Spinning, smashing, mixing; these actions are at the heart of Oreing, Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh’s solo viola debut album, released by the Fort Evil Fruit label. Concher, the title of the first track, refers to a person who operates a mortar and pestle-like machine that grinds and warms ingredients to refine flavour and texture; a perfect introduction to the album, conceptually and sonically.
Minimalism, drone, stabbing atonal noise, buzzing textural examination, sawing riffing repetition, communal folk warmth, fluttery classicism; these diverse elements are ground into fantastic and exciting shapes. The playing is virtuousic but unshowy, rapid and fluctuating but with a unity of purpose. This is all broadcast with an urgent immediacy, but a depth that rewards repeated listening. The tunes are beautiful, picked out hesitantly, tangents explored, main routes returned to. Concher does this with perfection, a melding of forward thrust and slamming-the-brakes-on stops to turn over a particular gesture for closer inspection. This sense of curiosity is another quality of Oreing: ideas are flipped, frowned at, tossed aside, adopted with enthusiasm. This is music alive with constant creation and ever renewing possibility.
Elsewhere on Oreing: scraping abstraction, big romantic flourishes, jarring disruption, the repetitive stabs of a Psycho shower scene or Jaws cruise. Strings bent and bowed in the forging of a coiling, wriggling density; noisy clogs occasionally and suddenly stretching out into free space, like an over-packed bowl of noodles explosively hitting a kitchen floor. Swirling psych third-eye whirlpools, a murmuration of creaky hinges swooping in breath-taking flight. This is all conjured by the magic of Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh’s brilliant musicianship. She is prolific, inventive and imaginative. Her recent duo release as Swiss Barns is another essential listen (reviewed by Ears For Eyes here).
Oreing has found an ideal home at Fort Evil Fruit, a label that offers a consistently interesting stream of releases across an eclectic spectrum of sound; this release is one of their very best.