Guest Post: Scorched Psyche with John from Solar Bears

10 Dec 2012 — Tonje Thilesen

At the close end of June this year, our Dublin-based friend and 1/2 of the electronic duo Solar Bears wrote us an excellent audio-visual guest post, introducing exciting new musical acts from Ireland, suitably giving it the name "Landscape Strain". John Kowalski is perhaps one of the earliest when it comes to discovering new tunes from his homeland, so it actually made no sense to stop where the fun had started. Below, enjoy a fantastic selection of audio and photography merged together, this time (visually) curated by Dorje De Burgh. (ed.)  

Seasons have morphed since the last Landscape Strain, and so has the sonic terrain along with the faces and spirits behind it. Thankfully the standard has remained a constant. This piece is co-curated by my good friend Dorje De Burgh, who supplies his exquisite photography to compliment the work of the ten selected artists. We consulted each over the duration of five weeks to pick what we believed outlined what is going on from the Irish point of view, but that being said, there was much we reluctantly excluded. They will more than likely surface in their own right, their own time, in their own way; however is it is a real privilege for us to bring these people to your attention, as obliging and responsive as they are.


With strains from classic disco and Fleetwood Mac comes Ships, a Dublin-based duo comprised of Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath. It is not often one comes across such luscious vocals and supreme production values, boasting a formidable live reputation together with Cian from I Am The Cosmos on bass duties. I cannot get over the sequencing in this second half of this cut.

I was immediately drawn to Ickis Mirolo on account of its quality, but also how it somehow echoes from Vincent Gallo. The sparseness in the mix allows you to imprint your own experiences and images, something a lot of producers could capitalize to a more personal level too, in a way. One thing I frequently look for when it comes to art is alluding an event that has happened or is just about to. A veil being lifted to reveal a set of characters.

Yet another prodigy from Dublin, this time from a folk background: it's inevitable to fall for Tara Masterson's sultry charm if you have a soft spot for shoegaze and daydreaming. I am really looking forward to see how everything transpires for her in the coming months and years, especially considering her particularly broad and refined taste for such an early age.

Heralded by the likes of Aphex Twin and Autechre, my teenage friend Lakker creates beautiful techno at of the finest quality, producing sterling work for many years and are undoubtedly on the brink of a much deserved breakthrough.

David Kitt and Diamond Dagger have joined forces, together forming another exciting Dublin project under the name New Jackson. I had the distinct pleasure of watching their performance at Electric Picnic this year, which featured a stream of conscious vocals from David on a vintage Russian vocoder. A brand new EP will be released on John Talabot's label Hivern Discs in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled on this space.

Simon Bird is a unique composer who is impossible to pigeon hole, as his sound fluctuates from hip-hop to electronica or industrial. He possesses a palpable sensitivity of which is clear in the track provided, also receiveing a great deal of acclaim for his live performances. "Cinema" is unquestionably an influence on his style and aestethic.

A friend introduced me to Lumigraph this summer and I have been an avid follower ever since, as his particular rub makes me visualize a motorized music box in the distant future. It is going to be interesting to witness where he goes next and what else he reaches out to in terms of sonics: you can truly tell he has researched his craft at length.

It has been a really rewarding watching Monto develop over the past year or so, displaying an acute ear for percussion that definitely dates back to his training in jazz music. "Homage" is my personal favourite to date. 

Highly distinctive in both persona and output, Katie Kim is considered by many as an unsung hero and a supreme performer. Her narcotic lullaby tones, ghosted photography and experimental influences (of which she posts on a regular basis), frequently gives us the sense that she's is hinting at something that was cherished and lost in her wordings.

From my point of view, Sunken Foal might just be one of the most inspiring producers in the country, here showing off his extensive remix chops on Goodtime's wonderful "Like A River". You may want to investigate his Friday Syndrome Vol. 1, that was released earlier this year via Countersunk. It is a superlative sci-fi oddity from beginning to close.

To be continued.

Words by: John Kowalski 
Photography: Dorje De Burgh