Neil O'Connor is a long-standing stalwart of progressive alternative music in Ireland, and best known for his work as Somadrone. Check out Our Ears Were Like Canyons, or Reckoning featuring David Kitt, on your streaming platform of choice, especially if modern mavericks like Nils Frahm or Pantha Du Prince are to your liking.
For Relative Phase, O'Connor ensconced himself in a studio in the National Concert Hall with a cast of collaborators and friends over the course of a year, including Seán Mac Erlaine, Linda Buckley, Kate Ellis and John McEntire, from post-rock pioneers Tortoise, who guests on the sublime freeform electronic composition Goya.
Fluorescence, and the haunting Commuter, are even better, as O’Connor creates a startling soundscape, sumptuously created with modular synths and moogs, and all sorts of gorgeous instrumentation.
For his next trick, O’Connor will showcase his new music at this weekend’s Open Ear Festival on Sherkin Island, Co Cork, with dates in Christchurch Cathedral and the Roundy in Cork to follow in early June.
Relative Phase could mark the start of something incredibly special from one of the country’s most consistent and intriguing under-the-radar artists.