Category Archives: Music

Congratulations to my Dad for 40 Years of The Greenscene Radio Show!

A big congratulations to my father Eddie Caffrey on his 40th year of broadcasting his Greenscene radio show on LMFM! He was presented with an award last night at the TLT Theatre in Drogheda by LMFM CEO, Michael Crawley.

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Eddie Caffrey presented with a very special award for the 40th year of the much loved Greenscene Show. Pictured with the CEO of LMFM, Michael Crawley.

My Dad has been involved in local radio his whole adult life, and is still presenting The Drive Monday-Fridays and The Greenscene on Saturday mornings on LMFM. I also remember the days when Dad hosted the popular Breakfast Show.

The Greenscene show started in 1978 on Radio Dundalk when Gavin Duffy (Gavin was breakfast show presenter) wanted to air a program on Saturday mornings dedicated to Irish music for bands of the time such as Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats etc.
Later that year Boyneside Radio opened in Drogheda and Eddie and Gavin joined it at Donaghy’s Mill.

In 1979 Boyneside Radio decided to revive the idea and ‘borrowed’ the name “The Greenscene” from a Manx Radio show in the Isle of Man which played new releases of Irish music every Wednesday afternoon. It was decided to play a mix of ballads such as the Wolftones and the Dubliners with céilí country and old time songs. Ken Murray was the first presenter and Eddie Caffrey produced the show until Ken moved to even ‘greener’ pastures in 1982.

Eddie continues to present it to this very day and it remains ‘The North Easts Favourite Radio Show’!

I couldn’t be prouder of my Dad.

Listen on line lmfm.ie or between 95.5 and 96.5fm.

Love, Revenge, Fancy Shirts and High-Speed Ship Chases: Kern “The Left & The Leaving” Album Launch in the DC Music Club, Dublin, 17/10/19

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Kern 2019 photographed by John Wilde. Source: Kern on Facebook.

On Friday night, traditional-folk group Kern launched their second album The Left & The Leaving. Their debut album, False Deceiver was critically acclaimed when released in 2016 (see Tradconnect.com, Irish Music magazine, The Irish Echo, thebestofmusicandfilm.com and others) and Kern spent the better part of the next three years gigging their socks off. They’ve played many stages in Ireland and Europe: the Spirit Store in Dundalk, Temple Bar Tradfest, both recent Fleadh Cheoils in Drogheda, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Whelan’s, The Cobblestone, Vantastival, Culture Connections, Dingle, Germany to name but a few. Not only this but they kept their finger on the recording studio in the interim and released a “winter mix” of the single Short Term Thing and Till The Docklands Drown. I’ve attended a bunch of their Dublin/Louth gigs and have always been impressed by their thrilling live performances. Also, their sound translates excellently from studio to stage and back again. As a music producer, sound engineer and follower, I find both arenas equally enjoyable to listen to Kern in.

The Left & The Leaving was produced by Trevor Hutchinson, the founder member of Lúnasa. Mr Hutchinson also produced False Deceiver and performed double bass on both albums. The album artwork is a beautiful painting by Louth artist and illustrator Caoimhe McCarthy and inside there’s a handsome photograph of the band with their respective instruments, taken by Meath photographer, John Wilde. In keeping with False Deceiver, the comprehensive and interesting inner sleeve-notes are attractively presented.

Young Louth traditional-folk group Alfi opened for Kern in the DC Music Club, Dublin. The trio consists of Fiachra Meek (uilleann pipes/vocal/low whistle), Alannah Thornburgh (harp/vocal) and Ryan McAuley (banjo/vocal). They played a charming set from their debut EP Wolves in the Woods which combines American old-time and traditional Irish music. They displayed fine musicianship with stellar performances on each instrument respectively, a fantastic vocal blend- particularly the male harmony on The Drink Song, well-researched notes on their tune and song sources and engaging banter between tunes. I worked with Fiachra during the final year of my undergraduate degree, pestering him to join me in the studio as I tried out various microphones and combinations on his uilleann pipes, quizzing him on how to the pipes make sound and dropping in on pre-production sessions with his then-band Na Tonnta, for our 3-track studio production. The last time I saw him was at a post-studio session dinner in the student apartment block, where he and a fellow band member tried to open a coconut with the tiniest hammer you ever saw. One hour, a scratched floor and a marvellous vegetarian curry later, the band collapsed in hearty laughs and I actually can’t remember if they did crack that coconut or not. Fiachra carries forward his witty humour into Alfi and I’m very interested to follow this promising young band’s career.

