Ed Bennett: Psychedelia

Ed Bennett: Psychedelia

NMC Recordings
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Release Date: 23rd October 2020 

Irish composer Ed Bennett was born in Bangor, Co.Down. His music, which has been described in the press as ‘anarchic’ (Irish Times), ‘stunningly intense’ (The Quietus) and ‘thrilling’ (Gramophone) is often characterized by its strong rhythmic energy, extreme contrasts and the combination of acoustic, electronic and multimedia elements; it was described in The Guardian as ‘unclassifiable, raw-nerve music of huge energy and imagination’ 

This new album focuses on a number of Bennett's larger-scale works. In Freefalling – inspired by Felix Baumgartner's 2012 world-record freefall – the music plays on the sense of falling at high speed. The sound is propulsive and heaving, with hammering cymbals, drums, brass and strings. It's an exciting and intense ride!  

The title piece, Psychedelia, was premiered in 2017 by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Adès conducting. It builds slowly from a solo violin open E string, to a whole orchestra 'losing itself in a sea of rotating pulses and patterns'. 

Bennett's own ensemble Decibel perform Song of the Books for solo cello, electronics and amplified ensemble. It uses the Irish traditional air Amhrán na Leabhar as its basis, which laments the loss of a cherished collection of books belonging to poet Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1785-1848). Magnetic is a buzzing and fizzing 8-minute essay for bass clarinet and prepared piano, and closing the album is the bombastic Organ Grinder for midi organ and an ensemble of brass, wind, percussion, and electric and bass guitars. 

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
David Brophy 
Kate Ellis cello
Jack McNeill bass clarinet
Eliza McCarthy piano
Daniele Rosina 
Orkest de Ereprijs
Wim Boerman 



'Deeply compelling music' Sunday Times

'Percussive, energetic and engrossing music.' RTÉ 

'Intense and full of suspended energy' BBC Radio Three Night Tracks

'Ten minutes long, [Freefalling] is a testament to truth in titling: a frenetic ride that blends queasy glissandos with rousing exclamations fit for an action-movie montage.' The New York Times

'This dramatic album of large-scale pieces reaches a transcendental climax in the title work, followed by moments of calm in Magnetic for bass clarinet and prepared piano' ★★★★ BBC Music Magazine

'...Bennett’s voice is unmistakeably distinctive, one of the most interesting in the current UK scene.' Gramophone

'Performances are uniformly excellent and all the performers bring a wonderful vividness and ear for detail to Bennett's sound world. Do give it a try.' ★★★★ Planet Hugill

'Ed Bennett's music is flamboyant and strident, and he makes virtues of those qualities' The Wire

'Bennett has an individual and unmistakable style' Records International


This recording has been produced with support from the PRS Foundation, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.




Freefalling and Psychedelia were recorded at RTÉ Studio 1, Dublin on 12 June 2019.
Mixing & Editing: SIMON HALL
Recording Producers: SIMON HALL & ED BENNETT

Magnetic was recorded at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire June 2016
Mixing & Editing: SIMON HALL
Recording Producers: SIMON HALL & ED BENNETT

Song of the Books was recorded at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 11 February 2020.
Recording Engineer, Mixing & Editing: SIMON HALL
Recording Producers: SIMON HALL & ED BENNETT

Organ Grinder was recorded at the Orgelpark, Amsterdam on 14 June 2013.
Recording Engineer, Mixing & Editing: BERT VAN DIJK

Mastering: SIMON HALL

(P) 2020 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2020 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D257
Release Date: 23 October 2020