Áine O’Dwyer’s Beast Diaries is a collection of field-recordings and ‘guerrilla’ live performances; comprising improvisations of pipe-organ playing, echoing vocal venue-explorations, chattering birds in communication with a church tannoy, and much rumbling environmental noise. These actions and events all took place in or around churches across Europe: in France, Bosnia, the Netherlands and England. The organ works vary across different practices: thick drone, disorientating psychedelic attacks, undulating throb. This is often accompanied with startling vocal interjections, echo-bouncing around stone surfaces like ghostly ricocheting bullets.
Witnessing Áine O’Dwyer performing her unique music live is an experience to be relished. In the gloom of a church balcony, blasting the audience with organ gusts, stopping to roll objects around an upper gallery, chucking a tambourine down onto the floor of the venue; or squat-walking, under a sheet, rubbing stones against a harp, wailing some sort of death-summoning song. Beast Diaries is a series of sketches; a scrapbook that wets the appetite for the rest of her output.
Sophie Cooper’s The Curfew Tower Recordings has a similarly wide-open ethos; a tape consisting of two long collaged tracks, pieced together from experiments in the stitching-together of voice and trombone, augmented with electronics. The material recorded here was created during Sophie Cooper’s residency at IMPOSE||LIFT, part of the Penthouse project at Bill Drummond’s The Curfew Tower. Buzzing drone, fuzzy caustic circles, sighing vocals intoning wordless ceremonies, animalistic trombone lowing, stormy turbulence and menacing clatter; a weather system in sound. The album is dotted with ‘Dial-a-bones’ – recordings, from a phone box, of Sophie Cooper taking requests for personalised trombone improvisations.
Sophie Cooper and Áine O’Dwyer are artists united in strangeness. Their work appearing new but plumbing depths of age, sounding like ancient ritual repurposed for mind-opening music; far-out weirdness that will dig into your brain, leaving you altered and freshly attuned.