Tolling for the Mute

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…no, really.

Just think about that for a moment. Good joke right? A little giggle.

Or the potential to use the internet to its fullest extent to drive up the audience for local music – and if by chance, by some glorious piece of luck, our little open offer of one hell of a fucking show here in Belfast this November at the MTV European Music Awards, and preceding festivities (of which there will be many, from festivals through individual gigs, art events, exhibitions and everything in between) reaches the ears of Mr. Sheen

All the better.

Our message is this.

“Mr. Sheen, Charlie, come on over here and have some fun. See what we have to offer, listen to our music and if you like what you hear, can you help us share the love – I promise you we are after something good. A win as you so aptly put it.

Music can change the world, let’s change it.”

So Charlie, what do you say? I’ve even went to the trouble of creating a Facebook event and everything to get the hopes up of many that you’ll come…

Let’s Get Charlie Sheen To The Belfast MTV Awards, Go!

…and, maybe if we get ‘Charlie Sheen’ to see just what sort of tiger-blood we have in our souls here in Northern Ireland he can help us tell the rest of the world too? Along the road to Charlie, we could see how many other ears our message falls upon.

Or it could just be a nice stroke of internet humour that will brighten up your morning.

So, let’s get Charlie Sheen to the Belfast MTV European Music Awards!

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First off, let me clear one thing up…

They are not edible (but you could compare them to a dirty great big audio churning monster, a fierce and hungry one that inhabits the filth ridden corners of Belfast’s industrial district) and believe me, I’ve tried to munch down on Rory Donaghy before – he was having none of it. He is pure of soul. Solid. Like the snake.

…did I actually just say that?

Like some sugary treat slowly congealing in the kitchen – left untouched by your mother as she’s unsure of exactly how it’s going to take being peeled off the floor – the Donaghy brothers Luke, Rory and Sir John of Quinn have been creating something of a ripened sound over the last year. Has it really been that long in the making? Now we’re not talking MojoFURY here, or spans of a century spent in the studio before music is realised, slowly sharpened to a point before being set loose on the world…

…but Chocolate Love Factory have been banging away at their cake now for time enough.

LD: “The best thing about working on this over the last year was actually recording rough riffs on a phone.”

…and I do remember some hype about iPhone technology and tracking songs, everyone was at it. Except me of course.

RD: “It’s been mostly fun. Watching our progression has been pretty cool. About a year ago, no one knew who we were, but now, we’ve made a few good contacts within the current generation of big bands in Belfast, and influential people like yourself (ED: I swear he said that and not me). Some of these people are the coolest, nicest people I’ve met in my life, and I met them all because I play music.”

It goes without saying that all of this slaving and any progression made has been rightfully of their own accord; on phones, and in studios across the land (working here with the inimitable Mudd Wallace) so you’d expect it to echo its roots – and by fuck it is from the wrong side of the tracks. You couldn’t have it any other way. Once mum’s finished in the kitchen and hears this banging out of your room you’ll be told off quicker than if she’d caught you with the dog, pants down at your ankles, stupid grimace frozen on your face.


The double helping of sexual power rock that this is opens like something out of a Resident Evil soundtrack (the game, not film here now lads) before the music lands on top of you; and boy does it travel once it starts going. Driving repetitive guitars and rapt drums blast down into your head; and they are big drums. In that familiar American rock style that stands on its own two legs within a song and walks around a bit in the middle.

Then there is that hook. Instantly recognisable, wrought with movement, loved and yet at the same time all too short. I want you to go on forever, but that’s why I’m not a musician. We’ve had some really recognisable songs over the last few years here in Belfast, but perhaps this one’s been overlooked – one of those you know but can’t quite place. Shame if so. Let’s hope it gets given ample opportunity to wander out into enough ears at their single launch down the Spring & Airbrake on the 23rd of this month.

RD: “For the single launch we’ve decided to try and put on our biggest, maddest and hopefully best show to date. We’re all very excited. The line-up’s amazing, now all we need are the spectators!”

Dripping with confidence and style, Rory’s voice brings into the music a crushing sinister delight with every not quite cynical but smart lyric. Each one so distinctly drawn and laden with intent that I’m left leaning to listen and trying to move with the music at the same time (stirred into the mix as it is). It draws you in. It is fun. Genuine, big boys playing here now, fun. Not something I’ve heard locally too often. Say, like a budding LaFaro.

Carrying on from Rat Bag into Texty Texty are some cyclic rhythms and statements that sway softer to the touch. Sticking out is that droning lustre which rings so strongly of early Foo Fighters – not quite as open and melodic, but still strong and full of that ‘wall of energy’ that just nips at the synapses. Think car journeys in mad comedy films from the nineties.

Sunglasses on. Hair flung back as the wind flicks around the convertible, the motorway ripping past the protagonists, partners in crime lolling over the side of their car as the camera pans back.

Movie starts.

Ultimately, this just rocks. No need to complicate it. It opens as rock and it ends as a ‘slightly’ different type of rock. Is that progressive rock?

Good, listen to it.

…and if you’ve somehow managed to snare a date that with that magical feminine creature that happens to have tattoos, sexy dark hair, and likes to move – get her involved. This music has a purpose, and it is her.

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It’s not without reason that after the first two musical collections from Kasper Rosa that one would expect this too should contain a veritable stew of musical ideas – alongside their playful nature of softly smashing together the odd style with another of course. Just for fun.

…and not in the least bit because they’ve still not left the nest of youth that sometimes kills the beauty of simple invention.

They have invested effort and idea into everything they’ve come up with so far, and with considerably palatable results for an ‘instrumental band’, that glorified type of music that often can grate the soul hard with its lack of range. So. I went on the hunt to find one of them. Well, him. That one guy. He is hairy, but that doesn’t discount his opinion – James Bruce (the man behind the sticks) was able to give me a little insight into their workings on this, the band’s latest single, Coronal Mass Ejection.

JB: “I guess the thing that really strikes me about Coronal Mass Ejection and the rest of the new material is that we are really comfortable in our own skin now. We have been teasing out the ideas for this since we last toured in June and July. So I guess as we see it, it has been a long time coming getting the track polished and recorded for everyone.”

Locking themselves away, then letting themselves back out – and out they have come into the night, sometimes to frolic with the rest of us after a hard evening of jabbing at guitars for four hours at a time ‘nailed to a chair for their own good’ – has seemingly given them the necessary cohesion to continue bending ears in their direction. The time since last June’s mini-album release has seemed startlingly long, and with many bands gaining the resources and the aim (to dream) a little bigger (darling) – perhaps this gap has been needed. Something to refresh and set the balance new. I’ll not lie, for me personally it is just a tiny bit aurally titillating.

JB: “It is being treated as the start of a new style of writing for us as we begin putting the pieces together for an album over the next year or so. It’s exciting to say the least, because for the first time our concept doesn’t dictate the music stylistically so we kind of have a completely blank canvas to work with. We’re trying to do more of everything, more textures, more riffs, more ‘spacey jams’…”

“Seriously though it is an interesting jump for us because we’re working as a really tight unit and the music I think shows that. I mean, in my opinion at least, the stuff were doing now we are insanely happy with.”

The track is quite frankly a little of all the above, lies there be not from the mouth of Bruce.

Speaking more of movements, than of three part singles (which I know someone out there will kill me for saying) Coronal Mass Ejection gradually builds you into the world of Kasper Rosa. It treats you to some beautiful melodies, and there is that friendly playfulness there – though now with a little more experience and notable practice on its side. I’d deny myself saying age, or maturity, as that may imply some form of weariness to their sound, which doesn’t ring at all with me. They’ve made a point of forcing this nine and a half minute ‘single’ to genuinely journey, to move, and to try to move you. It kicks in, it drives you for a while; but never quite scales the metallic, rough workings of their previous material. There is an intentional distance here. There are vocals for fuck sake.

Is this a sample of what Kasper Rosa want to try to be on their album, or just a singular showcase of the best from the well?

I’m answering neither until I hear the rest of the album, but I have nothing but hope as the single crashes on towards the end. It’s an audience mover, filled not so much with soaring as diving guitars – the kind that make runs on beachheads in preparation for the real thrust of the attack. It is the softer crescendo that I think makes this all feel more accomplished, less of length and with nothing dragging in the middle – which you can really feel a quiet connection with, not the need to skip ahead.

Clark Phillips of course has his hand at the landing controls working in tandem with the lads, and all of the little trappings of that kind of production work – some of which dangles the Angels And Airwaves (and the Tool) card at me, with radio spikes and little background pulses of static – echo the edges of these grander ideas. Speaking finally, and with a little hindsight of what was a fantastic showcase of the new material…

JB: “We will be debuting two new tracks which at the moment we plan on including on the album, tonight at the Coronal Mass Ejection launch show, so it will be interesting to see what people’s reactions are. I guess for us the most important thing is getting across the effort, time and love we put into what we do. If people get that then I think we will be happy.”

With the showcase going down an absolute storm and future material ahead on the horizon prepared like a landing force (now the strafing runs have been and gone), I think that the future for Kasper Rosa will be bright and shiny.

Or is that just the sun flaring again?

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