Traditional Irish Music
Géza Frank from Austria, is one of central Europe’s most in demand pipers and one of his generations most virtuosic whistle players. Jean Damei from France is known for his creativity and innovative style using very rare guitar tunings. They came together over four years ago to begin work on what would become one of the years most creative albums.
They called the album and project “Event Horizon” and when we spoke to Géza recently he explained the background to the recording. Their goal was to create music that is reflective of their own outlook on Irish and Scottish music presented in a modern and contemporary manner.
“A lot of musicians in the past have understood fusion of “Celtic” elements with electronic music as just playing traditional tunes and putting some beats over them. To us this practice more often than not results in a clumsy attempt at sounding “cool and trendy”, while not achieving either. We wanted to create music that follows its own rules and uses only what can be used in a fusion between Irish and Scottish traditional elements and electronic music.”
“What differentiates our album from most other albums of our genre, is that its concept and inspiration are taken really into the compositional process. We think about the phenomenons in space that inspire our music not just romantically but scientifically. We wanted to define a musical language in order to describe these places and phenomenons musically just like mathematics describes them numerically. We work a lot with musical and sonic colours and temperatures as well as sub-bass sounds in order to describe various things like for example the intense heat of a meteors entry into our atmosphere or the rhythmic pluses of a pulsating radio star etc. This plus the use of a typical pop song arrangement format in a purely instrumental music gives our album a sound not often found in the wider “Celtic Music” genre.”
This is the final track off the album called The Pulsar. This is an alternative version of the track featuring Barry Reid and David Lombardi, who complete the ‘Event Horizon’ live band. Since the entire project started with the composition of ‘The Pulsar’, they thought it would be a fitting end to their first album to include a version of this track, featuring their live performance team.
Géza explains that the inspiration behind the album is undoubtedly found in outer space as well as in particle physics. “The choice seems odd seen that the projects musical roots lie in Celtic music. After taking a closer look though, one will find that the connection is very well there: Interest in the cosmos and scientific observation of the sky go back a very long time. Already the oldest cultures on the planet have taken keen interest in what lies beyond our planet and have erected colossal monuments such as Stonehenge for instance, in order to observe the stars motions.
Today we have very sophisticated technology to do the exact same thing. Irish and Scottish music have in the minds of many people a distinct anchoring in the past and are often perceived as art forms from the fringes of Europe. We believe Irish and Scottish music is much more potent then this interpretation and that we can present these distinct melodic and harmonic traditions in a futuristic context as well.
The album was recorded over a period of almost 4 years with the first recording made in early 2014 and the album being completed in late 2017. Every composition was made using a different method of composition and generally Jean and Geza worked on the melody and chord progressions together before sending the finished recording of their compositions to either Tyler Duncan, Jake Birch or Barry Reid in order to program the electronic parts over the acoustic recordings. The composition of the electronic parts was largely done autonomous by each artist after a briefing by Geza and Jean, who decided what type of sounds and elements to use and which part of the arrangement should get what type of attention.
To accompany the album release Géza and Jean made two outstanding videos that are also amongst the best released throughout the year. Included above is Proxima Centauri, with their second video for the track Photon Wave included below.
The Album was mainly recorded at the filmsound.at studio in Vienna, by Pierre Kostineak. Violin overdubs where recorded at La Chunky studio in Glasgow, by Barry Reid.
Since the live act is quite ambitious, with light show elements and dancers as well as guest musicians, the first live concert is planned only for summer 2018 at the Glasgow Science Centre. Dates will be confirmed but it will either be shortly before or during the “Piping Live” Festival.
If you are a radio broadcaster you can download a free copy of the album from our Download Centre here on Tradconnect. Contact us for details.
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