- 30 Sep 21
Irish artists channel the ghosts of historic Dublin building
In 2014 – long before playing to an empty room became the pandemic-era norm – Ross Turner began curating and producing a live album with a difference. The renowned Irish multi-instrumentalist, who was an artist-in-residence at the National Concert Hall at the time, brought some of the biggest and brightest names in Irish music inside the historic Earlsfort Terrace building, to record a series of one-off collaborations. Rather than focus on the NCH’s iconic stage, however, the artists – including Conor O’Brien, Lisa O’Neill, Paul Noonan, Lisa Hannigan and more – performed in bare, disused spaces, including abandoned stairwells, old lecture theatres and a former morgue.
Through both its unique setting and its criss-crossing of sounds and genre, In The Echo: Field Recordings From Earlsfort Terrace feels like an intersection between place, culture and history – with the artists channeling the spirits of Dublin’s past, present and future in their intimate performances.
From the eerie, ambient soundscape of Katie Kim and Seán Mac Erlaine’s ‘Empire One’, and the subtly sinister building of tension on Paul Noonan and Roger Moffatt’s ‘A Tenderness’, through to the haunting closing tracks ‘The Campanile’ and ‘MCMXIV’, many of the songs find their own ways to embody the strangeness of the setting. Conor O’Brien and Cian Nugent, meanwhile, offer a buoyant burst of energy on ‘Do I Care?’.
With careful handling, Turner has crafted an album that will be treasured for years, featuring unforgettable appearances from some of the most outstanding forces in Irish music. Like the classic 20th century field recordings of folk music, In The Echo is a deeply authentic portrait of a special moment in Irish culture – in which music and history are inextricably interwoven.
In The Echo – Field Recordings From Earlsfort Terrace is out now – and available as both a digital album and on vinyl on Bandcamp.