Áine O’Dwyer – Music for Church Cleaners

Once in a while, there comes an album that helps you discover (or rediscover) a certain instrument. In case of Áine O’Dwyer’s Music for Church Cleaners it’s the simple church organ – I first fell in love with this instrument after hearing Fantasma di Peralolo by Burial Hex, a series of lengthy, monumental church organ improvisations recalling the heaviest organ drones of Popol Vuh circa 1971. Áine O’Dwyer, the Irish harpist and composer recorded her intimate, minimalistic album in a London church in the presence of a cleaning staff (hence the name). It may not be psychedelic at all (contrary to this blog’s usual music choices), but it’s nevertheless deeply mesmerizing and highly intimate, hailing back to church music traditions but still adding some drone and avant-garde classical tones to the organ-based masterpiece. It’s a bit modern classical, a bit field-recording – you can hear various sounds, like the sounds of the cleaning staff themselves or some kids’ shouts in some of the pieces – which lend it the idea of a “site” and “time” specific recording. It’s filled with echoes and droning tones, and it’s magnificent. It almost makes me feel like going to my own local church just to hear the sounds of its organs. Highly recommended!



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