Following Alfi, Kern arrived onstage to a rapturous applause with very special guest- Mr Dónal Lunny. Dónal launched The Left and The Leaving with light-hearted commentary and much praise, citing his favourite as Drowsyman’s Hornpipe/Martin Young’s Polka. SJ McArdle (guitar/vocal), Brendan McCreanor (uilleann pipes/low whistle/vocal) and Barry Kieran (fiddle) along with Mr Lunny (bouzouki) played a joyous set of tunes. Off the bat, the amount of practice and thought that went into the set was obvious- tight performance, intricate and unexpected pauses, superb energy and purest passion and joy. The four beamed at each other constantly throughout.

Kern continued their set after Dónal took a polite bow and settled into the audience for a deserved drink. It was immediately apparent that the fans Kern worked so hard to attract would not be disappointed with their new material. Their new songs clearly excellently crafted, sounded like a perfect continuation from those on False Deceiver: Powerful, energetic strumming and expert dexterous fingerpicking from SJ which at times was so gentle, he hardly seemed to be touching his guitar strings at all, yet each note rang through clear as a bell. More husky vocals telling stories of Irish days past, joked by SJ as mostly having maritime themes. Despite the giddy laughter concerning extra-fancy shirts that magically blag you communion faster in Mass, tales of high-speed ship chases and what not, SJ sings beautiful songs of a serious nature- Irish emigration, the Famine, the wars and hard-working class Irish heroes. Kern’s way of combining Irish tunes into their songs is certainly distinctive and works very well. Brendan and Barry each weave gorgeous melodies around SJ’s vocal, adding an extra layer of emotional essence. If you’re too enthralled by the music to listen to the lyrics, you’ll not be in left in the dark of the subject matter. Barry’s light-handed vibrato will tug at your heartstrings while Brendan’s lilting chanter can convey a graceful joy.

Kern’s new tunes are equally impressive. Clearly innovators who have a deep respect for the tradition and players, the lads unleashed new compositions of their own. Barry’s Somers March/Daragh Patrick’s is quite frankly a masterpiece. I was blown away. His march, named after the group’s stay in Germany, is delicate and sweet while the jig, named after his godson, is a bundle of joy. Both tunes, separately or combined could easily feature in a movie soundtrack, they’re that cinematic. Brendan’s Martin Young’s polka, part of the Drowsyman’s Hornpipe/Martin Young’s Polka set is such a cheerful tune and instant toe tapper also. Brendan dedicated the tune to the memory of fellow piper Martin Young. Staying within the locality, Bonny Light Horseman, heralded as “Drogheda’s National Anthem” roused a chorus of voices, filling the venue. And speaking of innovation within the tradition, I couldn’t help but be impressed by Kern’s magnificent stops and starts within Russian Reels and The New Jigs. Tasteful, dramatic and intelligent, the lads kept the audience on their toes.

All in all, the old Louth tunes and songs, and the new regional-inspired material are clearly safe in the hands of Kern. The album launch was a visible and audible success and several early listens of The Left & The Leaving indicate that this album too will be a staple in my playlist of Louth coastal beach walks.

Hup the lads! Well done and many congrats to you! Onwards to this new season in Kern’s career, we can only listen in delight.

Kern’s newly launched official website: https://kernmusic.com/

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kernband/

Purchase The Left &The Leaving on iTunes: https://music.apple.com/ie/album/the-left-and-the-leaving/1482957996

Alfi Bandcamp: https://alfi.bandcamp.com/

 

The Ace & Deuce of Piping Concert at Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin, Saturday 28th September

I am very honoured to be working at Na Píobairí Uilleann’s flagship event of the year this weekend!

