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JUNE 2012

DE\CODE

IRELAND’S FREE ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE www.wewilldecode.com

ISSUE 1.03

Check out our alternative guide to this summer’s championships ROAD TO POLAND A guide to Poznan and Gdansk

THEATRE IN THE US Exploring Irish theatre in the United States

MAURICE SENDAK A tribute to the late children’s author

REVIEWS The Cast Of Cheers, Sigur Rós & more


Climb 4 4 highest mountains in the 4 Provinces of Ireland over 4 different weekends Your challenge Due to the success of our first Climb 4 Concern challenge we are back to summit the highest mountain in each province in Ireland over 4 different weekends.

What we are doing From March through to September you will be able to climb the highest mountains in Leinster, Munster, Connacht & Ulster. Have you ever climbed: Leinster’s highest mountain Lugnaquillia? Munster’s highest mountain Carrauntoohil? Connacht’s highest mountain Mweelrea? or Ulster’s highest mountain Sliabh Donard? Or have you ever considered climbing all four?

Are you ready? Our 4 summits are: Mweelrea Co Mayo 31 March 2012 Height 814m - CLOSED Sliabh Donard Co Down 12 May 2012 Height 850m Lugnaquillia Co Wicklow 23 June 2012 Height 925m Carrauntoohil Co Kerry 15 September 2012 Height 1040m

Fundraising To secure your place on the challenge you must pay the non refundable deposit of €25 per climb or €80 for all 4 climbs. We are asking for a fundraising target of €50 to be raised for Mweelrea, Lugnaquilla and Sliabh Donard and a target of €100 to be raised for Carauntoohil (€250 for all 4 events). Money is to be given on the day of the event. For more information please click on our fact sheet here

Make a difference Last year we raised a staggering €45,000 for our work in the developing world. Can you help us to exceed that target? Register for one or all 4 climbs and join in the fun. To find out more about our work please visit www.concern.net

To find out more about this, or any of the Concern events that take place throughout the year, visit www.concernchallenge.org


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JUNE 2012

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DE\CODE

IRELAND’S FREE ARTS & CULTURE MAGAZINE www.wewilldecode.com

ISSUE 1.03

Check out our alternative guide to this summer’s championships ROAD TO POLAND A guide to Poznan and Gdansk

THEATRE IN THE US Exploring Irish theatre in the United States

MAURICE SENDAK A tribute to the late children’s author

REVIEWS The Cast Of Cheers, Sigur Rós & more

“I hate ebooks. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.” - Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator, 1928 - 2012

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Editor’s Letter Sadly, the departure of Eugene Downes as CEO of Culture Ireland came as no surprise coinciding, as it did, with the review by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the future structure and independence of Culture Ireland, as well as decisions on the proposed amalgamation of IMMA, the National Gallery of Ireland and Crawford Gallery. The problem with all these reviews is that there is very little public consultation. Instead, they are being conducted by civil servants whose motivations and terms of reference remain, largely, unknown. At De\Code we believe the arts has a critical role to play in Irish society and diminishing its importance by eliminating crucial funding will result in a haemorrhaging of talent and, ultimately, send a message to the rest of the world that Ireland has nothing of cultural significance to offer them. It may be that in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king but when he insists on cutting off his nose to spite his face you have to question his leadership. Steven O’Rourke three


The Cast Of Cheers release their latest offering, Family, on 23 July. The band have also announced a series of Irish dates this September. Catch them in Whelan’s, Dublin (19), Roisin Dubh, Galway (20), Dolan’s, Limerick (21), Forum, Waterford (22), The Limelight, Belfast (24).

Photo: Kieran Frost

Get the lowdown on Family in our reviews section this month.


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The De\Code Team: Steven O’Rourke: Managing Director/Editor James Hendicott: Managing Director/Editor Claire Dalton: Music Editor Elaine Kirwan: Arts Editor Eoghan O’Sullivan: Subeditor Ken McGuire: Production and Design Kevin Donnellan: Featured Columnist Kieran Frost: Photography Editor

Contents

Contributors: Steven Byrne, Amanda Langton Advertising Enquiries: Steven O’Rourke (086) 3653118 wewilldecode@gmail.com De\Code magazine is trademarked worldwide. All work is copyrighted to the author or artists. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reporduced without permission from the publisher. Published by Steven O’Rourke and James Hendicott trading as Hendicott O’Rourke Publishing. De\Code Magazine c\o Flat 6 20 Lower Dorset Street Dublin 1 wewilldecode@gmail.com www.wewilldecode.com Distributed by Hendicott O’Rourke Publishing. Information correct at time going to print.

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16 Midsummer Madness

Our top events for the coming month

A look ahead to this year’s Cork Midsummer Festival

8 In Love With Music

20 Onstage Connections

9 Swapping Out The Sweets

22 Becoming A Real Guitar Hero

A look back at Ireland’s indie week and those destined for Toronto A birthday promise to change a lifetime of habits

10 A Quilted History

A look at quilting as a craft through the ages

11 The Road To Poland

James Hendicott takes to Poznan and Gdansk before this year’s European Championships

14 The Art Of Print

Claire Dalton gets her hands on some of the illustrious products coming out of Ireland

A look at the impact of Irish theatre in the US

Getting to grips with some of the latest guitar software

26 Reviews

The latest music and books given the once over

30 The Wild Thing Rests A tribute to the late Maurice Sendak

32 All Eyes On Éigse

A look ahead to Carlow’s Arts Festival

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vol 1. issue 3.

Eleveight Our pick of June’s arts and culture events 3

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Shaped By History Hunt Museum, Rutland St, Limerick 8 June - 16 September huntmuseum.com This free exhibition of photographs by Gerry Andrews focuses on the Milk Market and local Limerick characters. Andrews now travels the world capturing ordinary people and their daily struggles but the Milk Market images remain his most poignant work.

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Possessed Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square, Dublin 1 10 June hughlane.ie eX is an Irish ensemble of soloists specialising in early music and through a combination of melody, dance and theatre, Possessed explores the psychological phenomenon of possession. This event is free as part of the Sunday’s @ Noon series in the Hugh Lane.

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The Country Girls Cork Opera House, Cork 11 - 16 June red-kettle.com The story that shocked a nation upon its publication in 1960 has now been re-written by its author, Edna O’Brien, for the stage. Tickets for this production, by the Red Kettle Theatre Company and starring Holly Browne and Caoimhe O’Malley, are available from €21.

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Taste Of Dublin Iveagh Gardens 14 - 17 June tasteofdublin.ie Dublin’s top chefs unveil their skills in a gourmet feast of a weekend, treating us to Ireland’s finest, and cuisines from across the globe. They’ll teach you a few tricks along the way, too, if you’re so inclined. Tickets from €23.50 including booking free.


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Street Performance W o r l d Championship Merrion Square, Dublin 19 - 22 June swpc.ie Comedians, swords swallowers, acrobats and (if last year’s anything to go by) an entire swarm of ‘Where’s Wallys’ engulf Dublin in a happy stream of world-class street entertainment. Abundant, free, and invariably unpredictable, you’d be mad not to…

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United Islands Prague, Czech Republic 21 - 23 June unitedislands.cz A number of Irish acts, including Gemma Hayes, will take part in Prague’s International Music Festival, United Islands, which takes place on the islands on the Vltava river. The event will also see performances from bands from Africa, Europe and the US.

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Dublin City of Science The Convention Centre 11 - 15 July dublinscience2012.ie This is a year round project, but one of its main events – the Euroscience forums – will engage in open discussion of scientific issues and unveil a selection of enticing, related activities. Plenty of room for inspiration; check the website for a host of other live events, too.

