Sounds from an oth­er­worldly uni­verse

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - SIOBHÁN LONG

Shift­ing and slid­ing time sig­na­tures, elu­sive wisps of sound and an ir­re­press­ible ap­petite for min­ing the un­known are at the heart of This Is How We Fly’s much-an­tic­i­pated de­but.

Michi­gan-born per­cus­sive dancer Nic Gareiss rev­els in ex­plor­ing the un­der­side of ev­ery floor­board he en­coun­ters, seek­ing out not only the rhyth­mic pos­si­bil­i­ties but also the slip-slid­ing brush strokes more usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with a jazz drum­mer.

And far from be­ing side­lined by Gareiss’ an­tics, Swedish drum­mer Pet­ter Bern­dalen dashes and dives in and out be­tween those dance steps, clearly rev­el­ling in the joust­ing match that en­sues.

Weav­ing in and around this pair is the sin­u­ous may­pole that is Seán MacEr­laine’s wood­wind in­stru­ments (par­tic­u­larly clar­inet) and elec­tron­ica. Caoimhín Ó Raghal­laigh brings his char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally wide-an­gle lens to the mix, his fid­dles nav­i­gat­ing a very fine line of min­i­mal­ism (now) and ut­ter im­mer­sion in the body of the tune (then), as he does on The Fid­dle. This is mu­sic that ef­fort­lessly spans the worlds of tra­di­tional, con­tem­po­rary, jazz and elec­tron­ica, draw­ing lis­ten­ers into its sound­scape with a wel­com­ing em­brace. And even when This Is How We Fly (such an apt name they’ve cho­sen) veer into deep mu­si­cal space, they lure the lis­tener with them – at times by stealth, but never un­der duress.

The one grat­ing com­po­nent of this ex­cep­tion­ally co­he­sive and rounded col­lec­tion is the in­tru­sion of the au­di­ence ap­plause at the end of the open­ing track, a dis­turb­ing force in the midst of a par­tic­u­larly at­mo­spheric and bold opener, Man of Few Words. After that, the mu­sic and per­cus­sive forces reign supreme in a kind of oth­er­worldly uni­verse that feels in­fin­itely more al­lur­ing than the cur­rent one, be­times.

In short, this is mu­sic that re­joices in play­ing with the space/time con­tin­uum. For­eign fields in­deed. thi­sishowwe­fly.net

THIS IS HOW WE FLY For­eign Fields ★★★★ In­de­pen­dent Re­lease

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