Na Píobairí Uilleann presents The Ace & Deuce of Piping Concert – an evening of traditional Irish music, song and dance at Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin.

Saturday 28th September at Liberty Hall Theatre, 8pm

Tickets on sale at

Online: http://aceanddeuce.eventbrite.ie/

Or Phone: 01 873 0093

€25 (Concessions €20)

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Sharon Corr Live at the O’Reilly Theatre 14th of March, 2019

As this blog title suggests, Sharon Corr (fiddle and keyboard player, songwriter and backing vocalist of Dundalk’s pride and joy, The Corrs) played a one-off Irish date in the O’Reilly theatre Dublin, as part of her co-headline mini tour with singer-songwriter Vonda Shepard.

I’m a Hard-Corr fan since the 90s so there was no way I was going to miss this show despite not knowing anything about Vonda Shepard, apart from the fact that she’s married to one of The Corrs’ producers Mitchell Froom. Froom produced their 1999 live MTV Unplugged album and their 2004 album Home. Home famously signalled the 10 year hiatus of The Corrs but left their audience with the assurance that Irish music was at the centre of their hearts, with its beautiful recordings of Irish songs selected from their late mother’s songbook. Froom went on to produce Sharon’s second solo album The Same Sun, released in 2013.

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Vonda Shepard stepped onto the stage in Dublin with Sharon Corr to an uproarius applause. Backed by Vonda’s long-term backing band of notable American musicians (her guitarist James Ralston was also Tina Turner’s axe-man of choice), the duet pumped out an upbeat number, followed by a giddy and almost school-girl like explanation of how their unlikely friendship came to be. It was clear to all that the two were musical besties and Vonda’s extroverted big laugh filled the room and put everyone at ease. Sharon gracefully left the stage and let Vonda warm us up- a tough job considering she was playing to a Corr majority audience on home turf- the guy next me was wearing a rare 1999 In Blue album t-shirt! I thought she did a remarkable job and her talent left the room spellbound. Her soaring voice and dexterous piano skills were a joy to behold.

Sharon rejoined her onstage after a short interval, and soon after, started her own set. Opening with (my personal favourite) from The Same Sun “We Could Be Lovers”, the palm-muted clean electric guitar riff reminding us that Sharon is not a one trick Irish pony and loves to rock out. Her sultry voice rang clear in the quiet verses and soared through the dynamic chorus, perfectly executed by Corrs’ long-term FOH sound engineer Max Bisgrove. When the crowd settled, Sharon gave vivid context of her next song “The Same Sun” and explained how it came to be. It was lovely to hear such anecdotes, it’s something you just don’t get if you buy the album 3 years after its release (guilty as charged!). She continued her opening set with another track from the album “Take A Minute”.

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Sharon Corr live at the O’Reilly Theatre, own photo used.

Returning to her roots, “Cooley’s Reel” (recorded for her first solo album Dream of You 2009) snapped us out of our content dreamy reviere. Vonda’s backing band simply kicked butt backing up Sharon, watching her intently for cues. They looked like they were seriously enjoying themselves and her drummer looked particularly enthused, reminding me of the passion and groove of Irish drummer Jason Duffy.

With excitement running high, Sharon brought us back to The Same Sun with the lushious “Upon an Ocean”, followed by Seán Ó Riada’s “Mná na hEireann” (masterfully recorded for her first album with a raptorous guitar solo by Jeff Beck). I have to say the live version was exquisite, Sharon simply wowed us with her grace and emotion expressed through her violin.

Vonda returned to the stage and the two ripped through a bundle of covers “Woodstock” (Joni Mitchell), “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac, though famously covered by The Corrs), “Weather With You” (Crowded House) and “Son of a Preacher Man” (Dusty Springfield). Sharon shared the stage with Vonda for Corrs’ numbers “Radio” (written by Sharon), their version sounding a lot closer to the Unplugged acoustic version rather than the electronic-y poppier In Blue cut. I personally found their version to be particularly special. The acoustic guitar is just so good and I was glad to see James Ralston stay true to it. “Full Circle” and “So Young” closed her set, and the audience politely rose from their seats for a little dance and clap- The Corrs always had a super polite audience and everyone in the O’Reilly theatre was careful not to obscure the view of the person behind them, how nice is that?!

