IT HAS been three years since Halfset - the Dublin band whose sound combines indie-rock, mood music, electronica, atmospheric instrumentals, and songs - released their debut album Drammanalog.
In that time the band has undergone many changes, both musically and in terms of personnel, but have emerged all the stronger for it.
Halfset have just released their second album Another Way Of Being There (Casino Gravity Records ) and will play the Róisín Dubh this Saturday at 9pm.
Original members Stephen Shannon and Jeff Martin are still present and are now joined by new drummer Cillian McDonnell and Sinead NicGearailt on harp and Rhodes.
The dynamic created by the new members saw Halfset shift from being a predominantly studio based project into a full blooded band. It also saw the band’s music evolve to become something quite different from what we heard on Drammanalog.
In its recent review of Another Way Of Being There, Hotpress said: “If Drammanalog was somewhat reliant on samples, and laden with synthetic sounds, its successor is an altogether more organic listening experience...beautiful.”
“Our goal was simply to write and produce beautiful, original, music,” says Cillian. “We experimented with a wider variety of instrumentation on Another Way Of Being There and more challenging, unconventional song arrangements.
“The music has evolved through the addition of live drums, harp, Rhodes, piano, string arrangements and the challenge of blending these with a programmed electronic framework. Three years of hard work and dedication were needed to develop a cohesive, unique, album, with meticulous attention paid to detail.”
A real asset to Halfset’s sound is Sinead NicGearailt's harp playing, which brings something different and distinctive to the band’s music and to Irish indie in general.
“Although from a classical/traditional background, Sinead’s forays into experimental music led her to cross paths with Steve and Jeff in 2005,” explains Cillian. “After guesting on Drammanalog, she joined forces full-time.
“As a traditional instrument, the Irish harp had not been explored fully in the genre of electronic music. The use of effects and thoughtful arrangements brought this ancient instrument into a more contemporary setting.”
Almost as striking as the music is the artwork for the cover of Another Way Of Being There. In a clearing in an eerie, sinister, woodland, is a small bed with a colourful quilt. Sticking out from under the bed is a pair of bare feet belonging to a man wearing jeans. Where did the inspiration for the cover come from?
“The artwork reflects the union of the organic with the electronic, which relates directly to Halfset’s sound,” says Cillian, “and reversing the cover with the back of the CD is a reference to the album title.”
Admission is free. Support on the night is from Arketek.