Right here, right now

Bantu m’ s new al­bum plays like a who’s who of con­tem­po­rary Ir­ish mu­sic, writes Louise Bru­ton

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

If you wanted to do a quick lit­mus test on the qual­ity of Ir­ish mu­sic to­day, Ban­tum’s Move al­bum is a clear ex­am­ple that we’re do­ing al­right. More than al­right, ac­tu­ally. With fa­mil­iar names such as Ru­sangano Fam­ily, Loah and new­comer Farah Elle fea­tur­ing, it’s an ex­act guide of who we should be lis­ten­ing to right now.

The man be­hind Ban­tum – or “the man un­der the yel­low hat”, as some fans from his live shows will tell you – is Ruairi Lynch, a Dublin-based mu­si­cian, DJ, pro­ducer and com­poser from Cork.

The al­bum opens with the ti­tle track, a clunk­ing, svelte num­ber not un­like Daniel Avery’s work on Drone Logic, and the orb­ing Pac­ing, which is ded­i­cated to Conor Walsh, the min­i­mal­ist pi­ano player from Mayo who died sud­denly in March of this year. “I was lis­ten­ing to a lot of The

Front EP of his at the time. It was sug­gested to me that I might ap­proach him to col­lab­o­rate on the track, but we never did, sadly,” he says. Walsh’s mu­sic had a huge ef­fect on mu­si­cians and fans across the coun­try and the EP he re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2015 was a huge in­spi­ra­tion for Pac­ing.

“The pi­ano line is just me try­ing to sound like Conor – just a heav­ily re­verbed pi­ano. And I know that Jon Hop­kins does a lot of that as well. He brings in a lot of beau­ti­ful pi­ano lines to his techno tracks.”

For the past few years, Lynch was busy com­pos­ing mu­sic for the short film Lit­tle

Bear, which won the Au­di­ence Award for Short Films at the Dublin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, and teach­ing Able­ton soft­ware pro­duc­tion classes through the Block T creative in­sti­tu­tion.

He had no no­tion of mak­ing or re­leas­ing an al­bum this year, but when he recorded Take It with Sal­lay Gar­nett – bet­ter known as Loah – it led to the cre­ation of an­other song on the record. An al­bum was slowly start­ing to form.

“She [Gar­nett] recorded this melody line in the back­ground and that’s where Voodoo Sweat came from,” he says. “From that vo­cal, I recorded about three gui­tar lines on top and it turned into this Prince-funk track with CC Brez and Louize Car­roll.” Col­lab­o­ra­tive cel­e­bra­tion Although its cre­ation was in­ci­den­tal, Move is a col­lab­o­ra­tive cel­e­bra­tion. Feel Your Rhythm fea­tures Lim­er­ick’s Ru­sangano Fam­ily and Cork’s Senita, who fronts the funk band Shookrah, and Al­ready There is an in­tro­duc­tion to Lon­don singer Weis­man. One of the stand­out tracks is Feel It Out, a woozy, sul­try af­fair, en­hanced by Dublin- Libyan singer Farah Elle.

“I re­ally wanted to put her on the record. She’s to­tally dif­fer­ent. The vo­cals she sent me, I didn’t ex­pect at all,” he says, in awe of the 22-year-old’s skills. “I had this – it was just a drum beat and a synth that I didn’t have a clue what to do with. And I sent it to her, not think­ing I’d get any­thing back but she came back with the whole ar­range­ment, and what you hear on the track was the demo that she sent me. I didn’t even go near a stu­dio.”

Lynch re­leased Le­gion, his first al­bum, on the Eleven Eleven La­bel in 2012. From there he sat in on stu­dio ses­sions with Richie Egan, eat­ing tomato sand­wiches and learn­ing dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tion tricks, and in the eight (ish) years that he’s been mak­ing mu­sic in Dublin, he’s learned so much from the mu­sic com­mu­nity he’s in­volved him­self with.

“I watched CC Brez play a cou­ple of weeks ago and he had James Vin­cent McMor­row’s rhythm sec­tion play­ing with him – as you do,” he says, laugh­ing. “It’s re­ally cool to just walk into a bar and see that in Dublin. I never ex­pected to be in this sit­u­a­tion my­self, mov­ing to Dublin. I didn’t even know how to pro­duce mu­sic when I got here, but I’ve just been diving into it.”

Even if he didn’t ex­pect it, Move is a firm prom­ise that we’ll be see­ing more of Ban­tum and his yel­low hat.

I never ex­pected to be in this sit­u­a­tion my­self, mov­ing to Dublin. I didn’t even know how to pro­duce mu­sic when I got here, but I’ve just been diving into it

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