Second Square To None

This week we have Enda Bates, a composer/guitarist/producer who releases solo material as Fairlights & is an active composer of contemporary music, as well as being involved with the Spatial Music Collective and the group Spook of the Thirteenth Lock.

Tell us a little about your musical background ie influences, formative experiences, bands you play/played in

I was introduced to noisy guitar bands like My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and the Jesus & Mary Chain by my older brothers when I was very young, before I even started playing guitar. This kind of noisy, experimental but melodic music has been a big influence on everything I’ve done since. I played in a couple of bad, grunge cover bands in school and this was definitely a formative experience, those gigs were terrifying but absolutely addictive. I didn’t really start writing music until later. I got a loan of a little cassette 4-track recorder around 2000 and it was quite a revelatory experience to be able to actually write and record my own music. Once again I was hooked and I haven’t really stopped writing and recording since then.

Alright so it isn't Monday but this mix will slip nicely into a weekend warm-up playlist! Takeover Records boss thatboytim presents us with a mix of bass sounds to remember that sunny weather we had with. Tracklist below:

Munitions Family are putting on a night of inner space in the Space 54 venue / artist run space in Smithfield, Dublin 1 this Saturday 29th May. Expect deeply whacked out synth improvisations, lo-fi pops and mesmerizing 12-string-a-bling. The line up is as follows:

Stellar Om Source (NL)
Cian Nugent
Boys of Summer
School Tour
Scented Candle

plus Skinny Wolves and Munitions Family DJ's.

More info here.

Amanda Feery - The Shipwreck by SSTN Noise

Our featured artist this week is Amanda Feery , a composer rising fast in new music circles. She was recently chosen for a residency at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival from an international cast of young composers, and among other things was previously a member of Attention Bebe.

What are your reasons / motives for making music, and how you arrived at this

AF: This piece was written for a play called 'The Insanity of Mary Girard', by Lanie Robertson. Mary Girard is condemned to a lunatic asylum by her husband without proper pyschiatric evaluation, which hubbies could do lawfully in 18th century America. The director wanted to explore the theme of water and it's tension between containment and compulsion to overflow, which ties in nicely with being trapped in a madhouse and wanting to escape..

I read an interesting line in the script which got me working. Mary compares the entrapment in the tranquilizing chair to being "drowned without being dead". I wanted to try create the sound of being submerged deep underwater, falling through the wreckage of a ship.

Colin Boylan - Just Another Sunbeam by SSTN Strings

This week we have Monaghan guitar-player/song-writer/noisemaker, Colin Boylan.

Tell us a little about your musical background ie influences, formative experiences, bands you play/played in.

I (used to) play in a band called Green Lights. Pretty sure it's all finished now though. People are moving around a lot and it's hard to do anything since I don't really live in Dublin right now. I also played in a lo-fi pop/noise(?) band in Tokyo when I live there last year called Walkie Talkie in the Cornfield. It was loads of fun. My main influences would be Pavement, Low, Liars and the Mars Volta but it changes a lot. I love Pavements catchy and incredibly simple ramshackled melodies that just get stuck in my head, the layered noise that Alan Sparhawk (Low) makes, the droney sounds from Liars and the guitar isanity and ridiculous time signitures from the Mars Volta. I also like a lot of Irish bands like the Cast of Cheers, Adebisi Shank, Jogging, Enemies, BATS, Patrick Kelleher, Redneck Manifesto.... Pretty much anything off the Richter Collective record label. Really exciting stuff happening in Dublin nowadays I think especially on that RC label.

Gland&Conduit - Anal Duct Nodding by SSTN Noise

Gland & Conduit are a duo made up of 2 producers: Herv and Meljoann, who normally make ravey breakcore and R & B respectively when not working on this project. The two have also recently worked together on a much different album project which can be found here on The Centrifuge website. The track included in this weeks Noise Series is taken from their forthcoming album on SSTN (about which more information will be jettisoned soon).

For some reason I have only now got around to listening to the Front End Synthetics compilation that they released in conjunction with their ten year birthday bash, mentioned here previously.
Absolutely amazing stuff, lots of experienced producers making properly refined tunes that defy easy categorisation. Features Spectac, Sunken Foal, Ambulance, The Last Sound, Deasy, Rod, Podgeo, Dave Nuremberg, Zvuku, Educution and Platinum Ray.

Colin J. Morris - Pecking order by SSTN Strings

This week we have surviving shoegazer, moving-pictures composer and maker of very beautiful music, Colin J. Morris on guitar, mountain dulcimer, mandolin and electronics.