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Run Killarney Killarney, Co. Kerry 14 July maximarathonkillarney. com You’ll barely notice 15 miles of pass you by as you jog out of Killarney and along section of the Ring of Kerry, veering off through the odd national park. Not convinced? The 10km option is nearly as beautiful and less extreme. From €20 up.

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In love with music Amanda Langton, the co-ordinator of Indie Week Ireland, which took place at the beginning of June, enthuses about why Ireland has a special place at the heart of a festival with its origins in Canada Every year, Indie Week follows its own kind of migration pattern. From Toronto to Austin to Ireland, we bring some of the best independent artists in the world to showcase for music-loving crowds in major music markets. It all started about nine years ago when our founder, Darryl Hurs, started Indie Week in Canada’s largest music market, Toronto. Indie Week started in a few venues on Toronto’s notorious Queen Street West, the hub of the live music scene. As the years went on, the festival became bigger and started getting applications from bands from around the world and Ireland impressed. When Irish act Vesta Varro came to Canada for Indie Week and were named Best of the Fest, the idea for Indie Week Ireland started taking shape. Since then, many Irish acts like Walter Mitty and the Realists and Fred have taken part in Indie Week Canada, some securing deals with management, publishing and independent labels.. Four years on, Indie Week Ireland has seen itself show with incredible independent artists from Ireland, the UK, Italy, Austria and beyond in cities such as Limerick, Cork, Galway, Belfast and its now permanent home, Dublin. We come back, year after year, because of the support we get from the people who have seen what we have done firsthand. Indie Week Ireland is equal parts celebrating independent artist, talent scouting (Indie Week regularly invites other participating artists to Indie Week Canada) and networking between bands, industry and fans. Last year’s Indie Week Ireland winners, The Suburbians, have made some incredible progress in their career with international endorsement eight

deals. Giving independent artists the support and infrastructure to be able to leave their home market and showcase for people in, not only another major music market but the biggest music markets in each of the festival’s home countries is an invaluable experience for any serious artist. The winners of each festival also get to experience what it’s like playing in two completely (yet similar) markets. Toronto and Dublin each have a small music scene – everyone’s a regular, everyone’s heard of everyone else. Yet, the differences lie in the culture of the music scenes. Toronto is ripe with live music every night, but we don’t generally run in to music everywhere we go. In Ireland, it is literally everywhere from morning to night. In fact, as I write this there’s a man with a guitar and harmonica right outside of this Temple Bar café. On my way here, I definitely passed more than one pub with music spilling out of it – from covers of Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ to traditional Irish music. You just don’t get that back home in the middle of the day. People have approached us about bringing Indie Week to various cities around the world but, so far, we’ve declined. Indie Week Canada has grown to over 170 bands in more than 15 venues over five days, including one always sold-out Irish showcase. Indie Week Ireland has grown from one showcase in three cities to more than 20 bands over three stages in four days and growing. We a hands-on, personal approach that makes Indie Week in to something special, something we’re not willing to compromise. We serve an ever growing, underserved group of artists and pride ourselves on being able to truly help them along in their careers.


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When it comes to food, how hard is it to change a lifetime of habits? Ken McGuire lays down a personal marker for his 30th year I’ve got a wicked sweet tooth, I won’t lie to you. I would quite happily spend the day chewing on a bag of skittles, fizzy cola bottles, jelly beans (a real weakness of mine, especially the gourmet ones), you name it. On a cycle, there has to be jelly beans in the pocket. In the office at home, there’s a jar of sweets on the desk. On any given car journey, there’s a bag of Natural Confectionary jellies wedged between Bruce Springsteen’s Magic and a tin of hair wax and it’s definitely hard to pass up the pick ‘n’ mix stands in Heuston Station or MacDonagh Junction any time I’m passing. Of course, this is nothing new. I’ve been doing it for years but it’s only now I realise that it’s finally caught up with me. Over the June bank holiday weekend, I, along with 154 other cyclists, made the trip from Cork to Kilkenny over the course of two days. I did manage to make it home, alive, but there were real points of struggle along the cycle and the route itself, compared to some of the cycling I was doing last year, isn’t all that bad once you keep your head down. I got chatting to a fellow cyclist along the route, both of us attempting one of the early hills on day one and he seemed to be in the same position. “It’s all this extra weight I’m carrying”, he says. All of a sudden, the large bags of sweets and few packets of crisps the night before the cycle didn’t seem like such a good idea. A post-cycle weigh in on day two only further highlighted things for me with the scales registering figures I wasn’t expecting at all, putting me at the heaviest I’ve been in my twenty-nine years. Which brings me to change. A few weeks back, I

turned twenty-nine. As my great-grandmother might say, she now long gone, I’m in my thirtieth year. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a lifetime of food habits that I need to kick to touch and sugar is right at the top of that list. Writing a food blog like Any Given Food gives me an outlet to talk about all things food. Home cooked meals, I’m good at. Eating out in restaurants, I’m good at. Packing sugary snacks in between meals is something I’m excellent at, though you won’t see me writing a lot about it. Chucking out the sugary sweets also means chucking out the crisps, the special offer deals on cans of coke and orange and, for the next few weeks at least, the beer. Of course, I would have to pick the Euros as a time of year to start into this. But, this is something I’ve been threatening to do for years and is a serious box that needs ticking between now and turning thirty. If I’m to follow a suggestion from Steve (Editor) and spend the next 350-odd days working out how to make my thirtieth birthday the most amazing yet, I would be quite a happy man if the only present to myself was having kicked the habit of sweets and snacks and getting my health and weight on a much healthier and more positive track. Initially, I’m cutting it all out. Will power. Mind over matter. Dropping old habits to craft new ones, swapping sweets out for a stir fry and a salad. If anything, it will help me move better on the bike but the benefits where sleep, work and general living are concerned are massive. All that said, I’d nearly be tempted to trade the whole lot for a packet of Postman Pat sweets. If you’re interested in keeping up with the progress, I’ll be blogging at project170.com. nine

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Swapping out the sweets


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vol 1. issue 3.

A quilted history With a starried, cosy history, the art of quilting dates back to the Egytians. Elaine Kirwan takes a trip through the ages, wrapped in a nice, layered blanket, of course Although the earliest known quilted garment dates back to Egyptian times, about 3400 BC, the practice of quilting (and quilted objects) was relatively rare in Europe until the 11th century. Primarily used under armour for a knight’s comfort, and to protect metal armour from the elements, it was only in the 14th century, in Italy, that the needlework tradition was used for its now renowned purpose: bed coverlets. Although many types of quilting exist today, the two most widely used are hand-quilting and machine quilting. Traditional quilting is a process that includes: 1) selecting a pattern, fabrics and batting; 2) measuring and cutting fabrics to the correct size to make blocks from the pattern; 3) piecing the fabric together using a sewing machine or by hand to create blocks to make a finished “top”; 4) layering the quilt top with batting and backing, to make a “quilt sandwich”; 5) quilting by hand or machine through all layers of the quilt sandwich; 6) squaring up and trimming excess batting from the edges, machine sewing the binding to the front edges of the quilt and then hand-stitching the binding to the quilt backing. Quilting as a traditional craft has become an accepted art form in many areas of the world, including Ireland. Quilts can be designed specifically with a project in mind, such as a wall hanging, a stool or a cushion cover, and museums around the globe have quilted objects on display ten

(the earliest bed quilt, found in Sicily in the 14th century and measuring 122” by 106”, hangs in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London). As well as being an extremely therapeutic hobby, quilting is highly rewarding. It may not solve all of life’s problems, as it did for yer one Winona Ryder in How to Make an American Quilt, but it feels damn good to know that your needlework and creativity resulted in the beautiful finished product you can adorn your leaba in. And, given how Irish folk have turned traditions such as knitting and quilting into cosy social events with tea, you might make some new crafty chums! Quilting courses and lessons are available across the country, some classes meeting every week, while others are served up in day blocks. Visit nightcourses.com or irishpatchwork.ie for details. If you’re looking for a scenic retreat this summer, irishcountryquilting.net and thefennelshed.com offer patchwork and quilting workshops in Co. Donegal, while Ester Kiely (esterkiely@gmail.com) offers private classes and workshops in her Le Grá studio in Co. Galway. What’s On The first ever International Quilt Festival of Ireland takes place from 8-10 June. NUI Galway has been transformed into a “Quilter’s Village” for the festival, offering exhibitions, tours, quilting classes and craft workshops. There will also be a special area in the village called “Quilter’s Market”, with two dozen local craft vendors selling specialized craft items. Check out iqfoi.com for a full schedule of events.


