There is no doubt that Irish music is in a fruitful age at the moment. The country’s musicians are producing massive amounts of high-quality music. No longer is it left up to a troop of unimaginative troubadours to serenade us gently into our twilight years. The country is teeming with innovative musicians performing in all genres ambient instrumentals, cutting-edge electronica, DIY hip-hop, adrenalin-soaked rock, folk, lo-fi indie and guitar pop.
The last time this country was in a recession, we were missing something called the internet. Musicians, whether they have a full-time job or not, now have the advantage of a completely independent path. Computer music software has made it easier than ever to make music and modern music technology on the web makes it easier to share that music with potential fans. There are a huge amount of Irish artists sharing their music online for free using services like Bandcamp and getting the word out via bloggers. Here are some of the most recent artists gaining attention.
London-born and Irish-raised Michael Stafford aka Maverick Sabre is little known in this country but if you pay attention to guests ‘featuring’ in song titles you may have noticed him lining up with Professor Green on his new single Jungle. Malik possesses a soulful R&B rasp that is perfect for rap hooks. On his own though, Malik has just released the Traveling Man mixtape – 10 tracks of dubstep-infused urban grooves. It’s hugely impressive. This boy could be snapped up by a major fast.
Irish electronic music has thrived online with a few notable releases given away for free recently. Angkorwat is the solo project of Niamh Corcoran, a classically trained musician who seems to be revelling in her re-learning approach to music via electronics and software. Her bedroom pop is distinctively lo-fi and loopy but it’s not without its charm. She has just released the Early EP, an 8-track collection at available at angkorwatwat.bandcamp.com.
On the other side of the electronic spectrum, when not playing with The Redneck Manifesto, Neil O’Connor focuses on his long-standing ambient project Somadrone. O’Connor recently started an online label called Scintilla Recordings and the first release, a collaborative effort by Somadrone & Locus Solus called Music For Bathyscaphes which was recorded at the Institute of Electro Acoustic music in Stockholm is now freely available.
Elsewhere, free EPs are becoming strong downloadable currency. We Are Losers, the solo project of Super Extra Bonus Party’s Gavin Elsted uploaded a three-track EP of catchy fuzzy guitar pop which may surprise fans of his other band but is equally as engaging. Halloween may be over but Yeh Deadlies seasonal themed six track EP of DIY indie pop The Dead Living sounds good at any time of the year, while electro-pop trio Sleep Thieves have put their debut EP online in preparation for the release of their debut album early next year. Irish musicians and fans have never had it so good.