New Music // Cian Nugent
I was turned onto the forthcoming release Doubles by Cian Nugent late last night when I really should have been doing other things. Expecting little more than nice background music, I was very quickly drawn deeper and deeper into the piece, which is split into two suites, each around 20 minutes in length.
I first heard Cian’s music a couple of months back on the back of a blog post (I can’t seem to locate it in my history now) and was quietly impressed but not exactly bowled over. I could see what he was doing, and was particularly interested by the amount of attention he paid to the overall atmosphere of his pieces, but I felt at times he favoured flashiness over substance. As a lapsed classical guitarist of ten years I know how easy that trap is to fall into.
Those were all shorter pieces, though, and Doubles is an entirely more engaging beast. It’s a complete volte-face from what I’d heard before and what I expected to hear again. The reasonably high tempo and upbeat blues influences of the tracks I’ve heard have been set aside; in its place he’s created a slow-burning, dynamic piece that sets brooding, morose passages with tonnes of natural reverb against brief but joyous bursts of manic intensity, helped by the addition of drummer David Lacey and clarinetist Seán Mac Erlaine.
Cian launches the album tonight at the Button Factory with support from Wooden Wands and Seth Horatio Buncombe. Tickets are €10 on the door. I’d love to go along and catch the show (honestly, €10 for three acts? Bargain) but I am currently suffering from the ignominy of bank balance with exactly €0.76. I’ll make sure to catch him next time he’s out but you should probably just save yourselves the ignominy (that word again) and do it tonight.
Head over to NPR to read Cian’s detailed explanation as to how the album came about in the way that it did, and scroll down to stream the album in two parts: ‘Sixes & Sevens’ and ‘Peaks Troughs.’ I marginally prefer the former but it’s worth listening to the whole piece in its entirety.