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The road to Poland James Hendicott heads east, exploring the growing excitement in Ireland’s two group-stage host cities for the Euro 2012 football tournament, Poznan and Gdansk Poznan (vs Croatia, 10 June and Italy, 18 June) Traditionally a student city, Poland’s entire history is often traced to a quiet suburban island just outside Poznan’s centre, where King Mieszko the 1st was baptized in the 10th century, a key event in the nation’s formation. The city was also at the core of anti-Soviet protests, the colourful central market square somehow surviving and forming a sensational historic capsule in the heart of the city. It’s a spot that will no doubt prove to be Ireland fans’ home base and meeting point for much of Euro 2012. Stary Rynek is crammed with features. Just sat in one of its open air restaurants chowing down on sour egg and sausage soup served in a bread bowl, we see lines of ancient merchants’ houses leading to the city hall. On the roof, two goats appear on the roof and viciously head butt each other periodically, in recollection of a significant ancient supper. The goats escaped from the dinner chopping block on to the sloping tiles centuries ago, an event that the visitors found so amusing it played a role in the city’s peace and prosperity. Before the City Hall sits a columned statue known as the Pillory, topped by a knight and formerly used as a restraint for criminals, who would be tied here and humiliated, or even physically assaulted, for more violent crimes hundreds of years ago. A horse and carriage loiters nearby, too, and the pastel-shades of the mannerist architecture hide stalls laden with carved trinkets and ancient board games.

Fans will be happy to hear that Poznan isn’t all tradition, though. In fact, Stary Rynek is also home to some of the city’s best bars: one hosts a manufactured beach in the heart of the square, while another, known as Fuego, offers fiery drum n bass beats and plenty of strong budget cocktails. To the west, a huge shopping centre (one of Europe’s largest) is the spot for bargains, and eventually leads out to Poznan’s host stadium, a spot made famous by the uptake of their backwards, leaping celebration by English Premier League champions Manchester City. In Manchester, it’s imaginatively known as ‘The Poznan’. Poznan’s a sporting city in general. Aside from the moderately successful local side Lech (also the name of Poland’s most popular beer, which is produced here – try the factory tour), there’s a huge amount of sporting attractions or simply the opportunity to lounge in the sun to be found out at Lake Malta, a real activities hub. Water parks, dry slope skiing, Segway rides, rowing, plenty of parks eleven


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for children and – of course – kickarounds aplenty are to be found here come tournament time. To the east of the city, the more poignant Citizens Park might also play host to similar entertainment. Within the huge open space, you’ll find the grave of Sergeant RJ Bushell, the man behind the legendary ‘Great Escape’ among the graveyards of soldiers of the first and second world wars. At the entrance, there’s a giant column that once housed a Soviet Star, one that went missing around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and was only recently recovered from the thieves, the local fire brigade. In the park’s heart there’s a hummock where the Germans put up a bloody last resistance against the advancing Russians at the end of the war, now home to ample rusting war machinery and patches of scorched earth that still mark the battlefield. Its Poznan’s less obvious attractions that stick in the memory, however. While the central square remains an obvious highlight, the more adventurous visitor will uncover the student ‘milk bars’ (great spots for budget food; they’re not actually bars in the alcohol sense of the word at all) and ride the trams out to the duel zoos or around the seemingly endless selection of local churches. Poznan’s very much about atmosphere, and as a relatively unheralded corner of Poland, we were twelve

surprised to find it has it in absolute bucket loads. As a city that’s absolutely mad about football – more so, arguably, than Ireland’s other host Gdansk – the vibe surrounding a short trophy visit was already building intensely when we dropped in, so expect something truly special for the tournament itself. For Irish fans, Poznan is likely to be a key home base throughout the tournament, with Ireland’s first and third games both hosted here. The trip between, up north to the coastal city of Gdansk, is best undertaken by train; a cheap and enjoyable four-hour journey in airy compartments. Book ahead, though, as they’re bound to be inundated with bookings. If Ireland are to head on to the Ukraine, the two games that take place in the city of Poznan are certain to be key. Let’s hope Poland’s birthplace is kind to the boys in green. Gdansk (vs Spain, 14 June) In the view of Ireland’s harsher critics, their tournament may already be over by the time the team arrive to play Spain on 14 June. It might seem harsh after only one game, but should the boys lose to Croatia on Sunday, 10 June, it’s difficult to imagine a sequence of results against the likes of reigning World and European champions Spain and traditional force Italy that would see the boys


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in green progress. Still, assuming Ireland arrive in Gdansk unbeaten, a match against a side of Spain’s calibre is exactly what tournaments like this are all about. Gdansk itself centres largely around one street, the extended pedestrian heart of Dluga Targ. While entitled ‘Old Town’, the centre of Gdansk was flattened during the second world war, and with the exception of the odd hauntingly gorgeous back street, has been reconstructed to the original spec since. The atmosphere, though, remains, and as well as the tented beer halls, the street is also home to top-end restaurants, stunningly gas-lit at night and home to plenty of the town’s museums. Some hotels double as beer halls – others will opt for the shops and (no surprises here) – Irish bars that line the back streets, and sell pint-sized bottles at sometimes as little as a euro a pop. Pictures hanging under the gates to one end of Dluga Targ show the utterly obliterated remains of the city circa 1945, but there’s plenty of other history to explore, too. Westerplatte, to the north of the city, marks the spot where the very first shots of the second world war were fired, with Polish troops engaging a German landing party. It’s a sparse, desolate spot with crumbling buildings still pock-marked with bullet holes, and tours sometimes spiced-up

with first-hand accounts from aged heroes. This is best accessed from the Motlava river, which flows through the city’s heart, and takes you past a huge shipyard where the rusting remains of a sizeable cruise ship are slowly torn apart. The outskirts of Gdansk are full of that wide-road, industrialized ex-Soviet feel, often domineering and in places home to seemingly endless graffiti and disrepair. The PGE Arena, a glowing amber beacon (reflecting the city’s traditional product), is a purpose-built gem sat at the end of a charmingly rickety tram line, the only journey outside of the beer hubs many football fans might take. It’s a glance at the city’s reality: a charming core surrounded by a decrepit suburban landscape steeped in history. Best case, these two cities go down in Irish sporting history. At worse, they’re enthralling holiday spots in their own right. James’s trip was assisted by Ryanair, and the Polish tourism authorities. Ryanair flies from Dublin to Poznan three times per day, with one way fares starting at €19.99, and to Gdansk three times per week, with one-way fares starting at €31.99, tax inclusive. www.ryanair.com.

