Era Of Manifestations

by Raising Holy Sparks

With a new tongue I now will speak And keep the valley lowly I'll watch my thoughts and words this week And have them pure and holy Old Cross and Crabbed I will shun They make one feel so ugly I'd rather speak with Mother's tongue And keep her blessing snugly


Double Tape sold out.

'If you’re a prolific artist of any kind, especially a musician, it’s easy for some to misread your intentions and to cast your motivations in a suspect light. Too often, a high output is seen as a lack of self-control, or an arrogant, narcissistic resistance to self-editing. With the boon of home recording and micro labels that the internet has brought to bear, prolific output in the experimental music world has only increased in recent years. And for some, artistic bursts of creativity may erroneously scan instead as indulgence. This is a shame, for some of the great underground musicians of our time are also some of the hardest-working and consistently rewarding.

Irish folk-drone master David Colohan has worn many hats and assumed many guises over the years, from the dusty guitar minimalism of Agitated Radio Pilot to the collective British classicism of United Bible Studies to the glorious improvisational paint smears of Taskerlands. Raising Holy Sparks however is perhaps his most gentle, melodically-driven project, a gorgeous nest of lingering, melancholy acoustics and wistful, ghostly voices echoing from the ether. There are shimmering moments of chaotic, buzzing drone and swell here, as well, and stirring harmonies that draw from American folk and Sacred Harp music, also proving that Raising Holy Sparks may be Colohan’s most diverse project yet.

Spread across two beautifully-packaged cassettes from the Feathered Coyote label, Era Of Manifestations runs a remarkable gamut, broadening the RHS pallet to include sweet dalliances of free jazz (“Live Bait, Gas, Snacks, Maps, Six Packs & Bear Traps”), staggering Dirty Three-style post-rock (“A Farmland Infinity”), and spectral dronescapes (“‘I Went Southwest. Goodbye…’ [For Lew Welch]“. Also striking are the pieces drawing on American blues, bluegrass and folk, where softly choral voices mingle over delicately plucked banjo and scratchy violin, like listening in on an Appalachian porch-front evening old-time jam. The ability to shift effortlessly and naturally between such highlights as the Sacred Harp pieces and longer ambient workouts like the epic “The Great Bell On Dwelling House Rings, Calling Everyone Home” show a careful craftsmanship that illustrates how much careful consideration this troupe of motley guests put into this mammoth collection.

I’m lucky to have collaborated with Mr. Colohan myself in 2013, and I can say it’s with no trace of bias that I find Era of Manifestations one of the absolute crowning achievements in a long and brilliant sound-making career. Here, as always, Mr. Colohan proves why a younger generation of noise-tinkerers such as myself hold him in such crucial regard.' Zachary Corsa, A Closer Listen.

'Perhaps it's cheating to discuss an album released in October, but Era Of Manifestations is a sprawling double tape of epic enough proportions to require some months to simmer. Raising Holy Sparks is the brainchild of David Colohan, an Irish avant garde folky with a knack for drawn-out, acoustic-led drones in the vein of The Blithe Sons and Natural Snow Buildings, similarly littered with legitimate vocal ditties and all encased in field recordings to ensure the evocation of windswept natural drama. Guest players contribute plenty on Era, most vitally supplementing several jams with sax and gently jazzy percussion – reopening the dormant crossover between folk and free-jazz.

The interludes are rife with dark folk traditionalism, but it's the sheer filmic breadth and latent beauty of the colossal drone pieces that underlines Era Of Manifestations. The twenty minute 'The Great Bell On Dwelling House Rings, Calling Everyone Home' takes up most of side A, amalgamating oceanic dulcimer notes and acoustic guitar fingerpicking with languid synth drones and a something of saxophone-led crescendo. Far from sentimental, this music chooses a rather subtler approach, characterised by the sort of shrewd compositional touch often missing from rambling drone music.' Tristan Bath, The Quietus

'In times when people were more sensitive to the world around them, some of the lucky ones managed to find portals to other layers of habitual reality. Seemingly these worlds weren't so different - the river where it shouldn't be, another form of mountain peak or unknown type of grass in the field - but people went further and further, finding more and more differences. In some of these worlds you may found dead relatives, in others - very different people with other traditions and worldview. Some have stayed beyond the portal forever without being able to find a way back. It was rumored that they are opened only once a year on the new moon, but always in different places. But all agreed on one thing - those worlds seem better options of what is given to us, so regretted about lost not for long. The air there, beyond, was impregnated with a sense of something joyful and heady, and nature herself was stretching tender shoots towards people... Perhaps Earth created these dimensions in order to remind people about how their world was once or could be in the future. For the planet there is no time, just constantly recurring cycle of births and changing forms.

