Monday, April 22, 2013

video - Sean Mac Erlaine & Donal Dineen

A few weeks back, musician/composer Sean Mac Erlaine and DJ/broadcaster Donal Dineen held a collaborative gig in Galway's Nuns Island Theatre. A 'circular dialogue' between Mac Erlaine's improvised woodwind and electronics and Dineen's similarly experimental visuals, it was an absorbing and immersive performance from a duo who have built up an obvious rapport.

Nuns Island is a small, unfortunately under-utilised venue (Ten Past Seven & Laura Sheeran being the last gig I can recall attending in there) that lends itself to an attentive, music-as-art-as-opposed-to-drinking-soundtrack environment. On the night, there was an informal vibe to proceedings, with Dineen and Mac Erlaine alternating between their engaging soundscapes and visuals on the one hand, and periods of discussion/informal chat on the other (with audience questions encouraged). Dineen explained this all-round approach as (roughly paraphrasing here) a way of presenting a radio-type format within a new context. It was interesting to hear the duo hold forth on a range of topics, explaining the significance of their recent Sligo show - as the nearby scenery had inspired much of Mac Erlaine's most recent album Long After The Music Is Gone.

Mac Erlaine's clarinet playing was spare and measured, expressive at times but at other times stepping back to allow burbling electronics and hypnotic music-box motifs set the mood. One piece had a subaquatic feel, textural waves lapping back and forth. Mac Erlaine would later discuss his predilection for improv, but the natural, intuitive tone of his compositions would have spoken for him regardless.

The video above isn't taken from the Galway show, but from a set in and around the same time period, in Dublin's Smock Alley Theatre; 'Recorded March 17th for Saint Patrick's Festival 2013'.

Sean Mac Erlaine's Long After The Music Is Gone was released last year and is recommended.

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