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The art of print Sales of books may be dwindling, but a number of Irish printers are creating works that will ensure that an ebook simply won’t do. Claire Dalton gets her hands on some of the illustrious products coming out of Ireland The idea is often bandied about that books, due to the decline of printing and rise of digital will become something of a collectors’ item. Bookcases will be adorned with books, as walls are with art. Only the most beautiful and carefully crafted artworks in content and design will survive, and only the most serious booklovers will possess them. Whether the death of books as we know it is imminent, the artists featured below are proving there is still a battle to be fought. Some have filled their books with words and some haven’t but all are producing the original handheld device in a unique and stunning way. HP & Gleeson Printed Works HP & Gleeson are fresh from their first adorable publication entitled Penguin Pie - a tall tale of, well, penguins and pies for children and “confused adults” and are about to release their second effort this year, A Giraffe At The Door. The creative pair of Helene Pertl and Pierce Gleeson screenprint and handbind their work in their Dublin studio which they describe as a “semiorganised collection of inks, screens and paper that is moved opportunistically between tables, rooms and properties... a drying rack [consisting fourteen

of ] an elaborate web of string and paper clamps... the exposure unit; a high-watt bulb attached to a sturdy old painting easel and a darkroom inside Helene’s wardrobe.” Pertl is an accomplished illustrator, screenprinter and bookmaker and Gleeson a skilled writer and designer. Together, they create truly inspired works to hold and to read. Using delicate, sparse and poignant illustrations, Pertl compliments Gleeson’s thoughtful scribe perfectly. All their products are available to buy through their website. hpandgleeson.com Poddle A river runs through it Rising in northern Tallaght (or Cookstown, for poetics) and joining the Liffey, the Poddle is the best known of the hundreds of waterways in Dublin. It is also the namesake of a new, handcrafted book. Helene Pertl (also of HP & Gleeson) is one half of ‘Poddle’ alongside Ruth Hallinan. Issue one was released earlier this year at Commonplace Studios and the project is described as bringing “new and imaginative words and pictures to the surface”. It is looking for submissions for its second edition, inspired by the theme of ‘small lives’. Dive in to their website for more information. You can


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Photo: Pierce Gleeson

features

follow the Poddle Dublin on Facebook and Twitter, too. poddlepublications.com Keep Sketch Making empty books and the return of the zine... Say YES to stationery Stationery! Everyone loves it, right? Some even admit to an obsession with the stuff; skulking around town getting their fixes from crisp, clean notebooks. The euphoria of an un-creased spine as it’s opened. It’s better than the gear, so I’m told. Feeding this habit in a really beautiful way is a unique Irish design collaborative. Aside from having one of the soundest names going, Keep Sketch is a design and illustration project founded in 2010. Inspired by “traditionally styled stationary, doodling and burning paper planes”, the group is made up of six contributors with masses of skills ranging from photography to street art and everything in between. Crowd funding site Fund It enabled the six, otherwise known as Alex Synge, Dave Comisky, Fuschia Macaree, Mark Crawford, Philip Kennedy and Ross Henderson to launch a stationary line of five awesome notebooks and a slick pencil. Printed by Ditto Press, each notebook features an original

design by one of the contributors and is available to buy on their website and through on the ground stockists listed online. The collective are showing their wares until 18 August at the Irish Design Shop at the RHA Gallery in Dublin. New products such as a Lookalikes zine by Fuschia Macaree and letterpressed cards by Mark Crawford are featured at the gallery space. Check out their website, Facebook and Twitter for all the details. keepsketch.bigcartel.com Sarah Cunningham A superbly talented illustrator based in Dublin, Sarah Cunningham is a fine art graduate of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin. Her unique, whimsical and eccentric drawings are reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s illustrative style and bring childhood reading memories flooding back. She makes baby books to order and has just delved into the world of comics creating one about her pet cockatiel phoebe’s weekly adventures and another monthly comic entitled Zombie Thrashers. Check out all her work and upcoming exhibitions and points of sale on her blog. sarahcunningham1.wordpress.com

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vol 1. issue 3.

Midsummer madness Tom Creed has been in situ as the director of the Cork Midsummer Festival for over a year and has committed to three more. Needless to say, he has big plans, as Eoghan O’Sullivan finds out “It’s really important for me to let the artists and the public meet and to talk about the work so that I can get a sense of what the audience’s experience of the work is and I can develop a relationship with the audience over years, where it’s not about trying to second-guess them; where it’s really about trying to get a sense of how can we challenge them, what kind of journey can we take them on as part of the festival.” Tom Creed was announced as the director of the Cork Midsummer Festival for 2012 in March last year. To say he is qualified for the position is an understatement. He made his professional debut at the festival in 2003, directing Soap! He was the dance and theatre curator of the Kilkenny Arts Festival for a few years, all the while continuing to direct plays for the company he co-founded, Playgroup, as well as another esteemed production house, Rough Magic. Included in the Midsummer programme this year, meanwhile, is Berlin Love Tour, an acclaimed play that Creed directed dating from 2010. Suffice to say, Tom Creed is a busy man. Speaking from Montreal via Skype – it’s his third time in Canada this year. On this occasion it’s to take in an arts festival he hasn’t been to before and to sixteen

potentially build relationships – Creed says, “It’s a constant process of juggling and prioritising, and it’s long days and a lot of travel, but it’s incredibly rewarding for me.” He has stamped his mark on the Midsummer festival by dumping the Spiegeltent. It was an expensive endeavour that people had tired of in recent years, he says. The festival will open with a gala showing in Cork Opera House for the first time, too, with Rian, which mixes traditional music and dance to create something truly unique. Another change is that the festival is more compact, coming in six days shorter than last year’s 16 days. Whereas the Spiegeltent was like a “giant billboard in the centre of town”, the chances of bumping into a Midsummer show have been heightened this year with the likes of Door (two musicians carry a door around the streets of Cork city for four days) and Ciudadas Paralelas (myriad shows in nontraditional venues around the city such as hotel rooms, a station and on the rooftop of City Hall). “The programme is happening all around the city. People can go and seek it out, people can run in to it and go, ‘what the hell is this?’ So there isn’t one kind of work that happens in theatres and another kind of work that happens in, let’s say, a tent. It’s all


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interchangeable for me.” Speaking at the end of May, he forecast that numbers would be up, before proclaiming: “We’re not doing the festival to attract visitors; well that’s not the only reason we’re doing it. It’s absolutely for the local audience that have supported the festival over the last 16 years. But it’s also an opportunity to show off Cork in its best light and to create a reason for people to come to town.” Cork Midsummer Festival has been running for 16 years and has seen numerous arts festivals spring up around the country. But Creed does not see that as a challenge, he sees it as an opportunity. “For me, the thing is to be as unique as we can and to present the best work that we can so that we’re not trying to compete with people by being the same as them but that this is a really unique thing that you’ll only get if you come to Cork during these dates. That’s something that’s really important to me, that we’re not trying to follow any trends but we’re trying to be a new kind of festival as well: a festival that’s absolutely about the work, that’s taking over the city, and where people can go and see a show [with] a festival performance that’s on at quarter to eight in the morning and there’s a festival performance that’s on at midnight (Hungry Tea, which features ‘16 Cork residents, preferably women, and a random collection of strangers’). If you want to just dip in and out and see one thing, you can do that. But if you want to experience as much as possible over a few days, we’ve programmed it so people can do that as well and have a really rich experience.” One of the problems facing many festival promoters of any ilk this summer is the European Championships. Oxegen decided not to go ahead with a festival for 2012 while a number of smaller festivals be it music or otherwise have already been cancelled for fear of sluggish ticket sales. But Creed is adamant that the crowds will come for the Midsummer shows. One event that stands out in the programme is Adventures of a Music Nerd: One Guy, Two World Cups. It’s an hour-long ‘loving ramble through the World Cup songs’ of Italia 90 and USA 94. It featured in last year’s programme at Solstice but is being upgraded to its own standalone show from 22-30 June. Following the Crane Lane event, the venue will show that evening’s Euro 2012 game. It’s all about reaching out for new audiences, says Creed. “I’m interested in creating an opportunity for