David Colohan music sounds like a nostalgia for this uncertain past-future. It opens as similar portal to the some very intimate dimension of strangely familiar and magical reality. It doesn't need intricate rituals, only an intuitive feeling of correctness of what is happening. Using a huge range of popular (and not only) instruments, which David plays himself, and in the company numerous friends, this album weaves the thread of the narrative as naturally as a spinner with easy spindle moves. Here is no any unwieldiness or oversaturation typical for the modern acoustic folk. But there is a wide range of moods - from frivolous proto-jazz to thoughtful ballads, from long and peaceful ambient sagas (which may remind Natural Snow Buildings) to anxiety and mysterious pulses of the natural magic. Nostalgia here is not minor, it blooms with warm colors of pleasant memories of minutes of unity with the world, whether it was heady freedom of the mountains or warmth of friendly company. Nostalgia here is not directed to permanently bygone past, it makes a circle through the private past and the common to all mankind past somewhere beyond the horizon of the future, clearly emphasizing elusive nature of the illusory present...

Music of this album have space and it filled with fresh air and saturated with the smell of herbs. It has lots of human feelings, but so pure that it seems like there is never were wars and cruelty to each other. It recalls something fundamentally common to all people, uniting the human race with the planet on which it was born. The feeling of something important and at the same time very simple, like a long-forgotten secret of childhood... Who knows. Maybe it was in another dimension?'

Во времена, когда люди были чувствительнее к окружающему их миру, некоторым счастливчикам удавалось находить порталы в другие слои привычной реальности. Вроде бы ничем принципиально эти миры не отличались - река, там где ее не должно быть, другая форма горы или незнакомый вид полевой травы, - но люди уходили в них все дальше, находя все новые и новые отличия. В каких-то из этих миров можно было встретить умерших родственников, в других - совершенно иных людей, с другими обычаями и мировоззрением. Кое-кто оставался за гранью портала навсегда, так и не сумев найти выход обратно. Поговаривали, что они открываются лишь раз в году на новолуние, но всегда в разных местах. Но все сходились в одном - эти миры казались лучшими вариантами того, что нам дано повседневностью, поэтому о потерявшихся недолго сожалели. Воздух там, за гранью, был пропитан ощущением чего-то радостно-пьянящего, а природа словно сама протягивала нежные ростки навстречу людям... Возможно Земля создала эти измерения для того, чтобы напоминать людям о том, каким их мир был когда-то или мог бы стать в будущем. Для планеты нет времени, а есть лишь непрестанно повторяющийся цикл рождений и смены форм.

Музыка Дэвида Колохана (David Сolohan) звучит как ностальгия по этому неопределенному прошло-будущему. Она раскрывается подобным порталом в измерение какой-то очень близкой и знакомой магической реальности. В ней нет замысловатых ритуалов, лишь интуитивное ощущение правильности происходящего. Используя огромный набор народных (и не только) инструментов, на которых Дэвид играет как сам, так и в компании многочисленных друзей, этот альбом вьет нить музыкального повествования так же естественно и легко, как прядильщица свивает овечью шерсть легкими движениями веретена. Не ощущается какой-либо громоздкости или перенасыщенности, характерной для нынешнего акустического фолка. Зато есть широкий диапазон настроений - от легкомысленно завивающегося прото-джаза к задумчивым балладам, от долгих и спокойных эмбиент-саг (которые могут напомнить Natural Snow Buildings) к тревожно-мистическим переливам природной магии. Ностальгия здесь не несет минорного отпечатка, но расцветает теплыми красками приятных воспоминаний о минутах единства с миром, будь то пьянящая свобода гор или тепло дружеской компании. Ностальгия здесь не направлена в безвозвратно ушедшее прошлое, она описывает круг сквозь прошлое личное и прошлое общечеловеческое куда-то за горизонт будущего, наглядно подчеркивая ускользающую иллюзорность настоящего...

