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Dublin 8 Musician’s Album Soars On Online Charts

A never ending album

Thomas Brunkard, brother of our esteemed website manager Eoghan and native of Dublin 8 has recorded an album of instrumental tracks that has been recently climbing the online charts.  Thomas has hit number 1 in the instrumental online chart and this accolade cannot go unnoticed by this Dublin 8 record keeper.  I have been given the task of reviewing this album for the sake of objectivity (Eoghan’s half deaf hearing and lack of dexterity on guitar would lead to jealous critiques of his brother’s inherent musical talents).  The eclectic if ironically titled, “A Never Ending Album”, is a bizarre, creatively brilliant and ridiculously catchy collection of short instrumentals utilising guitars, bass, drums and the guitar viol.

What is the guitar viol you may ask?  A new innovation, guitar viol is part acoustic guitar and part cello, allowing the player to use a bow while playing what is essentially an upright acoustic. The instrument has been used in the mainstream by composers such as Hans Zimmerman (famous for the recent Dark Knight Trilogy themes) but is still quite on the fringes.  So, on to the review let’s delve in track by track.

The album opens with “Ghetto Baroque Hymn”, by the way, this album’s track titles, tend to reveal insight as to the genres from which our local composer/mad professor was splicing in his eccentric mind. The track opens with a funky bell idée fixe, with a bouncy bass line in the background, Schifrin style jazz lead guitar plays with gradual, application of the guitar viol creating something altogether reminiscent of John Barry. Then it changes, in one of the many schizophrenic turns in this album, into a more civilized baroque piece leading into a sharp reverb soaked solo ending with the same bell idée fixe.  This track is awesome, and will play in your head for several hours later (but how do I get it to stop!).

Track no. 2 titled “1967 Closing Credits” (you see what I mean?), melancholic lead over classical acoustic with the guitar viol playing a longing melody, and a sharp electric lead, this piece has a definite Morricone vibe (is he going to homage all the great jazz film composers?).  Fantastic track.

“Chain Gang Blues” brought some controversy to our offices, splitting the office with one side saying western railroad track laying theme and the other saying medieval esq Game of Thrones type feel.  I’m bowing to Eoghan on this one, as the point is well made, the clue is in the name. Great rhythm to this piece that sadly ends before it really begins, an idea, one hopes that will be developed further in future tracks, also the only track with vocals.

“Monday Morning Blues” could have came straight off Thin Lizzy’s “Nightlife” album. At first one feels this might be too generic but gratefully, the quick runs and tapping flourishes hint more at Slash than King. A track, I’m re-listening to right now and demands attention, there is detail here that gives it an edge.

Track no. 5, “Sentient Beings Dance”, a completely different change of pace, and with shades of yet another movie composer, the seldom spoken about Vince Dicola, for those unaware of this titan of the synths’ work please see Rocky IV and Transformers the animated movie. This track is one hell of an amalgamation of ideas, the best way of describing it is transformers with glow sticks and Beverly Hills Cop, actually no, that is not the best way of describing it but it’s all I have in my mind right now.  The finish leaps from 2UNLIMITED to Van Halen.  Catchy, fun and one that I keep coming back to.

Track 6 “Mulligan’s Pyre”, caused more controversy with half the office thinking this piece was pure pint pixie O’Irish magic, while the other half maintains that there is a Middle Eastern Turkish influence towards the end.  Either way the gradual presence of a strong rhythmic rock backing gives this tune an enjoyable feel.

“Menacant” starts with a promise of a flamenco piece but quickly becomes something much more reminiscent of Saint-Saëns“Danse Macabre” but it’s the percussive work in this piece that really makes it something special.

The closing track and if I’m honest the weakest in an otherwise whirlwind collection of musical tastes blended into the mysterious, the haunting and the mythical is “Sad Paven in C minor”.  This piece is what Emily Dickinson would have on her iPod whilst looking at a dying pony, with its small girl owner crying over it, in the rain.  TOO MUCH HEFT! An otherwise grim way to finish what is a spectacular instrumental album.

There is enough creative energy and innovative flair with essentially old genres to bring even the most casual of listeners to this instrumental album.  The lack of vocals may deter some listeners but it really shouldn’t, there is fascinating, and layered work on display here, it truly is art.  However, it is cruelly short and what we are witnessing seems to be one man showing his creative prowess but only as a sample.  Any one of these pieces could be worked into something larger or even perhaps longer,  had the artist the mind to.


Give it a listen here, you won’t be disappointed.         


One Response

  1. As a regular reader of the website I’m heartened that you guys took the time to listen and write on my little sonic distraction.

    Emma- your writing and musical knowledge is really good. I’m really impressed.

    And you nailed it on Sad Pavan in C minor except I was thinking of the Brontë sisters and Emily has eaten all the cake and Charlotte didn’t get any and she’s also got consumption and some sort of smallpox she caught off the stable boy and it’s raining. 😛

    The album is an ongoing project and will be added to – Those not on Spotify can listen in here:

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