Ryan Vail live @ Fumbally Stables, Dublin, 28 April 2016

Fumbally Stables was the setting for the Dublin launch of For Every Silence, the debut album from electronic/classical artist Ryan Vail. The intimate candlelit setting in the quaint Fumbally Lane provided a beautiful backdrop to the Derry native’s creative sounds. Vail came armed with pianos and a mixing desk, and was joined by guest contributors, Rachael Boyd and Best Boy Grip, for two very different pieces, both of which feature on the album.

The debut release depicts the story of a 100-year-old piano, which Vail inherited from his wife’s family. The subject is aryan vail - for every silence form of escapism from the reality of human emotions such as heartbreak and disappointment, and instead focuses on the highs and lows experienced during the piano’s lifetime.
This journey is best revealed on the track ‘Wounds’ where the words ‘I’m a shadow of myself growing cold in my own home’ highlights the isolation and loneliness experienced by the piano in its latter years.
The evening opened with a half-hour set from electronic three-piece Ocho. The Dublin-based group were given the full attention of the small crowd that gathered early on. Given their eerie sound, a cover of The Ronettes ‘Be My Baby’ midway through their set was unexpected but, accompanied by guitar and synths, was true to their style and welcomed by the audience.

The Stables quickly filled up and by the time Vail was ready to play, the front row seats were full and standing room was limited. The set opened with ‘1927’ which is also the first track on the album. Joined by Belfast-violinist, Rachael Boyd, this piece perfectly marries the simplistic sounds of the piano and violin. Later on, Vail also collaborated with songwriter and producer Best Boy Grip on the track ‘Above the White Wash’.  Assisted by a loop machine, this piece displays haunting coral vocals and minimalist synths.

A few pre-recorded spoken word pieces, which are also featured on the album, provided a slight break between tracks. Vail chatted throughout the set and it was his final words of the night that were the most poignant. In a moving tribute to the late Conor Walsh, Vail explained how they met and how their relationship developed over the years, describing the kind person Walsh was. The last song, a highly-emotive extended version of ‘My Mechanical Insides’, was dedicated to Conor Walsh.

For Every Silence is experimental in nature. Given the use of the piano, violin, mixing desk, synths, spoken word and haunting vocals, it is hard to pigeonhole this compilation into one category. I think this is why the album title works so well; the collection is appropriate for every silence.

For Every Silence was released on 1 April 2016 and is available on CD, vinyl and online.

Words by: Mairéad McGuinness (@raidysmisc)