‘For’ - Una Monaghan - tradition coupled with musical experimentation(January 26, 2018)
The word ‘innovative’ describes this album, there’s also tradition coupled with musical experimentation. Without doubt, this album takes the harp places it never thought to go, sometimes rather beyond expectations. The mix of traditional and experimental with electroacoustic music, recordings and live electronics also takes the listener to some unusual places.
Opening with a delightful jig set ‘Tubaiste agus Taisceadán’ demonstrates a skilled artist at work, then ‘Realta’ follows with harp improvisation over taped electroacoustics – an entrancing soundscape experiment reminiscent of some early 70s avant garde electronic works. The charming ‘Mammy’s’ and ‘Nanny Nora’s and The Clean Player’ return a more traditional approach with ambient sounds, before ‘The Choice’ arrives with its wash of strange sounds and electronics – dark, threatening and ominous that some will consider ‘a hard listen’. The mix of harp and field recordings that make up ‘An Dearcadh’ evoke a series of images and impressions, the only issue being those listeners that find the recordings get in the way rather than add to the effect.
‘For’ is a singular piece of work that will doubtless polarise opinion – some will file it under ‘too difficult’, perhaps even categorise it as self-indulgent, others will find the entire aural illustration something utterly different and exciting.
Review: Charlie Elland