“Near To Hear” – Northern Ireland in 2016 was a fantastic time for music. The strength of the releases truly showed Northern Ireland, and Ireland as a whole, in fact, was not a place to ignore in the coming year. Here at XS Noize, we wanted to play our part in providing platforms for the music coming out of Ireland in 2017.
That’s why we’ve started “Near To Hear”. A weekly feature devoted to Irish musicians. Over the next year, we will cover the finest artists Ireland has to offer, keeping you in the loop with any releases we think are great as well as gigs you can attend. Have a read at the feature debut, focusing on Belfast Post-Punk/Jazz Group “Robocobra Quartet”.
Robocobra Quartet are a musical collective formed in Belfast who over the past few years have been slowly building a devoted fan base with consistently strong singles and enthralling live performances. 2016 saw the band rise to new heights with the release of their debut full-length album on Abbreviated Records, and 2017 only sees them setting the bar higher again, but never out of reach.
The band are almost indescribable, consisting mostly of drums, bass and Saxophones. Together, the band presents a 25-minute album taking as much influence from At The Drive-In as Miles Davis. “Music For All Occasions” was one of the freshest releases coming out of Belfast last year, while also so weird and out there I’m almost scared to play it to my parents.
Produced by the band’s own frontman (and drummer) Chris Ryan, “Music For All Occasions” is absolutely incredible. The bands delivers its music in a sharp tongue-in-cheek manner, evident with track titles like “Our Very Own Version Of November Rain”. Even as a debut full-length release, the group are justifiably confident in their sound and style. This is because the band have been slowly working towards this release with a number of steller 7” released in 2015, “Iwazaru” and “Mizaru”
Check out IWAZARU below:
Opener “Correct” kicks the album off with a huge bang, filled with heavy pounding drums and reverberating basslines, juxtaposed with bouncy Saxophone melodies. Chris Ryan yells and howls over the music like an absolute madman that can’t be anything other than enticing. There many moments where the music is loud, abrasive and demanding of your attention, evident in tracks like “Find X” but there are also quieter softer moments, which put much more emphasis on the lyricism of Ryan. With an almost Kanye West-esque assertiveness, the front-man details a plan for world domination in “Straight Lines”, proclaiming he wants to be “what the universe doesn’t know it needs yet”.
Check out CORRECT below:
Robocobra Quartet launched this album in Belfast’s Redeemer Central, a quaint church that I feel was not ready for the show they gave. Seeing the tracks live was even rawer than on record and it truly gave the band a different context. The album already shows Robocobra Quartet to be one of the most unique bands Belfast have ever had, and seeing the album tracks live at the album launch was the confirmation I didn’t need, but definitely wanted.
Robocobra Quartet will play SXSW Festival in Austin TX in March as well as support Damo Suzuki in Belfasts Black Box in May.