Kilkenny musician R.S.A.G. is recognized and respected for his drumming infused explosions of sound. The audio-visual, multi-instrumentalist, returns to ruffle our senses after ten years, releasing his third album, ‘Chroma’.
His debut album, ‘Organic Sampler’, was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in 2008, with its dramatic layers of instrumentation, saturated with fast paced percussion, and an added dabble of electronics.
His latest release, which was written alongside Kilkenny artist Jamie Walsh, is said to be a series of mood pieces. A musical diary, illuminating the introspection of the musician’s daily experiences and emotions. Hickey says each song in the album illustrates “the realities of pursuing a creative goal, whilst also trying to keep the wolf from the door”.
Both sonically and lyrically, this album is his best to date. The sombre yet seductive tone of the opening moments of the album are undeniably effective with the gentle, broken piano chords of Morning Sun supporting Jeremy Hickey’s haunting vocals perfectly.
The ‘struggle of the artist’ is drenched throughout the deeply textured musical layers; the ambient field recordings, the slow, soft rhythms and the indelible chorus. “The morning sun is on the rise and it makes me feel like I’m alive.” An epic introduction, sucking us into the whirlwind of the mellifluous storm, formed from the trials and tribulations of the maturing artist.
The energy of ‘Chroma’ is heightened on The Jungle, with its fast-paced drumbeat, sweeping strings, and the rushing presence of Hickey’s voice, turning the rhythmic levels up a notch. “You’re moving through the jungle, running through the jungle, you’re in the jungle”.
The excitement is prolonged by songs such as Leave A Light On, which adds an elemental jazzy touch to the album, and the ironically named Don’t Move So Fast, with its distorted bassline and thundering percussion, while a calm but chilling atmosphere emerges as Hickey’s vocals echo over a brass ensemble on The Hollow.
‘Chroma’ concludes with Weather The Storm a charming love song that charts the difficulties and rewards of keeping a marriage or long-term relationship afloat. “So let’s work this one out, let’s stop flying solo, so this can’t live on. Priceless mornings, breath in, you’re home”.
‘Chroma’ examins the highs and lows of Hickey’s human experience, as it ebbs and flows in the pursuance of his creative goal which is as equally shaped by his success as it is by his failures. This multi-dimensional, thought-provoking intensity is what R.S.A.G. does best. Listen, and let the curious ear hear what it will.