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Sharon Corr and Vonda Shepard live at the O’Reilly Theatre, own photo used.

Sharon gave us an insight into her own personality and voice as a songwriter, one that tends to shy away from the Corrs mic. While I always prefer The Corrs united and rate Sharon’s first album higher than her second, I feel I understand her artistry a little better now. She’s clearly a modern woman with opinions, views and feelings and isn’t afraid to share them through her music and you can’t disrespect that. It was lovely to see her enjoying herself and she clearly gravitated towards Vonda’s witty banter and wide smile- the unlikely pair made for a heartwarming friendship and reminded me that friendships made through music are simply the best ones.

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Sharon Corr, Vonda Shepard and band live at the O’Reilly Theatre, own photo used.

Good luck recording your third album Sharon! Hopefully see you with The Corrs soon.

 

 

 

Gratefulness 2018

Feeling entirely grateful for the 2nd half of 2018 which was much better than the first!

I’m super grateful for the live sound gigs I got this year (especially with The Piper’s Club who are most kind to me and have invested so much faith in me. With them I’ve really gotten the chance to be a sound engineer and learn about the job.) I’m not the most technically minded person and my nerves still get me, but I am a visionary and an extremely hard worker.


Without these gigs, I’d more than likely have chucked it all in by now- some people are utterly false and have no problem making me feel small in a crowded room. It’s entirely hard for me not to allow myself to feel that way.

It’s very easy to stay put in my music room and live in my bitter circle of loneliness and intermittent creativity. I felt so useless, alone and pointless. I despaired. Often. I literally needed someone to say “We want you to do this!”, and even though I brick it, it always goes well and people shower me with praise.

The gigs mean so much to me.

I’m grateful for the friends who reach out to me and check in on me and make me laugh. I’m grateful for the new friendly faces too. Thank you for being there.

And thank you to the false ones for f*cking off, out of my face.

And most of all thanks to my fiance for understanding me and still loving me. Thanks to my family for financial support this year (my worst year for money since 2008). I’m doing my best to kick anxieties in the arse, I’m starting to think my overthinking is utterly stupid and needless.

I’m grateful for my good health and my friends + families good health, the roof over my head, good food to eat, enough cash flowing to see me comfortable, my kitties and my freedom.

May 2019 be a fantastic year for you all. Thanks.

Thanks Rachel for the affirmation cards, this one is my favourite.

My 2018 Top of the Pops!

2018 has been a rockin year for new music. In no particular order, here’s a few of my absolute favourites- be warned, it’s an eclectic mix! 😉

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Sarasvati- Released To Aion

Sarasvati is the solo project from Canadian bass playing legend, Chela Rhea Harper. Inspired by esoterica, Sarasvati is a fusion of folk metal, melodic doom metal and progressive rock. A highly creative and intelligent individual, Chela has been crafting her own material in tandem with studying creative coaching. Released To Aion, a collaboration with metal vocalist/guitarist Joe Waller, was released at the beginning of the year. The forth-coming album has experienced setbacks despite completion, but undoubtedly, Sarasvati will be back in full force when the timing is right.

The atmospheric introduction is to die for. I love Chela’s ethereal vocals on this. Think of Enya but with dreadlocks to die for. But Canadian. And with a heavy song, heavier than heavy itself. Plus a doom metal band behind her. So not Enya really but you get the idea! Play it louder than loud. It’s a masterpiece. Then go buy it. Support independent music. Here: Released to Aion | Sarasvati

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSO- Masterpiece

RSO is super songwriting, rock power-couple Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and Orianthi (Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper). Both are incredible guitarists with highly recognisable styles and both have stellar vocal chords. Recognised as an artist in her own right, Orianthi hails from Australia. Their debut album, Radio Free America was recorded in their L.A home over 2 years and produced by the legendary Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi).

