This is a record.
Well, not just any record. It happens to be the test pressing for Ensemble Ériu / Ensemble Music’s new record “Imbas”, which is out this Friday. But more importantly, it is a record.
To state the obvious, we started a record label because I love music. But more specifically, I love listening to great music in full albums, from start to finish, without doing anything else – preferably on vinyl.
It’s a ritual, it’s an ACTUAL experience, and we don’t do enough of it these days. In an internet age where everything is available immediately, much of which is ephemeral, it’s hard to find the time to actually sit down and LISTEN to music. When we stick a playlist on via Spotify in the background while we do some work (or whatever), we’re HEARING it but we’re not really listening.
And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. The more we all listen to music the better, and services like Spotify make it way easier to discover new music – though ideally they would pay artists more. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also take the time to actually sit down and listen.
People still go to the cinema and the theatre, they read books, play video games, etc. etc. – all of which are done (mostly) with our complete, undivided attention. Music is just as valid, rich, and rewarding an art form as any of these, and yet we don’t give it the time and attention it deserves.
So, that’s why we not only started a label, but one that releases music on vinyl – even though it makes almost no financial or rational sense whatsoever. It’s a format that almost forces you to give it your undivided attention. Playing a record on vinyl is almost like an event in itself. It requires effort. And it’s hugely rewarding as a result, especially when the music is incredible.
With that in mind, at 5.30pm today we’re holding a “listening party” for Ensemble Ériu’s “Imbas” in our good friend Emmet / HomeBeat’s lovely Thirty Four cafe on Lennox Street in Portobello. It’ll be quite small and informal, but all are welcome and it’s completely free in. We hope to do the same for Loah’s first record which will be out later this year, and we’d encourage other labels, collectives, etc. to follow suit too :-]
The wonderful music blog Fractured Air have also just premiered the album in full, and you can listen to it here!
Some of you may not have heard of Fractured Air (though hopefully most of you have!), but it is an absolute gem of a music blog that just cares about exceptional music and nothing else, and dedicates itself to really exploring the music and musicians it covers. Kudos to the Carry brothers in Cork, it’s longform music writing at its best, and we’re extremely proud to be partnering with them once again to introduce this record to the world in full, after having done the same for our dear friend Conor Walsh’s EP back in October.
The record comes out on Friday, and in our humble opinion Ensemble Ériu and this album are the next step in the evolution of Irish traditional music – sounding like a cross between The Gloaming, <a href="http://www.stevereich.com/" target="_blank" data-hovercard="/ajax/hovercard/page .php?id=117345248313831&extragetparams=%7B%22directed_target_id%22%3A0%7D”>Steve Reich, and Tortoise. But have a listen and see for yourself sure.
On a more sombre note, this record has been the saving grace in what has been a very difficult and traumatic year for Ensemble and the music community in general, after our dear artist and friend Conor Walsh passed away suddenly in March. After he died and once we started trying to get back to normality, this record was the first thing that cheered us up. And as difficult as his passing was, it somehow spurred us on to do even more for our other artists. This record is the first result of that, and I’m incredibly proud to be a small part of it.
Anyway, I could go on, but that’s probably enough to say about it for now. If you like what you hear of the album, or just feel like supporting these incredible artists and our little corner of organised chaos that is Ensemble Music, do pop along later, or buy the album, or come along to one of the launch gigs this weekend [which are listed below].
But more importantly, just listen to a great record from start to finish, without doing anything else. You won’t regret it. Nice one.
Ensemble Ériu :: “Imbas” Launch gigs
Thursday :: Galway :: Ensemble Ériu present “Imbas” :: The Crane Bar, Galway
Friday :: Dublin :: Ensemble Ériu :: “Imbas” Album Launch :: The Sugar Club
Saturday :: Cork :: Ensemble Ériu & Claire O’Brien – Cork Midsummer Festival :: TDC Corcadorca, Triskel Arts Centre
June 20, 2016