Gareth Quinn Redmond and CR Gillespie: The Exquisite Corpse Shall Drink the New Wine

The Exquisite Corpse Shall Drink the New Wine
    
Artist: Gareth Quinn Redmond and C.R. Gillespie
Genre: Soundtrack
Label: Hidden Harmony Recordings

“An exercise in aleatoric sentence-finishing between two aligned performers [displaying] the economics of unconscious beauty-making in the spirit of mindful cinematography” is the kind of descriptive sentence that immediately tells you this isn’t the new album by Nathan Carter. The clue is in the album title, which is the name of an early 20th century parlour game – invented by French surrealists – in which a series of words or images is collectively gathered.

Transpose that to music and you have had over the years similar experiments by the likes of Brian Eno and others, but in the hands of Ireland's Gareth Quinn Redmond and Canada's CR Gillespie, there is something altogether different at play. For starters, they describe themselves as "ambient-adjacent artists", which suitably prepares the listener for a brace of 20 minutes-plus pieces of what at first sound like speculative and separate improvisations but which quickly unite into deep-dive listens.

The musicians are quick to point out that the resultant shape of the music is “not to be mistaken for an airy venture”, and they are right to do so. Recorded over one month in the summer of 2021, the coherence of the music hinges on mutual creative empathy; when underpinned by instrumentation that includes harmonium, tin whistle, tape-delay processes, synthesiser and violin, the outcome is fascinating.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture