A relatively new project that began in April 2021 involving Dublin based Conor Walsh, we kick off Motionless with a short introduction, Vines, and is essentially a calling card for what you will hear developed throughout the whole record. Walsh is an alt-electronic artist, thereby you can expect ambient sounds plus hard-hitting beats and some heavy guitars to boot. This is his self-produced plus self-released debut and took about 18 months to put together.
No vocals, so of course most of this would suit a modern soundtrack, but I am interested to hear where he wants to take us on this purely instrumental alt-electronic journey. A man whose heart I can hear lies heavily with Massive Attack as much as it does with the work of Barry Adamson and the extremely broad term of World Music. Press support so far from the likes of Rock Sound and BBC Introducing has been positive pointing to the fact there is someone out there that thinks there is something interesting going on here. Personally, I don’t.
Cinematic definitely, but also with an intensity found in modern day rock music, mixed with ambient sounds and textures and you’re there. Second track, The Blackhole Paradox, is a great title and introduced via an arpeggio synth and beefed up with heavy guitar to add to the drama feeling straight out of a movie chase scene. The problem is, are there enough people to listen to this at home or on headphones without any sort of visuals? It has its ethereal moments but is seriously lacking any kind of focus, i.e. actual ‘songs. These are experimental, instrumental passages, no more and no less.
Rising Tides welcomes in a new atmosphere with more of a trip-hop kind of thing reminiscent of something released early 2000s when anyone with a synth and a home studio was open to experimenting and a self-release. It’s an enjoyable enough listen and well executed, but I can’t see a commercial side, it’s experimental and should be listened to and left in the recording studio from where it came.‘Post-rock’ is mentioned in the press release but don’t be fooled, there isn’t any, just a heads up in case you were looking for nods to Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the like.
purely instrumental alt-electronic journey…
Up next is Motionless which has a melancholy and fragility to it the rest of the album doesn’t and is all the better for it. Nice but it lends itself so much to adding visuals I feel. Four Corners welcomes in more of an Afro Celt Sound System world music vibe which may interest Real World Records fans, but it’s all becoming a bit muzak for me and I guess they get sent tons of this kind of thing every day. This is destined for the next elevator in your local high-rise hotel or office block.
Distorted Views is well executed, however, like the rest of this album it lacks heart. The technical ability and ideas are there, but as a fully-fledged project, it lacks so much. Deep Within and the last two tracks, Signs and Tranquillity, could be marketed as relaxation compositions, however, the market is flooded with these, plus the days of sadly deceased Martyn Bennett and Afro Celt albums selling thousands via the aforementioned Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records, I guess are long over.
I must add that I am a little surprised the likes of Hot Press and Rock Sound music magazines are getting behind this because it’s okay as a debut release, but I can’t see its market and again it lacks so much which is necessary to pull in your average music fan. Ideal as a demo for showing off your NS-10’s in the home studio, but as something you would return to again and again, I very much doubt if I am alone in thinking one listen will be enough.
Scribed by: Tim Keppie