football audiences who might not ever engage with the festival to discover a piece of performance. And similarly, I’m interested in presenting a series of early evening, really entertaining theatre that the festival audience can experience before going to see another play or concert. “One of the things I’ve found over the last couple of years is people are excited about work that is about things that they’re interested in. So whether we’re presenting work about science, or about folk or about football, [it is] to not just try and say there’s a music audience or there’s a theatre audience, but also there’s an audience whose interested about food or interested in football and to try and present work where they might not engage with our programme except that there’s something in it that they’re interested in.” After all the work he’s put in, will Tom Creed actually be able to enjoy the festival? “I’m really excited about it,” he announces. “One of the things that’s so exciting for me is being in audiences for work that I’m excited by. The festival is an opportunity for me to learn about the audience, it’s an opportunity for seventeen


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vol 1. issue 3. me to develop a relationship with the audience, to get a sense of what people are interested in for future years.” And his mind is firmly set to the future years. Whereas some may think it next to impossible to imagine what an audience will be craving in 2014, Creed is enthusiastic once more. “Particularly with new work or with artists who are very much in demand, unless you start making the plans a long way out it may be too tight once you get closer to the time. So it’s about getting as many balls in the air as possible [and trying] to make the festival a place where more new things happen. It’s so important to get as much of a lead as possible on those things. Absolutely people are interested in changes, but I guess good work doesn’t go out of fashion that quickly. I’ve signed up to do three festivals and thinking about a way where one can lead on to the next and you might be doing something this year to try and develop an

eighteen

audience for something more challenging and more ambitious that you might be doing in future years. “ After 16 years, it seems that Cork Midsummer Festival has been reinvigorated by the 31-year-old Creed. Come 21 June, football will be the last thing on the minds of the people of Cork. Now how do I get on top of City Hall? Got a taste for the Cork Midsummer Festival yet? Well, if you’re planning on heading to Cork for the end of June, here’s a few events that you can look forward to. Rian (pictured below) Cork Opera House 21-23 June Opening the festival at the Cork Opera House is Rian, a production that examines the tension and harmony between trad music, inspired by Sean


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Photo: Opposite page, Rian (Ros Kavanagh); this page, Ciudades Paralelas (Lorena Fenandez)

features

Ó Riada, and contemporary dance. Directed and choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan, Irish music fans will be more than familiar with Liam Ó Maonlaí, whose music will take the audience on a journey through the annals of Irish music. Berlin Love Tour Throughout the streets of Cork 21-30 June With Cork city substituting for the German capital and Tom Creed directing, Berlin Love Tour is an ‘outdoor theatre performance about monuments and memory, and how we carry around all the places we’ve been inside us’. A Fund It campaign raised €5,000, and this show is going to have everybody scrambling to find the translation for ‘encore!’ Ciudades Paralelas (pictured above) Various locations 21 June – 1 July With Tom Creed emphasising the idea of audience participation, Ciudades Paralelas brings performances of myriad artists and styles to the people, with events taking place in the bus station, offices, the courthouse, library and on top of City Hall. It will prove impossible to avoid the performances. Offering a unique experience, Ciudades Paralelas wants you to ‘build your own tour of the city and see it in a whole new light’. The projects, Creed says, “are some of the

most ambitious and acclaimed and in demand contemporary performance makers in the world”. Bowerbird: Modern Folk and Beyond Triskel Chirstchurch 29-30 June Created by Adrian Crowley and Gary Sheehan and with two separate performances in the beautiful Christchurch cathedral, Bowerbird examines what folk means to people in 2012. Looking to make an impression over the course of the two nights will be the likes of Andy Irvine and Sam Amidon, Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, and former Arab Strap guitarist Malcolm Middleton, who will perform a new project, ‘Human Don’t Be Angry’. Solstice Unit 1, the Elysian 27 June – 1 July Solstice is well established in the Midsummer programme for offering a space for emerging artists. And it also finds a use for the Elysian eyesore. Featuring new and experimental works in fields such as theatre, dance and art, Solstice will inspire and entice for over 12 hours a day. This is the future, and it’s out of this world. Check out corkmidsummerfestival.com for more on this year’s festival and solsticecork.com for full programme details on the Solstice strand. nineteen


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vol 1. issue 3.

Onstage connections The US has fallen in love with Irish theatre all over again. Kevin Donnellan ponders why these links are as strong as ever, and why the diaspora are far from the only ones standing in appreciation

This summer, three of Tom Murphy’s plays will be performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York. In the same town, the Mint Theatre has been on a mission in recent years to reintroduce the world to Irish playwright Teresa Deevy. Over in Chicago, Seanachai Theatre Company is enjoying success with its almost exclusively Irish programme. And the Windy City’s prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre regularly produces plays by Irish writers. On top of all that, most university theatre departments in the US will host at least one class on Irish theatre, along with plenty of US academics who devote much of their studies to Irish theatre. All of which is great, obviously. Hurrah for us. Irish theatre and the US are clearly close and in a strong and stable relationship. But why? What is Irish theatre doing so right? Is it due to some x-factor that Irish playwrights have? Or are we just relying on an Irish-American fondness for tales from the old sod? Sarah Wellington is joint creative director with Seanachai in Chicago. The English actress has appeared onstage in Seanachai productions of Dancing at Lughnasa, A Whistle in the Dark and The Weir, among many others. For her, the American audience for Irish theatre is neatly split between twenty

Irish-Americans and the traditional American theatre audience. “In the last two years we’ve established a home at the Irish-American centre. You can hear the other Irish cultural things going on... We’re in this great environment for what we’re doing,” she explains. “On the other hand I know a lot of people who come to our shows aren’t necessarily of Irish extraction...They come because they like good stories and they like our brand of theatre which is very intimate.” Though producing Irish theatre specifically in Chicago does help. “Even though Chicago identifies itself in - Chicago identifies itself in many ways - but one of the ways I think it does is there’s a significant Irish culture here,” Wellington says. “I think Chicago does see itself as a very down-to-earth gritty city and the Irish part of its culture is pretty strong.” But is there something in particular at work within Irish playwriting that makes it so appealing to an American audience? Is there a common thread within the wide ranging body of work by successful Irish playwrights? “Yes; the dark humour,’ she laughs, recalling an English production of The Absence of Women by Owen McCafferty .