Masterpiece was originally released as a single last year but seeing as the album only came out in May, I’m counting it as so. I love this song on so many levels- it’s the perfect love song. I love the way Richie and Ori’s vocals weave around each other and when they unite, they compliment each other perfectly. His gritty/edgy voice contrasts nicely with her smooth, warm and sweet vocals. The lyrics are incredibly beautiful, makes me wish I wrote them myself! It’s actually so delightful to hear a love song written by two people in love-without any cheddar! Kudos to the production on this, I love the effected drums and looping vocals. Solid songwriting. This rocks so much. Purchase: Radio Free America by RSO on Apple Music.

 

 

 

 

 

RSO- Blues Won’t Leave Me Alone

This is the song that brought Orianthi back to my consciousness. I think the production is simply phenomenal and incredibly brave. It’s so different to her back-catalogue. There’s something utterly perfect about this track. Perhaps it’s the way she entwines blues, gospel, soul and rock in the most perfect way. Her lyrics are exceptional, my favourite line has got to be: At least it feels like all that I’ve got is me and my guitar. Such a lyric makes me yearn for my guitar right now and wish I would make more time for it.

For me, this song indicates Orianthi is growing as a songwriter and artist. Her previous albums are great but this knocks right out of the park. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emigrate- A Million Degrees

My man, Richard Zven Kruspe needs no introduction (especially if you follow my Instagram of this blog!). But hey, if you landed here not knowing who he is, i’ll fill you fast: Kruspe is the lead guitarist of industrial-metal rockers, Rammstein and Emigrate is his solo pursuit. After a 4-year wait since his last, his 3rd album A Million Degrees was released at the end of November.

The title track is stellar. This is probably his finest song to date (though he has some epic numbers!), it’s catchy, anthemic and heavy. It ticks all the boxes for me. His signature German/American accented vocals, great guitar riff, synth riff, vocal layering, solid drumming, combined with the fantastic song and perfect production make for his finest come back. I’ve been crushing on this man since Mutter (2001, Rammstein) and I’m so pleased to see him evolve into an artist in his own right. Now if 2019 brings any Emigrate gigs I’ll be a happy bunny (tickets for Rammstein are gold dust!). Purchase: Emigrate on Apple Music.

 

If you’re in the humour to dance/rock out then listen to 1234. The more I hear it, the more I like it myself.

 

 

 

Avril Lavigne- Head Above Water 

When I first heard Avril in 2002, I couldn’t help but be a tad annoyed at her. She was quite the brat wasn’t she?! And everyone kept calling me Avril too which didn’t help! However she progressed (and occasionally lapsed) and has some fantastic tunes in her catalogue. She often powers my long distance runs. But don’t tell her that ;)Her last album (2013) was mighty good with an eclectic mix of pop, rock, dance and acoustic numbers. I especially loved the track she did with (then) husband (the equally annoying), Chad Kroeger.

Unfortunately in 2015, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, putting a halt on her career. Spending a long time healing and looking after herself, promising her sixth album (due next year) but in September this year, she released the title and debut track, Head Above Water, a song which is frighteningly close to the bone. Avril puts all of her emotions of being ill and the experience of being at death’s door into this wonderfully crafted production. She’s taken a huge leap forward with this song, notching up yet another level. Well done Avril. Looking forward to your album, hope to go running with you soon. Purchase: Head Above Water – Single by Avril Lavigne on Apple Music

MK- 17

Bangin’ dance/house number I couldn’t get out of my head all year.

 

Beoga feat. Ryan McMullan- We Don’t Have to Run

This video is the RTE Special that aired last year but this song was finally released in May this year. I just love this on so many levels, I wish I produced it myself!

Trust the Process: 2018 Reflection

Not gonna bore you with words…

Chronological order of my favourite moments of 2018.

The Snow (March):

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Snowball fight…

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His first snow!

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Well I'm having a productive afternoon…

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Spring Walks (April):

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Dunany

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Sound Designing Pole Dancing Comedy Sketch “An Irish Unicorn” (May):

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Fun day recording today!

