Body & Soul cuts a singular figure. At a time when big names are drawn to city-dwelling day festivals and countless grassroot events continue to pop with eye-catching gimmicks, the Westmeath bash has carved its own very particular niche. Under no threat from hostile corporate takeover, it remains a glorious oddity on the Irish festival calendar. Beyond the big hitters – including Gary Numan, Goldfrapp, John Grant and Shabazz Palaces – here are State’s recommendations for your stay at Ballinlough Castle.
Dan Snaith was setting out to vanquish the evils of EDM last we checked. He may not have been successful, but the Canadian musician, best known for his IDM and electronica compositions, will have plenty to offer, and he’s well suited to the surrounds of Body & Soul. Work from his upcoming record Our Love may feature and will surely help you decide whether he suits your tastes.
A collaborative effort between electronic artist Nicolas Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. Jaar is well known for his remixes and solo work and produced some impressive material on Darkside EP’s and SoundCloud releases. But the extent of this duo’s talents in collaboration were yet to be seen until Psychic was released last year. If you want to be enveloped by the tranquil phrasings of two very talented musicians on the ambient/experimental spectrum then get to these guys’ set.
The 30-something producer, composer, performer (pictured above) seems to have that enraging ability to turn everything he touches to gold. Hopkins‘ resumé precedes him, so let’s not go there; but rest assured, this man is meticulous in every little detail. Fans of production value and the easier to please punters both get what they need from a Hopkins show. It’s lush, it’s full of complexity and it absorbs you fully. Expect to want more from this guy after seeing him live.
An artist well acquainted with her vocal capabilities, Lanza‘s debut Pull My Hair Back melds R&B with electronic pop to flesh out some interesting results. Her sound is minimal enough although at times she offers glimpses of some real power. She covers familiar ground with her work but does it in a unique way.
Joe Harney, otherwise known as Deaf Joe, is a Waterford man who stunned earlier this year with his album From the Heights of a Dream. The artist changed the fabric of the music we came to know him for and added a texture never expected. As Paul McConnell said, Joe “breathed new, electronic life into his brand of hushed folk”; a creation that we would push everyone to witness live. Ideally he would play the 30 minute record uninterrupted. Here’s hoping.
King Kong Company
Known for their phenomenal live performances, KKC have been around since the 90s but after a recent reformation, the festival circuit has added fans a plenty. A five-piece so cohesive that they could be mistaken for a DJ set – fans of old school mixes and disco will love them.
The critically-acclaimed duo that were hailed as a post-dubstep act before most people even knew what dubstep was. Semantics aside, what we can guarantee is that Kimbie produce a sound like no other. There’s nothing too offensive about their tracks; a nebulous of synthesisers and samples ping and bounce through their catalogue to give that feathery feel; perfect for a relaxing summer’s day.
A Berlin-based three-piece of nostalgia inducing pop, and R&B. Dragged straight out of the 80s, Ballet School are led by Belfast-born singer Rosie Blair; her voice is perfectly suited to Ballet School’s nostalgic affectations. While their video’s give a Madonna/Blondie vibe their sound is far more modern than you might have expected 25 years ago. Think synthpop but with that inevitable indie influence.
Affectionately categorised as ‘noise pop’, this Dublin-based five piece have been gigging for a while and recently released their debut record, Cursing the Sea. They’re gritty, they’re fuzzy, they’re … reverb-y? What September Girls bring is a refreshing reimagining of the music they love and ultimately, recreate.
A mysterious and intriguing artist who demands to be listened to and explored further. Remember the mask from Crash Bandicoot? Aku Aku? Slow Magic pretty much resembles that. With a strong percussive presence, the live performance is well worth a listen. It’s strong, it’s eerie at times but most consistently, it’s a spectacle both visually and sonically. Slow Magic not only produce the right sounds; they package them in the most beautiful way.