. This was a joy compared to the 12-hour shift at the northside call centre which lay ahead. I was never going to waste those mornings between jobs when I could carve out creative time or at least some sunshine – on a good morning I could get both.
The images I actually used for the album became collages which you can see in a previous post from around the time the album came out.
The first time I met Dave we recorded the self-titled Amygdala album with Fergus Cullen and Paul Roe. Dave named the band, having recently read an article about the brain. I’d never heard of the Amygdala before but it made sense that the brain’s flight/fight centre would be engaged when improvising. The ‘studio’ was a decrepit shed at the back of my then garden. It was dark and dank but Dave loved it because the steel-sheet percussion dangling from the rafters had him imagining Faust appearing in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Self-described ‘horror freaks’ Dave and his twin Anto did a live soundtrack to TCM with E+S=B around this time. Dave was unfazed by the absence of anything resembling a drumkit, scraped some scraps together we just started playing. He told us upfront that he’d have to leave during the recording and it seems fitting now that we just kept playing. As you can hear, it wasn’t the same without him.
That album got us a slot at an actual funded improv festival in Leeds (Thanks Termite Club). We stayed in a suburb with a stand-offish doctor who may well have hated our set but Dave was just his charming self, looking for common ground in warped English comedies like the League Of Gentlemen. I’ve slept on plenty of floors with plenty of bands but Dave was the only one to describe my snoring as a “symphony of sickness” Dave could say what he liked because he was as kind as he was funny. His only annoying habit was being a bit too humble a bit too often. For someone who “got signed in the ’90’s” etc. he wasn’t jaded and was always grateful to play in whichever pokey upstairs we were in.
Dave Carroll & Fergus Cullen, another Amygdala session. Taken from my vantage point as Dave and I wound each other up, grimgrinning with the aul Macca double thumbs up.
I wasn’t around for the first wave of The Wormholes which is documented by the ever-embedded Stephen Rennicks over on Abstract Analogue. But I did get to see what a shot in the arm Fergus Cullen was for Dave and Anto as they morphed into E+S=B (European Sensoria Band) together. I think their first gig was in Mother Redcaps in the early daze when they all wore dust masks on stage. They would go on to play more freely but here’s Dave with total faith in the krautpopbliss groove – Less Is All You Need.
We released Inhale The Sound as a CDR on Deserted Village. It might have been the first E+S=B album. It was recorded live in Lazybird and the kitchen in Ringsend with the kettle in reach of the drumkit. Dave & Anto were always fiends for a brew. When Roadrunner asked the The Wormholes what kind of merch they wanted, they asked for….. a Wormhole-themed tea set. I remember Dave telling me how they just jammed away, pressing record on the minidisc whenever it got good – it got good and then got better and better. Their 2005 collab with Damo Suzuki is still the best I’ve seen.
Dave, drumming with Amygdala in Lazybird, 2003
Musicians (especially improvising musicians) tend to spend concentrated bursts of time together then see eachother intermittently over the years which was how I knew Dave and many of the people who showed up to see the Wormholes play in Bello Bar last month. Dave had been rehearsing with them until he was too sick. There was no way he’d let Anto and Graham cancel the gig so Jamie Davis from Zeropunkt filled in at the last minute. RIP to one of the all-time realest and soundest ever to step on a stage.
I am eternally grateful to Pauline Oliveros. I’ll never forget the Deep Listening workshop we did with her in 2005. I’ve turned to those techniques from the workshop and her book many times since as a player and listener. One of the exercises involved the group singing in a circle with our right hands on our hearts and our left on the next person’s back directly behind their heart. Eventually I found myself standing beside Pauline and I’ve never felt anything like the literal, physical warmth glowing from her heart into my hand.
I just sent this to firstname.lastname@example.org:
I am writing to object in the strongest possible terms to Katie Hopkins’ upcoming appearance on the Late Late Show. RTÉ extracts a licence fee which provides both a financial buffer against having to race to the bottom and a civic obligation not to do so.
Hopkins incites hatred, against some of the most vulnerable people in society and those whose societies have been torn apart. I do not need to enumerate her many disgusting statements (referring to refugees as “cockroaches” etc.) because they are the very reason she has come to the attention of RTÉ and the Late Late Show researchers. Having Hopkins as a guest is utterly cynical. Everyone involved knows that she will provide no insight on any important issue. If I am wrong in my assertion please explain and I will publish the response on my blog.
I object, not because I am personally offended, but because she is not a serious journalist. She is paid to express offensive opinions and therefore has no incentive to even believe what she writes. As an opinion columnist she doesn’t seem to be obliged to do research to back up her statements. She stirs the basest of emotions: fear, anger and resentment and we are currently seeing where this leads in the USA.
The only thing setting her apart from faceless Twitter trolls is her platform on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. The Sun incited hatred against Irish people when we were the terrorists du jour so I hope RTÉ can find other justifications for her inclusion.
I challenge Late Late producers and researchers to show the Irish people evidence of research or journalistic diligence in any of her writing. I am not seeking to hamper free speech but ask that the she be held to the same standards as other public figures discussing some of the most serious issues of our time. Her claims that refugees are ‘cockroaches’ and that “Gypsies are ferrel humans” are, by their nature, unprovable and therefore outside the realm of constructive discussion in the realm of hate speech.
There has been much talk of ‘balance’ on RTÉ in recent years. Please tell us the name of the guest who will be providing balance to Ms Hopkins tomorrow night. I could suggest an ISIS supporter who thinks all non-Muslims to be vermin – this opinion is just as valid as Hopkins’ appraisal of those fleeing ISIS. RTÉ could invite someone who has done research into the complex topic of the refugee crisis (an Amnesty International member perhaps) but your colleagues may not wish to bore their audience.
I think your audience deserve better. RTÉ owe the public an explanation and illumination as to what this guest can contribute. What merit in her writing did Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (UN high commissioner for human rights) miss when condemning her denigration of refugees?
The people of Ireland are also entitled to know how much Hopkins is being paid for her appearance.
Much of the source material for this album began last year with a trawl through folders of unreleased music much of which ended up on Soundcloud. Of course most of the tracks were not deemed worthy of release. However I read long ago that world’s best brandies are made from undrinkable wines so I started putting tracks through the wonderful, free Paul Stretch software which, having come late to, was obsessed with for a while. So it seemed fitting to dig into my vault of previously unseen images for the artwork; front cover and an image for each of the nine tracks. Many of the dud tracks were poorly recorded on mini disc, 4 track and good ol’ Microsoft Sound Recorder so it seemed apt to use images from an obsolete digital tape camcorder from the turn of the millennium. Paul Stretch didn’t instantly change the unworthy tracks to gold, there was a lot of layering, editing, re-sampling and overdubbing. Similarly most of the images are collages. I remember having a lot of fun with the (digital, not optical) zoom, fast forwarding and taking stills between frames all of which revealed the large chunky pixels one doesn’t find in the HD cameras many of us carry in our pockets these days. I thought of this set of images because I could hear a sea theme emerging in the album. All these pictures were taken on one sunny winter morning on Blackrock beach. These days I tend towards closeups but there’s a lot of landscape in these images including the iconic Poolbeg chimneys.
On The Nature Of Waves
Always Summer Somewhere
New Clear Summer
Life On ASMR