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Photos: Top - The Shadow Of A Gunman (Jackie Jasperson), Bottom - The Weir (Eileen Moloney)

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“There was a certain humour in the writing and certain despair in the writing. When I was in the audience in London people understood and appreciated it. “I brought it to Seanachai to read, we are considering it for our next season. I found that the Americans in our ensemble, that darkness, that deprecating humour; they found it far more despairing, it hit harder. They responded to it in a different way.” Stephan Watt is a professor of English at Indiana University and recently wrote Beckett And Contemporary Irish Writing. For Watt, the connection between different successful Irish playwrights is something slightly harder to define. “Modern Irish drama is a drama that’s constantly refining and exploring and innovating in terms of dramatic form,” he explains. “You take a play like Brian Friel’s Faith Healer... or any of Marina Carr’s radical experiments in form... The notion of very interesting dramatic forms and experimental forms I associate from the very beginning of Irish theatre as a project.” Watt discovered Irish theatre as an undergrad in the early seventies, and his passion and analysis of Irish theatre is palpable. Hearing an American academic reel off names of (relatively) obscure Irish writers and playwrights in between quoting Fintan O’Toole is as good a way as any to appreciate the esteem in which Irish theatre is held in the US. In recent years, Watt has been examining notions of traumatic memory, collective memory and performance. Given Ireland’s at times fraught history he believes there are many questions to be asked about how a nation’s ‘traumatic memory’ can translate into performance, be that on stage or through literature, or, indeed, any creative

expression. “[We explored] making analogies between nationally traumatic events and then remembering or memorializing those events, what can we say about these analogies, is it a just analogy? Is it an analogy from which we can learn?” Stephen asks, citing The Freedom Of The City by Brian Friel as a good theatrical example of this. And maybe the concept of analogies explain how successfully Irish theatre has translated to an American audience. Maybe the ‘Irish experience’ isn’t so unique after all. “I think Irish culture and the journey of the Irishman through history is very interesting to American audiences,” says Sarah Davenport. “Maybe because it’s their history even if it’s not directly, maybe they are Italian-American or Polish-American then they can identify very strongly with that journey, These people making their way as best they can.”

twenty one


vol 1. issue 3.

features

Becoming a real guitar hero Secretly, those of us who don’t know our power chords from our power lines still harbour ambitions of becoming rocks gods. Steven O’Rourke finds the software now exists to make our dreams come true As a teenager, I had a terrible habit of not doing things just because all my friends were doing it. For the most part, I don’t regret that. However, the one thing I do regret not doing is learning to play the guitar at 15 when no less than eight of my classmates began getting lessons. Indeed, it was the idea of getting lessons that put me off the most. In my head, when I was rocking out to AC/DC on the CD player, I was a rock god. There was no way some stuffy music teacher was going to teach me some three-chord-trick Simon & Garfunkel number. Because of that, I spent my early college years attending two or three gigs a week, immersing myself in music but really having no idea how the guitarists on stage were doing. As I began to write about music more, I decided it was time to change that. I bought a guitar and began to teach myself. This was the time before YouTube so most of my education came from songbooks – which are shockingly expensive – and listening to CDs and trying to work things out. Sometimes I’d nail a song in a day or two; sometimes I never got it quite right. Now though, a group of three engineers and programmers have developed software to take all the hassle out of learning new songs that can also help professional and semi-professional guitarists with their work. With Riffstation, you can you can load any music file twenty two

from your collection and use its audio processing tools to learn, practice or even create new versions of existing songs According to Dan Barry, one of the engineers behind Riffstation and bass player with The Black Triangle, a piece of software like this was inevitable. “The three of us (Dan Barry, Mikel Gainza and Martin Gallagher) are all engineers, all programmers and all guitar players. We had worked together on different projects for a number of years in the DIT Audio Research Group. “When we finally did decide to form an audio software company, Riffstation was the obvious first candidate for release since it’s so close to all our hearts. It’s really great to work on something that you love and even better when you find yourself using it all the time. “We were our own first customer,” says Barry. The Riffstation software has key three components. The first, ‘Jam Master’, provides a music slowdown tool, a pitch/key shift tool and an instrument extraction tool. For the beginner, this means you can slow down complicated solos or difficult pieces of music in order to hear individual notes. What makes Riffstation different is that it can slow the music down without changing the pitch of the note. This part of the software also allows you to change the tuning of your favourite song without changing the tuning of your guitar. The second component is ‘Chord Viewer’, which automatically calculates and shows you the chords


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of any song and shows you the chord diagrams synchronised with the music as it plays. Barry admits that while this section isn’t perfect, “it does recognise major, minor and 7th chords with about 80% accuracy for basic songs in auto mode”. “That gives you a really good road map of the song to begin with but, if you do spot an error, you can also use the chord edit tool correct mistakes or add different chord types.” The final component is ‘Riff Builder’ which is aimed more at professional and semi-professional musicians as it allows you to rearrange the music to create brand new riffs and backing tracks from your own music. “’Riff Builder’ is probably the craziest of all tools in Riffstation,” says Barry. “It allows you to rearrange the beats of any song to create brand new riffs to use as backing tracks. Backing tracks or jam tracks are normally expensive to buy and can sound quite generic but, with this tool, you get the awesome sound you’re looking for.” Riffstation also provides an automatic metronome which is particularly useful when using the slowdown tool. Having used Riffstation for the last month (there’s a free trial available on riffstation.com), the greatest benefit is that, with an endless supply of music I can now learn, I find I’m much more motivated to pick up the guitar when I have 10 minutes free. This is exactly what the designers envisaged.

“For me, Riffstation is a tool you use to practice and explore the music you really like,” says Barry. “It’s not designed to fully replace traditional music teaching, but the tools we provide are aimed at fulfilling a small subset of functions normally associated with one-on-one learning, such as a teacher repeating a phrase of music for a student or slowing down a phrase to let the student see and hear the details. “Of course, Riffstation can work with any of your music night or day. This is the big advantage.” I’m not yet Jimi Hendrix. Nor, I suspect, will I ever be a guitar hero. However, a tool like Riffstation has taken the fear out of learning new songs and playing real music is a lot more satisfying than mashing four plastic buttons on a game controller.

twenty three


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Missed a previous edition of De\Code? Not to worry. You can read each issue of De\Code, Ireland’s free arts and culture magazine online at wewilldecode.com. If you want to get involved, have an idea for a feature piece or if you’re a student of a journalism course in Ireland and would like to have your voice heard through the magazine each month then drop us an email - wewilldecode@gmail.com If you haven’t already connected with us online, here’s where to find us. Keep an eye on the De\Code Facebook page too for competitions, album giveaways and ticket giveaways between editions.

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sigur r贸s the cast of cheers alt-j sleep thieves the temper trap seamus fogarty hot chip duke special the walkmen red sail

twenty seven


The Cast Of Cheers FAMILY [SCHOOLBOY ERROR]

The Cast of Cheers released their debut album Chariot at the beginning of 2010 to a wave of fanfare and acclaim. It’s since been deleted and replaced, if you will, with Family, which the band recorded after moving to London. For those lucky enough to have experienced Chariot, nothing can replace the feeling of pressing play and hearing ‘Goose’ for the first time. So, many will come at Family with the idea that it’s a follow-up. We get a rerecorded ‘Goose’, which makes gentle turns from the original but is still unmistakeable. Throughout Family there are hints of Foals and doses of math-rock sensibilities, but the Cast of Cheers move so fast that these (lazy) comparisons get left behind in the dust. Vocals are often yelped, repeated, alter slightly and yelped some more, as exemplified on the opener and title track. It’s a repetitive tactic that gets people onside early. ‘Pose Mit’ however, is an early misstep, almost too repetitive, though the overloaded outro rectifies things. Confidence oozes from Family, whether it be twenty six

the controlled mayhem of ‘Human Elevator’ and ‘Trucks At Night’ or the smooth pop heart that beats through ‘Animals’ and ‘Palace And Run’. These latter tracks are the surprises in the arsenal. They’re restrained, never feeling the need to revert to what some may have thought of as type on Chariot. The latter track is a heartbreaker mixed with a tune sure to make festival souls sour and with singer Conor’s voice close to breaking. “When I leaned to warm you your lips whispered ‘oh’,” he mournfully remembers. It’s a similarly mature tale on ‘Go Getter’, full of aspirations and a reassuring tale of friendship. These are the tracks that will see people falling for the Cast of Cheers and returning to the album in their droves. “Circumstances controlling our goals, and they call it a race,” Conor sings on the closer. If it is a race, the Cast of Cheers are Usain Bolt. EO’S

EO’S: Eoghan O’Sullivan; SB: Steven Byrne; SO’R: Steven O’Rourke; EK: Elaine Kirwan;

irish reviews

vol 1. issue 3.