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College Stuff (May):

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Survived my 1st postgraduate year! Another year to go… It's been a mental journey! I've spent the year bettering myself academically, musically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Doing a masters is more than just writing buckets of words, it's a journey of personal development and it's hard core. Ive broken right down to my most vulnerable but it's ok because I'm building myself back up, step by step. Lots of ups and downs during the year, but I'm emerging more self confident (I had none at all!), disciplined, enthusiastic and excited. I've a summer of lots of loose ends to tie up before starting year 2 (yikes!) and lots of things to look forward to (some gigs on the horizon and Canada!).

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The Carlingford Ferry (June):

Fair Plé Day (June):

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So honoured to be part of #FairPléDay 2018.

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Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney in the Spirit Store (July):

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Unbelievable gig last night in the Spirit Store.

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Telling off a bar of Chocolate for Tasting Gross (July):

Dodging Farmers in the Name of Audio Sample Collecting (July):

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Field recording #DodgingTheFarmer

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Ten Year Anniversary of This (August):

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On this day 10 years ago, Black Daisy independently released debut EP "Disturbing New Fashion". It was available through downloadmusic.ie and a small number of Irish HMV and record shops. We recorded it in Donabate with producer Stephen Brett who said our drummer Asta, was a "machine". We had a lot of fun recording it and it happened very quickly. The songs were all demo-ed by myself, I had just discovered Apples Garageband and I put together all the tracks using drum loops, recordings of guitars, basses and LAs vocals. We had lots of fun recording in my bedroom and we suddenly felt empowered with cheap recording gear. Prior to entering the studio, we spent a lot of time as a band, in our rehearsal space, going over each and every detail of the songs. We were very mindful of our limited recording time and wanted to maximise whatever time we had by sorting out the nitty gritty in rehearsals. It wasn't always fun but we learned how to play as a band and we actually gelled really well during that time. I was always happy with the finished product and I'm still proud of it. My role with the band at this stage was on borrowed time, as I didn't forsee the Eurovision fiasco at this point and I had every faith that the band was moving forward in a healthy way. 6 months later, it all would change. I suppose it's only fitting that 10 years on, I'm in the middle of my music masters. It all seems like a lifetime ago, I suppose it kind of was. There's still one or two CDs knocking around on Discogs and eBay. If anyone wants a digital copy, get in touch.

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Canada, Canada, Canada! (August/September):

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🚘🚘🚘

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This day last month I stepped foot into Beach Road Studios.

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Digital scribble strip love! (November):

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First time using a Midas M32 tonight. Loved it. #newbae

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November Spawned a Monster (November):

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Getting ready for the big show! #sister

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Sharing New Sounds (December):

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#dx7

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Daring to Burn Bright: Emigrate, A Million Degrees

How does one even start discussing how and why, Emigrate’s latest output A Million Degrees is the best thing to hit rock music this year?! Released on iTunes today (yesterday was the official release date) A Million Degrees is the 3rd instalment of alternative rock gold gifted to the world by German rock icon, Richard Zven Kruspe.

Kruspe obtained a cult following for his industrial guitar riffage and growling backing vocals in Rammstein, arguably one of the top arena metal bands of our time. The staggering success of Rammstein is not for this blog though as a fan from my teens, I cannot wait to see their flame-throwing, inflatable-boat crowd surfing and hugely (look it up if you don’t know!) entertaining live show again.

Carrying forward a sense of Beatlemania into my own youth, I had a favourite band member. Richard Kruspe was my Ringo, with his dark spikey hair, black nail polish, eyeliner and tank tops. Generally the ladies favourite (although singer Till Lindemann has an active fanatical following still on Instagram) with his toned arms and square jawline, Kruspe oozed that classic rockstar sex appeal. For me though, it went beyond his good looks and intriguing stage presence. His style of guitar playing updated the prototypical chuggery of James Hetfield (Metallica)- tighter, harder and more militant in execution.

Kruspe
Richard Kruspe 1997
Richard Kruspe
Richard Kruspe, 2016. Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5722116/mediaviewer/rm896608512

However with all these amazing attributes, it wasn’t obvious to me (and I suspect, other fans) that Kruspe was capable of fronting his very own band. His presence in Rammstein was that of a dark horse- moody, quiet, watching everything happening around him with folded arms yet instrumental to it all. He never took away from the showmanship of Lindemann and he was the perfect sum of all the flamboyant parts of Rammstein.

