As a nation, Ireland isn’t exactly lauded for its electronic music. We may be globally-renowned exporters of potatoes, woolly jumpers, rock bands and whatever Enya is, but we’ve yet to make waves in the realm of dance and electronica.
Step forward fiddle-playing, beat-looping Galway native Daithí Ó Dronaí (arra could he even sound any more Irish?).
Years of talent shows, support slots and everything in between has led him to this year release his debut album In Flight.
Traditional Irish instruments aren’t generally associated with electronic dance music, but Daithí has forged an alliance between the unlikely pair. Much of the album includes his trademark fiddle, putting a decidely celtic stamp on an otherwise universal genre.
Case Closed is one perfect example of a fiddle loop sitting comfortably in the background of a dance track, noticeable but not in an awful ‘celtic fusion’ kind of way.
The first track to make the album Chameleon Life arrived last June. An excellent single, it has all the momentum of the sort house-pop that has been regularly topping charts in the last year, particularly in the UK.
This leads into title track In Flight, borrowing vocals from Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas, who is top of the bill of a lengthy list of collaborators for this album. A simple synth progression and a kicking bass make this tune unforgettable – easily one of the best pop songs to come out of Ireland this year. Since the video release a few weeks back it has gained reasonable attention, rightfully winning some radio play too.
If In Flight is the best pop song on the album, then Golden Blush should be considered the best house track. It captures a perfect combination of featured vocals, dramatic piano chords and muffled drums. The bass drop is relatively subdued but the song still has plenty of energy. Tiny teasings of 8-bit sounds top off what is a perfectly produced track.
The rest of album is quite mix-and-match. Ribcage dabbles in elements of drum and bass and Dream State in big room house, but only as subtle nods to these style. Every song sounds different, but there’s enough of his character in each to act as a common thread.
As a debut album, In Flight seriously impresses. Daithí avoids defining a genre for himself by conveniently skimming through various ones and picking out the best parts- serving up a refreshing cocktail of dance, pop and house with a sprig of shamrock.