Moundabout’s glorious second long player is named after Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte (or The Big Hill Of The Galtees) an imposing sandstone and shale peak in Munster, from which vantage point the horizon retreats to impossible-seeming distances. Paddy Shine, of psychedelic powerhouse GNOD, and Phil Masterson, of cult groups Los Langeros, Damp Howl and Bisect, chose this as base camp for their latest expedition into a new form of psychedelic Irish folk music.
Getting lost in liminal zones, at thresholds, where boundaries merge is key to the Moundabout sound. The Galtees is an Irish mountain range where the counties Tipperary, Cork and Limerick amalgamate, Shine adds: “We seem to have found ourselves recording and finishing albums in places where the boundaries have become blurry.”
The set up of Shine on acoustic guitar, Masterson on electric guitar, both on vocals and sparse electronic accompaniment from antique Hammond drum machine Shine found in his auntie’s attic and old analogue synth, plus field recordings, remains the same as their debut but this time the pair push further out on tracks such as ‘Step In Out Of That’ which calls to mind Egypt-based free psych trio The Dwarfs Of East Agouza and reaches its apogee on the glorious, sunburst of New Weird Éirana ‘Instinct, Eye And Mind’ which treads in the footsteps of Michael Chapman at his most ragged and echoes the borderless fourth world guitar peregrinations of Mike Cooper.
If the voyage that Flowers Rot took us on was one out of modernity into a vibrant megalithic antiquity, it feels like An Cnoc Mór is taking us even further back. Masterson says: “These hills were hills long before homo sapiens set foot on them, gave them names and stories and insulted them with egotistic concepts such as ‘conquering them’.” The pair agree that getting out into the environment is an essential ingredient in the Moundabout process.