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Seamus Fogarty God Damn You Mountain Fence

You can close the voting on the most unexpectedly delightful Dublin trio Sleep Thieves’ Islands album of the year already EP is a collection of high quality, throaty electro goodness. Sorcha Brennan’s angelic because God Damn You Mountain has that preternatural voice deploys an eerie spectre across category wrapped up. At first glance, this record soundscapes of throbbing keys, bass and beautiful screams tweed jumpers and unkempt beards but, bleeps. At times Brennan’s voice is reminiscent of while it doesn’t betray its folk roots, the addition Natasha Khan and Ladyhawke, while the music of raw field recordings and unexpected loops and beeps by Mayo man Fogarty creates an album that has a suitably dark yet uplifting quality to it. ‘Out Of The Darkness’ plays like a baroque cello enraptures and enamours in equal measure. interlude transferred to a Moog while ‘Oceans’ Songs such as Appletree and Rita Jacks Lament exist contains strange, morphing Beauty and the in some space between simplicity and complexity Beast vocal exchanges that create an enjoyable that make them almost impossible to describe as midpaced sci-fi lullaby. The gritty swaggering anything other than empyreal. fuzz bass of ‘Spirit Animal’ takes Sleep Thieves God Damn You Mountain deserves to be heard by successfully into more hardcore territory; think a wider audience than just those who peruse the ‘Goose’. Islands sees Sleep Thieves move beyond folk section of record stores. potential to the ranks of quality assured. SO’R

SB

Duke Special Oh Pioneer Adventures In Gramophone

Red Sail Paper Cutouts EP Self released

It’s fitting, in a month that saw the last Transit of Venus for over 100 years, that Duke Special’s new album Oh Pioneer begins with a love song to astronomers called ‘Stargazers of the World Unite’. With a refrain that asks “how am I going to get to heaven;” the song sets the tone for Peter Wilson’s most introspective album to date. At times brooding and curmudgeonly, at times sweet and tender, there’s a sense that Wilson isn’t entirely happy with his lot on Oh Pioneer and this is reflected in the abandonment of his normal acoustic styling for a more electronic approach on this LP. It may sound a bit repetitive in parts but the strength of tracks likes ‘Condition’ and ‘Lost Chord’ alone should make this an important part of the Duke Special oeuvre in years to come. . SO’R

The opening track on the Paper Cutouts EP sets out what Red Sail present as a whole: contemporary folk layered with warm instrumentation and a beautiful blending of voices. ‘Twists’ is an atmospheric track enhanced with a twinkling of glockenspiel, while ‘Tracks in the Long Grass’ is the perfect example of the male/female vocal dynamic. Standout ‘Sitting at the Keys’ is an engulfing number awash with captivating piano laments and strong vocals, but it is the genuine emotion of the lyrics that make it so special. In their year together, Red Sail have garnered a lot of attention on the Dublin music scene. They create charming, atmospheric folk with an indie sensibility. Nothing on the EP is groundbreaking, but the beauty of Red Sail’s music is in its simplicity. EK twenty seven

irish reviews

Sleep Thieves Islands EP Self Released


international reviews

vol 1. issue 3.

Sigur Rós

Fresh from his second appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest, Jónsi and the rest of the Sigur Rós crew are back with a new album, Valtari. I jest of course; that was a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT Icelander by the name of Jónsi prancing around the stage in Baku, but, four years after Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, everyone’s favourite post-rockers are back with a record that makes you wish it was the same person. There’s a change of pace about Valtari. It’s certainly a mellower affair, with far less crossover potential, than either Með or its predecessor Takk… and yet manages to still sound like every Sigur Rós album ever made. If a band could make a career out of providing musical accompaniment to TV talent show audition montages, Sigur Rós could definitely apply. The band is, perhaps, a victim of its own success. When you’ve made a career from painting landscapes with your music, it’s very difficult to return to the same themes, with the same tools, and not produce a record that sounds like it’s twenty eight

been recorded five times already. So while Valtari challenges the listener in a way that all good records should, there is, alas, no real pay off as even the crashing crescendo on a track like ‘Varúð’ sounds all too painfully familiar. It’s not all bad, how could it be with such accomplished musicians? ‘Varðeldur’, for example, swells the heart and ‘Ég Anda’, the album opener, takes you through the band’s entire repertoire of tricks in 375 seconds of joy. However, there’s a sense that Valtari could be the ultimate fan record; an effort by the band to rid themselves of the posers who bought their back catalogue when they heard ‘Hoppípolla’ soundtrack some documentary or another and retain those who’ve been around since the beginning. If that is the case, it could well work as there is little here to keep the casual listener entertained. Sadly, it’s just as likely the band has finally run out of ideas and produced a post-rock record for the dad-rock generation. SO’R

SO’R: Steven O’Rourke; EO’S: Eoghan O’Sullivan; SB: Steven Byrne

VALTARI (EMI/XL)


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The Temper Trap The Temper Trap Infectioius

Alt-J’s debut album An Awesome Wave is a quirky collection of songs. The Leeds quartet have manged to combine an affection for triangles with beat laden indieboard folk without looking like complete nerds in the process. Joe Newman’s vocals are mostly indecipherable yet completely engaging as the listener is drawn towards his tone and flamboyant delivery which ranges from triphop urban trickster to sage celt. Single Breezeblock gives the Wild Beasts sound an urban twist. The feelgood Talking Heads-esque jitterbug keyboard riffs of Dissolve Me are destined for this summers indie disco play list. While the Middle Eastern Bhangra riffs on Taro are an unexpected joy in a song about death. An unexpected gem that matures with each listen.

When the youths of England took to the streets of London last August to express their hatred of ‘the man’ and love of ‘the man’s iPads and flatscreen televisions’, little did they know their worst crime would be to inspire a song on Australian soft-rockers The Temper Trap’s eponymous second record. We can only hope that the law comes down hard on these feckless youths, for The Temper Trap is the music equivalent of a prison shank; thrown together, ill-conceived and likely to cause harm. There’s a sense that The Temper Trap was, in their own mind’s at least, to be the Antipodean band’s Kid-A. Instead, it sounds like a bad tribute to whatever Coldplay’s worst record might be. There is so much music out there waiting to be discovered. It’s a shame to have to waste time on a record like this. SO’R

SB

HOT CHIP In Our Heads Domino

THE WALKMEN Heaven Bella Union

With LCD Soundsystem out of the picture, the dancefloor is primed for Hot Chip to fill it. Following numerous side projects, the five members of Hot Chip have reconvened to create In Our Heads, an album where all five members were involved in the song process. Four tracks in, they offer us the reflective refrain, “look at where we are, remember where we started out”. It’s the first slow moment of In Our Heads, and follows three stomping tracks, any one of which can more than hold their own to James Murphy. The centrepiece, however, is the combination of ‘Night & Day’ and ‘Flutes’, a seven-minute epic on which Alexis Taylor’s always assured vocal chords are the stars. Hot Chip’s greatest hits collection is going to be pretty memorable – and plenty of tracks off In Our Heads will feature prominently. EO’S

The tone of The Walkmen’s sixth album may be defiant but you can forgive the New Yorkers for airing grievances they may have: going since the turn of the century, they still invariably get tethered to the city’s other favourite guitar band, The Strokes – and when was the last time they were relevant? There’s something different to Heaven, as well. It’s less intense, more reflective. The vocals don’t strain as much, the guitars aren’t as heavy – have the Walkmen tired of themselves? Indeed, only on the album’s title track do The Walkmen offer what we expect of them. 2012 finds the band at a crossroads. Perhaps, with Heaven, it’s time for The Walkmen to depart this world. EO’S twenty nine

international reviews

Alt-J An Awesome Wave Infectious


features

vol 1. issue 3.

