The Rural Arcane

by Agitated Radio Pilot

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about

'As Most of you will know, Agitated Radio Pilot is the outlet for the solo work of David Colohan, also known as the vocalist for United Bible Studies. On this Double CD he mixes a keen ear for melody with drones, experimentation and a healthy imagination, creating a work of timeless magnificent beauty. Opening track, “The Lie of the Land” will burn a hole in your heart, so bright is its fire, the music bringing tears to the eye with its wistful charm, the melodies slowly engulfed in a warm rolling drone.
On “Inis Meain, David uses his deep resonant voice to create an echoed backing track, a lonesome whistle/flute adding an aching melody to the song, whilst the lead vocal sings a melancholy tale. Following on, two long pieces “In These Thousand Rains” and The Autumn Accelerator”, are aptly named, as they continue this melancholy air, with the latter adding some overdriven guitar to the melting pot. Finally for disc one, “…And So We Sing” is a shorter “song” (rather than a longer piece with vocals), although the mood remains the same.
This shorter piece approach is continued on disc two as “ The Crossing Over” adds a touch of light to the album. Seemingly of a more joyous hue, the music sparkles and smiles from the speakers, although the title suggests that a deeper current may run through the music. More traditional in its construction, “Saints Island II”, has the dark feel of an ancient folk-song, the lyrics painting pictures in the mind. This feel is repeated on “Rounding Lizard Point” another haunting song that will linger in the memory, emanating a sadness that cannot be easily shaken off. After the brief guitar instrumental of “The Barely Days”, three more songs continue the forlorn ambience whilst maintaining the high quality of the album, with “Sydney Harbour Bridge” being particularly poignant. To end this remarkable album, the 23 minutes of “The River That Flows Between Worlds” will engage your senses, hypnotising you with its sombre charms, weaving a magical web from which there is no escape, although you will be so engaged that you will not even notice. Filled with a spiritual grace, this final piece, lightens the sadness, offering hope and renewal, powerful in its softness, truthful in its promise.' Simon Lewis, Terrascope Online.

'Agitated Radio Pilot is the moniker of David Colohan, also known for his work in the group United Bible Studies and in this instance exploring his solitude in a double CDR of thick drone and folk. Colohan shifts between meandering instrumentals, song, a cappella and the occasional burst of noise but his vision remains surprisingly coherent over 80 + minutes. This is perhaps due to the fact that Colohan has weaved his experimental flourishes through his more traditional approaches to song, meaning the album possesses its own logic and develops organically. “Inis Meain” is the most successful in this regard, as Colohan recants a melancholic coastal narrative over his own multi-tracked vocals which at times imitate birdcalls and the swell of the ocean. The use of a penny whistle on many tracks marks this as a distinctly Irish album and adds to the sense of place. The general complaint raised will probably be that “The Rural Arcane” is too long, but that is the consensus on any double album. I say, why not indulge? That’s what CDRs are for.' 8/10 -- Matthew O'Shannessy. Foxy Digitalis.

'A double helping of Boa HQ's favourite Irishman Dave Colohan. There's a beautiful picture of a rook on the cover which sets the tone echoing the elemental mystery of the landscape and the autumnal chill Colohan's melancholic music creates. It makes a good companion set to the other double in this week by Xenis Emputae Travelling Band, particularly on the more mood-setting pieces. Colohan's guitar wraps itself around drifting layers of drone like smoke. The songs are gloriously melancholic with shades of David Ackles in Colohan's world-weary tones but in a more folky context.' Boa Melody Bar.

'So, this is supposed to be the sister album to the magnificent ”World Winding Down”? Well, some similarities; this is, just like that one, a double-album.
It stops there. Some differences; this one is once again a step back to the CDR format, a bad choice according to me. It feels cheap somehow but it’s no biggie. This has to do that it’s released by a smaller label than its sister. Furthermore, Dave is performing solo here… ”World Winding Down” had about 50 guests musicians and this is pretty clear in the sound; some of the greatness is gone, but it feels much more personal. Of course, David is capable of doing a great work on his own, he’s done it before, so. Also, the setup differs quite a bit. The first CD is dedicated to the more experimental and abstract style we’ve been given proof of on previous releases. Five very long tracks… It has some nice moments, especially in the first track, it has lovely flutes! But overall, I’ve not payed good attention to this disc. Sure, I’ve listened to it, but it didn’t do anything for me, I’m not so impressed, and I have never been so impressed with Agitated Radio Pilot’s drone/ambient works. The second CD fits me better, and has eight tracks larded with genuine love and foggy folk. Sometimes pretty much in the vein of how ”World Winding Down” often sounded, but still, it’s pretty different. It’s not that much centered around the guitar, and the singer/songwriter feeling has decreased. We get a fine blend of accordions, flutes, guitars, piano, melodica and other more or less expected instruments. The star is David’s voice which is always a treat to face. There are some astonishing songs in there. ”Saints Island II” is a very emotional one with lots of soft instrumentation going on.
”The Barely Days” shows that vocals aren’t needed in order to execute a superb track. A fine instrumental moment on the acoustic guitar. The sad and slow ”Springs General” became, after my first listening, the track I use as a reference when speaking about this album. I still do. This is really modern folk at it’s best, and I’m sure this track alone raises my score by 10%. At least. I feel something odd in my heart everytime he sings that ”Like the seahorse in my hand” line. I’m truly speechless. A little more warm is ”Know Despair”, and like ”The Barley Days” it’s a pretty lo-fi one but this one has vocals, and this one sounds the most like something out of ”World Winding Down”. After it, much ain’t happening. ”Sydney Harbour Rain” didn’t really know me down, and the improvised ambient / folk blend outro should have been shorter.
It’s hard for me to grade this one. The first CD isn’t my kind of CD at all, and I’m almost ashamed to focus so much on the second one. I won’t of course lower my score due to this. And there were some moments in there that I liked so… The second CD, by the way, is truly a masterpiece and yet another proof of that David Colohan is one of the most creative, talented and unique musicians of today. Ehm, well. I think I’m done for this time. For fans of Agitated Radio Pilot, this should be worth looking extra for. For non-fans; get the album if you stumble across it sometime.' The Shadows Commence.

credits

released November 22, 2007

A Deep Water Acres release.
All instruments & voices by David Colohan.
Recorded in Ballymahon between 2005 & 2007.
Transferred from tape in Corrigeenroe by The Cosmic Nanou, with additional recording in Galway by Loner Deluxe.
Outside photography by Aaron Coyne.
Inside photography & design by Kevin Moist.
Thanks... Kevin, Shane, Keith & Aaron.

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Agitated Radio Pilot Ireland

'Colohan seems to have a preternatural sense of the elemental, those dark places we all go to take off our disguises. So many artists have treaded this ground before and seemed insincere, but Colohan's vulnerability, his human voice that presents these unadorned truths without spin or motive, makes me want to listen and believe.' Foxy Digitalis ... more

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