Tell us a little about your musical background ie influences, formative experiences, bands you play/played in

I wanted to play guitar since I first heard The Shadows play "Apache" when I was about 7 years old. The only music I had available to me was my Dad's, so it was The Shadows, Elvis and Glenn Miller almost constantly until my teens. I caught the indie bug in school when I heard My Bloody Valentine's "Isn't Anything" around '89. Also around that time, I started listening to The Byrds and Joni Mitchell. So after a few dodgy bands, I ended up in a band called Sunbear in 1993 and had a blast for a few years. Since that band, I played in the Ruby Tailights and currently play with Carol Keogh and Miriam Ingram.
I only really started recording myself in 2005 and formed a film scoring company with Miriam Ingram in 2007. I think getting in to recording was the best and most creative thing I ever did. I started off with a Yamaha 8-track machine, using guitar pedals as effect inserts. I still like those old clunky demos, but I also love software recording. I think a lot of musicians can be a bit snobby towards computers, software and decent mics, but I love them.

Sunken Foal - Crag Hill by SSTN Noise

This week's noise series features a short film soundtrack by one half of Ambulance and all of Sunken Foal, Dunk Murphy.

Crag Hill (2009) from Anne Maree Barry on Vimeo.

What are your reasons / motives for making music, and how you arrived at this style?

This piece was written as a soundtrack to a film by director Anne Marie Barry called "Crag Hill". One element of the narrative that stood out to me was the inability of the protagonist to decipher the water and wind surrounding her, i.e.: the rain. The film expresses the confused state of the character so this drove me to place her in an aural backdrop of water droplet configurations. I recorded 128 drips into various sized containers and then set about arranging them into different mathematical patterns. The drips could be cycled through consecutively at a varying range of rate up to note frequencies so that tonal timbres could be achieved and manipulated. These experiments were then convolved with a variety of recordings (impulse responses) which contained volatile but harmonic qualities. All of this was intended to echo the character trying to perceive the phenomenon of rain over the time it took to make the journey "home".

What sort of environment it is intended for (home listening, really loud in a meat lorry, or whatever!) / intended effect on listener?

The film is intended as a gallery piece but I played the soundtrack on my headphones while I was at mass last Sunday eating stacks of communion down the back of the church and it really worked.

What sort of equipment you use (e.g. computer, hardware, home made gear, circuit bent stuff etc.) do you use to make your sounds?

I used a pair of large diaphragm microphones to record the drips and the PotPourri Max/Msp object "el.player~" by Eric Lyon to control them. A Yamaha CS30 and Rat guitar pedal to create the impulse responses.

Any memorable noise-related incidents/ interesting gig anecdotes?

I once played a live gig in the Croft in Bristol on top of a brand spanking new pinewood coffin complete with crucifixes. It's affect on the sound quality was negligible.

Info on upcoming gigs, preferred web address, releases etc.

Venetian Snares - May 19th Crawdaddy

We are going to this tonight and we recommend everyone else do the same. Full details at

This week we feature Dublin based artist, Niamh de Barra, formerly known as Scurvy Lass. Niamh is a singular talent, using layers of manipulated vocals and cello to create haunting songs that never fail to leave an impression. 

Photo by Aoife de BĂșrca
Tell us a little about your musical background.

I've been playing the piano since I was quite young, was in a choir from the age of eight and taught myself the guitar when I was fourteen for the whole grungy riot grrrl thing. I studied music in Maynooth, and started playing the cello in my last year of college, to have something a bit more portable than a piano. That's the "traditional" background anyway.

I was in an improv band, John Mary Trilogy, for many years, and that, along with the choir I was in as a kid, was the greatest influence on my eeeehhhh development as a musician. That idea of losing yourself in what you're playing, surfacing after a few hours with a mixture of "what happened?" and "it can't have been bad if it feels so good". It was great to be in a band that just jams, very liberating after years in college of practicing the same pieces ad nauseam (not that there isn't scope for expression in that type of music-making, it's just that it's a bit easier and less scary because the pieces you're playing have already been "endorsed" for years. It's not really your music, you're not laying yourself bare to such an extent), just letting go. Yknow??

From The Bogs of Aughiska -Lebor Gabala Erenn by SSTN Noise

Coming from a remote village in Clare, this week's featured artist has a unique angle on noise exploration. When not making evocative dark ambient as From The Bogs of Aughiska, Conor also makes head-exploding gabba / speedcore as Drugzilla.