Emigrate
Emigrate (2007)

Which was why the announcement of Emigrate in 2006, his solo project, took me by surprise. A fantastic surprise and one which paid off immediately, “Wake Up” was the song of the century for me. I couldn’t get enough of his singing voice (surprisingly good with a great range, his mixed up German/American accent added to the appeal), the fact he was singing in English was a bomb drop and set him a million miles apart from Rammstein, his signature guitar playing was even more obvious and the songs- the songs! The songs were out of this world. Heavy, hard hitting, catchy with sleek production to match, Emigrate was an artistic force to be reckoned with. It was apparent that Kruspe had a depth of creativity which was previously untapped and unexplored.

 

Silent so Long
Silent So Long (2014)

In 2014, his second output Silent So Long was released. This hit me in my final academic year of my audio degree and it’s production values floored me. The drums, the drums, the drums!!! That drum sound is worth shedding a tear for. Holding up with its predecessor’s level of rock songwriting, Emigrate’s sound further progressed with FM synthetic sounds (bringing to mind for me, the sound of 80’s chart music and perhaps a throwback to Kruspe’s youth in divided Berlin) and collaborations with vocalists Marilyn Manson, Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Peaches, Jonathan Davis (Korn) and Frank Delle. Fans seem to be divided over this album and while a very small handful of songs are skippers (sorry Lemmy, I love you and Motorhead but this collab didn’t work for me), I really liked it. It has a certain coldness and wintery atmosphere that I just really like. It shows a different side to Kruspe than Emigrate showed us, I felt it showed a certain maturity and a creative mind which was very much in tune with its own artistry.

A Million Degrees
A Million Degrees (2018)

Almost 4 years to the day, we are graced with A Million Degrees. Used as a forerunner to the album release, 1234 feat. Benjamin Kowalewicz, prompted uncertainty in this longtime Kruspe fan. Not enough Kruspe vocally and the song was very, commercial. It seemed rather contrived to me, no matter how many times I repeat-played it and tried to like it. Nonetheless I’m glad I held out! A Million Degrees excels it.

The title track alone is a golden moment in Kruspe’s career. Opening with that cold FM synth sound I liked so much from Silent So Long, Kruspe’s classic Germanic overdriven stiff vocal fits perfectly. This could be from the same album, but perhaps it’s a little bit more Kraftwerky.

Then BANG! “Burn bright!”, Kruspe’s delicious baritione breaks into his soaring upper range. The mood changes from synthy atmospheric darkness to straight up Emigrate rock. Overdriven guitars and live drums, the groove is sexy in it’s rigidness, thanks to an offbeat open high hat. Leading into an anthemic chorus, the word mature springs to mind again. If you don’t get goosebumps listening to this chorus, you must be emotionally vacant! Kruspe’s voice is at it’s best, perhaps the most emotive it’s ever been. Soaring at the top end of his range, he’s vocally strong and more powerful than I’ve ever heard him before. I adore the contrast in his voice- the rigidness in his verse vocal (the Rammstein Kruspe with crossed arms we all know him for) and then the sheer power in his chorus vocal (the artist he has dared to become). The top end, arpeggiated synths entwine the synthy Kraftwerk influences with stadium rock .

Linked with a clean guitar tone in the upper-mids which hearkens back to Emigrate, verse 2 carries forward the atmospheric synths and rock powerhouse of drums and distorted guitars. This clean guitar tone is the foundation for the breakdown in the middle eight and a swirling atmosphere of effected vocals wash around it- the plunge before the climax of the final chorus sections.

For me, the title track is the absolute stand out. Though on first listen, the entire album shares its brilliance. Rammstein fans may not be too sure, especially with the (sorry to use this word again) Kraftwerky Let’s Go which features Till Lindemann singing in German, but Emigrate fans certainly will.

Kruspe is on fire, no pun intended.

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One By One- Trist

“One by One” is the new single from my friend, Conor Breen, aka Trist. I’m delighted to have contributed my violin to his wonderful music and I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming album release, The Cutting!


Listen/support here: One by One | Trist

Recording with Trist