The wild thing rests Elaine Kirwan mourns the loss of the renowned children’s author Maurice Sendak, who lit up the lives of children, and their children after them

“It is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.” – Maurice Sendak Very few books have stood the test of time, initially being rewarded the affection of a three-year-old, then retaining a permanent place in the hearts and minds of children and teenagers. However, the books of Maurice Sendak, who died on 8 May from complications following a recent stroke, were, and continue to be, essential ingredients of childhood for millions of people around the world. Maurice Sendak is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in children’s literature of the 20th century. His collection of nearly 10,000 works of art, manuscripts, books and ephemera are evidence of his great work, making him one of the world’s most respected and loved artists. But his greatest legacy was his unique and beautiful philosophy on childhood itself. In Sendak’s world, childhood is full of beauty and of promise, but it can also be frightening, confusing and painful. Sendak was born in Brooklyn on 10 June, 1928. Growing up marred by frequent illness and looming terrors, such as the Great Depression, the second world war and the Holocaust, in which many of his European relatives lost their lives, his childhood was often terrifying. His life was tainted with struggle and with loss. Sendak’s lifelong concern with how scary childhood can be was reflected in his work: Where The Wild thirty

Things Are, a story about a boy called Max and his journey to a land of monsters that turn hostile, depicts huge and grotesque snaggletoothed creeatures; We Are All In The Dumps With Jack And Guy focused on homeless children in the age of AIDS; In the Night Kitchen, blending fragments of his Brooklyn childhood, shocked people with its depiction of a naked boy hero; while Outside Over There was inspired by Sendak’s obsession with the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932. Book after book, Sendak abandoned the traditions of American children’s storytelling and set his tales in a dark, terrifying, yet beautiful world he created, a world that existed halfway between wakefulness and dreaming. Of his methods, Sendak has said, “I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” Instead, Sendak spent over 60 years of his life being honest, writing and drawing how children truly feel. This is what has made his work so universally appealing. This is why children, teenagers and adults return to his books time after time. For the truth. For Maurice Sendak, a man who unashamedly reminded us that fear can be comforting. My Brother’s Book - a posthumous picture book illustrated by Maurice Sendak and inspired by his love for his late brother, Jack – is due to be published in February 2013.


features

vol 1. issue 3.

All eyes on Éigse Ken McGuire looks ahead to some of the key highlights of this year’s Carlow Arts Festival, taking place across 8-17 June.

First run as a weekend event in 1979, Éigse Carlow Arts Festival kicks off in earnest on 8 June with ten days of arts and cultural events, transforming Carlow into the cultural hub of the South East for the first of the region’s big summer festivals. The festival embraces all things music, theatre, literature, family, local culture and visual arts. Here’s a look at some of the big events coming by way of Carlow until 17 June. Great Expectations 12 June Visual, Carlow For one night only, the people of Carlow have the chance to catch Hotbuckle’s (UK) interpretation of this Dickens classic. Five actors portray all roles in this production, combining all the comedy, mystery, violent melodrama suspense and poignancy of the original. Everything Can Be Done, In Principle 9 June – 26 August Visual, Carlow I had the pleasure of chatting with artist Brian Duggan a few weeks ago on The Arts Show to get the inside track on Everything Can Be Done, In Principle, a throwback to America’s 19th century mid-western frontier. The installation evokes Hollywood rule-breaking Heaven’s Gate as the main gallery at Visual is converted into a timber and canvas barn, complete with roller-skating rink and period costume for the festival. Audience participation is very much encouraged with costumes and free skate use provided. Borris House Hay Festival 9 – 10 June Borris House, Co. Carlow Curators Eleanor O’Keefe (5x15 Stories) and thirty two

Vivienne Guinness have programmed a huge weekend of international writers in conversation at Borris House. Poet Kerrie Hardie, author Colm Toibin, Craig Brown, comedy writer John Lloyd (Spitting Image, Blackadder, QI), Sean Hardie (Not the Nine O’Clock News), Ben Anderson, playwright Marina Carr, Lir director Loughlin Deegan and John Banville are only some of the names speaking over the opening weekend of the festival. History Festival of Ireland 9 – 10 June Lisnavagh House, Co. Carlow Curated by author and historian Turtle Bunbury, this is (and correct me if I’m wrong) Ireland’s very first history festival, an initiative of Éigse and wholly integrated into the Éigse calendar for 2012. The weekend promises high-octane historical banter covering topics from Brian Boru to the legacies of Catholicism and Empire and everything in-between. Tullow Street Popup Shops Tullow Street, Carlow 8 - 17 June I’m delighted to see more local authorities and letting agents work with festivals and arts groups to provide short-term access to empty properties. Éigse too benefits from this as a number of artists will open shops along Carlow’s Tullow Street for the duration of the festival. The result is a series of small art galleries and craft boutiques that join artists with mentors to allow them run the spaces as commercial entities for the duration of the festival. Heading down to Tullow Street, you might bag yourself a tasty festival bargain. For full details on this year’s festival, check the website at eigse.com.


25 Wexford St, Dublin 2

WaV Tickets 1890200078

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‘Lily of the Valley’ Album Launch thurSday 7th June // €10

Honningbarna

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The Rattling Kind Northside folksters The Rattling Kind blend modern indie and old-school folk in a series of alluringly energetic ditties. The five-piece have graduated to larger venues and arrive on The Academy 2’s stepping stone stage on 15 June. Tickets are €10 or you could win a pair by emailing us the name of a band found on The Rattling Kind’s long Facebook influence list. The Plea Tickets Having returned from London with a soaring indie album in hand, The Plea unveil their welltravelling influences in their home base once again. They play Upstairs at Whelan’s on the 14 June, with tickets €8. Tell us which American city became The Plea’s home for a full year, though, and we might well chuck you a pair for free. Leaders Of Men Leaders Of Men burst onto the Dublin rock scene when they found themselves supporting the likes of Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini after winning the top prize on Guinness’ ‘Play On The Day’. Celebrate the release of their second EP at The Workman’s Club on the 16 June. Email us the name of any Leaders Of Men song to be in with a shout at free tickets. Enter one, or all three, by emailing wewilldecode@gmail.com with the correct answers. All tickets kindly provided by Dublin’s biggest live music promoter, MCD.

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FRANCESCA MARTINEZ Saturday 30th June // €15

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Profile for De\Code Magazine

De\Code Magazine Issue 3 - June 2012  

The June issue of De\Code magazine features an alternative look at Poznan and Gdansk as Irish fans descend on Poland for Euro 2012, the arts...

De\Code Magazine Issue 3 - June 2012  

The June issue of De\Code magazine features an alternative look at Poznan and Gdansk as Irish fans descend on Poland for Euro 2012, the arts...

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