Linda Buckley: From Ocean’s Floor review – Moodily dark soundtrack

Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 05:00


From Ocean's Floor

Linda Buckley

NMC D258


Slow down. Chill out. Pull the curtains. Turn down the lights. These six works by Kinsale composer Linda Buckley engage with time as a sort of glacial force. The sound world is dominated by the stretched out dissolvings and morphings of electronic sounds.

This is the case even when the foreground is taken up with the highly distinctive, often melodically disjunct, sean-nós singing of four Irish-language love poems by Iarla Ó Lionáird in Ó Íochtar Mara (From Ocean’s Floor). This work, which gives the album its title, also features a quartet of string players from Crash Ensemble. Buckley’s own voice is more thoroughly integrated in Kyrie. And the blurring of identities between electronics and the tuned metal rods of percussionist Joby Burgess’s canna sonora is even greater in Discordia.

The voiceless works with strings such as Haza with the ConTempo Quartet and Exploding Stars with violinist Darragh Morgan, and the piano in Fridur with Isabelle O’Connell, traverse the divide altogether less persuasively.

Christopher Fox’s liner notes build on the late Bob Gilmore’s 2008 one-word summary of Buckley’s concerns as being “ecstasy”. For me, the pieces work more as a soundtrack for filmic depictions of moodily dark, implacable landscapes. The low-frequency shudders up the ante of the drones and the smearily lingering sounds.