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Rhian Sheehan - Album Review: Live at the Wellington Opera House

23 Sep 2015 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Rhian Sheehan is another one of those big names that’s been floating on the periphery of my music sphere for some time. Someone that I’ve been meaning to check out but yet to have the chance. 

A friend and fan of Jakob had suggested Sheehan, and I can see the similarities. Where Jakob is probably more classified as post-rock, Sheehan’s work is more in a post-classical electronic vein, relying less on beats and guitars in the traditional sense, but in elongated notes and movements. It’s intelligent music, asking you to access your thoughts and feelings as well as your creative unconscious to fully engage.

While I can’t comment on Sheehan’s extensive back catalogue, from what’s been presented in Live at the Wellington Opera House I can say their music is something I’m going to look out for, and you should to if you’re a fan of the cinematic and progressive. 

Live at the Wellington Opera House sees solo producer, Sheehan, put on his conductor hat and bring his music to life with the help of a collection of local artists and the Orchestra Wellington String Section in the perfect setting. 

Something can be said for the ambience of the Wellington Opera House. Even the interspersed crowd walla is rich with the spacey tones of opera echo and reverb.

One thing sadly lacking from this album, any album really, is the visual aspect of the performance. I wish I could have been there to see how the band came together to make this music was made live.

Luckily the richly textured, cinematic walls of sound do well for the synaesthetic, and made me wonder if the titles are arbitrary or came to be after reflection on the aural landscape was painted, so to speak. 

For those, like me, who missed the performance, you can read the words of someone who was there here and try to catch Rhian Sheehan live at the next opportunity.

Live at the Wellington Opera House is available from Baboom and Bandcamp.

 

About Rhian Sheehan

Rhian Sheehan is an award winning New Zealand-based composer and producer of cinematic music who is known for his unique melding of experimental soundscapes with emotive orchestral arrangements and environmental sound recordings.

His debut album Paradigm Shift (regarded as a landmark in New Zealand electronica) and 2004's Tiny Blue Biosphere, were acclaimed for their visionary blend of cerebral beats with sci-fi storylines and cosmic sensibilities. Yet these albums were conventional in comparison to his latter releases - Standing in Silence (2009), follow up EP Seven Tales of The North Wind (2011) and Stories From Elsewhere (2013), which are now regarded by many as archetypal amongst the ambient post-rock genre.

Rhian Sheehan is also an accomplished film and TV composer. His music regularly features on UK BBC television programming, including Horizon and Top Gear, as well as the US National Geographic and The Discovery channels. Sheehan’s music was used extensively during NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2012 London Olympics and has also been heard in a variety of TV commercials worldwide. Most recently, he co-wrote the soundtrack for a short film created for Hennessy featuring Martin Scorsese, and a recent US Nike advert featured his track Places Between from his EP, Seven Tales of The North Wind.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Rhian Sheehan

Releases

A Quiet Divide
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Stories From Elsewhere
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Seven Tales of the Northern Wind
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Standing In Silence
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Tiny Blue Biosphere
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Music For Nature Documentaries
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Paradigm Shift
Year: 2001
Type: Album

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