В музыке этого альбома есть простор и заполняющий его свежий воздух, насыщенный ароматами трав. Есть в ней и много людского, но настолько чистого, что кажется будто не было никогда войн и жестокости людей друг к другу. Припоминается что-то фундаментально общее для всех людей, объединяющее человеческий род с планетой, на которой он был рожден. Ощущение чего-то важного и в то же время очень простого, словно давно позабытый секрет из детства... Кто знает. Может быть это было в другом измерении?

Mentre lo spettrale romanticismo di “For Fran, Etched In Glass & Water” ne aveva evidenziato un profilo di toccante camerismo ambientale, la doppia cassetta “Era Of Manifestations” riconduce, a partire dal supporto e dalla durata, la nuova incarnazione di David Colohan Raising Holy Sparks al composito terreno folk-drone i cui meandri il visionario artista irlandese aveva esplorato nel collettivo Agitated Radio Pilot.
Accanto a lui per l’occasione si muove un articolato ensemble che aggiunge alla già abbondante dozzina di strumenti da lui suonati (taluni piuttosto originali: dulcimer appalachiano, shruti elettronico, mandocello) una ricca galleria elettro-acustica che include dulcimer, theremin, organo a pompa, fiddle, sax, saz, balalaika e tanti altri ancora.

L’universo di un’ora e tre quarti che ne risulta è un incredibile viaggio trasversale tra tempi, stili e tradizioni, così come tra formati espressivi che spaziano da brevi invocazioni e frammenti ambientali a quattro piccole sinfonie dalla durata tra sedici e ventisette minuti che da sole occupano tre dei quattro lati del lavoro.
Evocazioni di ascetismo druidico e meditazioni ammantate dagli effluvi di spezie orientali si fondono così a improvvisazioni acustiche e “free”, sotto cieli percorsi da torbidi drone o popolati da riflessi di spaziale acidità sintetica.

La mano sapiente di Colohan ha miscelato elementi tanto numerosi ed eterogenei in una narrazione coerente, che si dipana con omogenea gradualità, riservando tuttavia infinite sorprese nel suo corso, tempestato di una miriade di inserti strumentali e/o vocali tale da ricombinare nel volgere di pochi minuti qualsiasi tentativo di definizione di genere. I fidi Michael Tanner, Richard Moult e Mike Gangloff, sono solo alcuni dei tanti artisti che hanno contribuito a “Era Of Manifestations”, lavoro che nonostante la lunghezza rapisce per capacità immaginifica e dettagli sonori, attestando Raising Holy Sparks quale progetto più ambizioso e sfaccettato tra i numerosi intrapresi dalla fervida mente di David Colohan.

Music Won't Save You


released October 4, 2013

David Colohan - Appalachian Dulcimer & 5 String Mountain Banjo, Autoharp, Bells & Chimes, Bugle, Chord Organ, Electric Guitar, Electronic Shruti Box, Field Recordings, Harmonium, Hohner Organetta, Mandobird, Mandocello, Mirror, No-Input Four Track, Roland HP-600 Digital Piano, Voice, Washboard, Sampled Glass Armonica & Mellotron
Emer Brady - Alto Saxophone (1,2,4,8 & 10)
Yasmin Chaudry - Electric Guitar (11)
Paul Condon - Monotron (5)
Shane Cullinane - Fiddle (6 & 13)
Casey Denman - Balalaika (2 & 11) Saz (2 & 11) Voice (3,8 & 12) 6 String Guitar (11) 12 String Guitar (3)
Mike Gangloff - Field Recordings (1,4 & 7)
Declan Kelly - Bass (8) Chord Organ (8) Field Recording (5) Walkie-Talkie (1)
Kevin Kennedy - Qualpex 3/4'' Barrier Pipe (8)
Vicky Langan - RCA Theremin (8) Wavin Friday (5) Water Pump (6) Voice (5)
Gary Morrison - Modular Synth (2 & 11)
Richard Moult - Keyboard (5 & 11) Voice (5 & 11)
Michael Tanner - Synth (2)
Enda Trautt - Drums (1,4,9 & 10)


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David Colohan Ireland

'An eerie loveliness that should really be soundtracking a Werner Herzog film; indeed Popol Vuh’s work provides a useful reference point as, similar to Vuh, the music herein is almost religious in its solemnity and grace.' The Active Listener

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