Sound Out presenter Ian McGlynn previews a new album, Psychedelia, from composer Ed Bennett.

"Musical accidents, stark contrasts and the freshness of improvisation interest me. Striving for perfection leads me to boredom. I like to be surprised by music, staying on the outside of things and occasionally dipping in and taking what I need to try to create something new." - Ed Bennett

Bennett’s music has been described as "anarchic" by the Irish Times and "unclassifiable, raw-nerve music of huge energy and imagination" by The Guardian. Endowed with a strong sense of rhythm and drive, he uses elements of live and electronic performance with multimedia aspects. And although he has composed many solo and ensemble pieces, this new album explores larger-scale works recorded with artists including his own Decibel ensemble, cellist Kate Ellis and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. 

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The title work Psychedelia was premiered with esteemed composer Thomas Adés helming the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Unlike Freefalling, which sets out its’ stall immediately, Bennett takes time to build the orchestral layers, creating an out-of-mind experience. Here, he speaks to the Contemporary Music Centre about composing the piece:

"Psychedelia, if you look up the dictionary definition, talks about altered states of mind, being outside yourself... Freeing your mind I suppose, and for me as a composer and as a listener to music, that’s really something that I appreciate in music... you reach a point where you are outside of yourself." 

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The other works on the album take inspiration from all manner of sources. Freefalling is an orchestral picture of Felix Baumgartner's 2012 world-record freefall, the propulsive music taking us on a ten-minute percussive descent (no parachute required). While Song of the Books for cello, electronics and ensemble puts the traditional air Amhrán na Leabhar through its' paces, a lament for the loss of the beloved book collection of poet and hedge-school teacher Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháin. 

Percussive, energetic and engrossing music. The album is available in CD or download format from the NMC website.

Ian McGlynn presents Sound Out every Friday evening 9-10pm on RTÉ lyric fm, repeated Sunday 9-10pm. A weekly digest of the best Irish and international new music and new releases - listen back here