Since his critically acclaimed release, ‘God Damn You Mountain’ in 2012; Mayo musician Seamus Fogarty has established himself as a seminal folk artist currently touring the UK and Ireland. Brought to the forefront under the wing of King Creosote (Kenny Anderson) and the Fence Collective; and more recently with Isle of Eigg independent label, Lost Map, (a shimmering new label created from the ashes of the Fence Collective which disintegrated in late 2013) Fogarty’s recent EP, ‘Ducks and Drakes’, is a skillfully collaged cacophony of sounds drowsy on the senses with feelings of homesickness, psychedelic blues and executed by an imagination that paints compositions like a multi-sensory gnawing of teeth.
At times like a nightmarish landscape of tension and sparsity, he disrupts the familiarity of the folk genre. Fogarty’s masterful control of guitar melodies hangs playfully with textured instrumentation stitching themselves intricately with digital glitches, synth effects and field-recording, forging themselves in a sound that is warm, homely and honest.
Ducks and Drakes title track begins with a somnambulistic guitar line that immediately sets the mood. This languidity creates an eeriness that is partnered by a complimentary rhythm which taps lazily underneath yet defines the geography of the song until it is then twisted out of recognition by what seems like a walk through a field of instrumentation created with broken household appliances (and a saxophone) – the highlight of the EP for sure!
Echos, delays and strikes of intermediary percussion creak like broken branches in a wilderness unnamed. These are treasures among the sounds interplaying in what might seem like a hoarders dream – one might only imagine Seamus Fogarty’s home as well as his mind to be filled with a trove of these artifacts from unknown origins worth digging through; but none the less, Fogarty finds a use for everything he touches and fills the soundscape with delightful textures harking to influences in the vein of New York experimental artist John Cage, as well as composers Christian Wolff and Morton Feldman.
Lyrically, Fogarty doesn’t let us down either. His words are picturesque and sculpt an image of a layaway day as he takes in the atmosphere around him watching the ‘paddle-boats patrolling floating in the pond’,… ‘posh dogs wearing Prada and Yves Saint-Laurent’, …’sunlight pouring through the trees’ … all adding to the dream-like essence of the tune, we are immersed in the amiable warmth of the lyrics where words are then plucked and sonically-visualised. Also stumble upon Seamus’ odd jesting candour and self-mockery, ‘you laughed at my knobbly knees’, a rare touch of gold!
Seamus Fogarty’s ‘Ducks and Drakes’ is out now on Lost Map Records. Available for digital download, and also on limited edition 12” vinyl with the added bonus of his previous album reissued and remixed by various artists on Lost Map/Fence Collective – well worth your time and a vigorous nod of approval. If you haven’t listened yet, don’t do anything else until you do – then check out ‘God Damn You Mountain’.