Manir Donaghue
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6 August 2012
Selene track by track - Interlude in Tavira

For those of you who don't know, or haven't accessed Google to find out, Tavira is a charming town in Portugal, not too far from Faro, and a stone's throw from Spain.

I spent ten days there back in 2007, and whilst shopping in Faro, bought a Fado - which is a Portuguese 10 string guitar, of the same family of guitars that Steve Howe uses on Your Move, from The Yes Album. It's the weirdest tuned instrument I've ever played and was, because of the equally strange tuning rod arrangement, a bit of a nightmare to play. However, I did get a rather nice chord sequence out of it, which forms the first part of Interlude...

When it came to recording the piece, using the Fado was not a practical proposition, so I returned my 12-string and got through a take before the strings decided they weren't having any of this retuning lark and committed mass suicide :-) Ron Wikso's drum loop was uncannily perfect for the piece, and the chord sequence at the end was improvised on the spot.

I dug out a suitable jazzy tone on my Roland VG99, and the lead part, which I hope evokes the nervous balminess of being alone is a strange warm country, was played in one pass whilst watching the rain pour down in a typical west Scottish summers day...

The whole track's a bit jazzier than I'm used to, and makes a great contrast from the chaos of Benemoth.
4 August 2012
Selene track by track - Behemoth

Well, this all arises from leaving a job I hated back in 2004. I was in a particularly annoyed frame of mind, and whilst bashing aimlessly on a keyboard trying to write a drum loop I could play over came up with the drum loop that forms the backbone of Behemoth. My sense of rhythm has always been a little strange, which explains a lot in this case...

The keyboard part, courtesy of Absynth 2, came next, and then a couple of years later I revisited the piece and came up with the alarmingly noisy rhythm and lead parts. Garnish with virtual mellotron, turn up everything louder than everything else (bonus points for those who can identify the quote), and there it was.

I actually had this more or less finished at the time Reflections was being put together, but felt that it really wouldn't fit the feel of that album, which is why it sat patiently in the corner waiting its turn. Whilst I could have toned it down somewhat, I like its raw, fuzzy, messy nature, and it's a novel way of starting the album. Grrr....:-)

4 August 2012

Indeed, folks. Selene is now available. It's been a while, mainly due to the real world and its attendant cares getting in the way for both me and Rig Records, but Selene is out, and I'm quietly very proud of it. I hope you enjoy it too - it's quite an intense album, but that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.

I will in the next few weeks be posting a track by track "Manir's eye view" of the album, starting with the story behind Behemoth.

Next up musically? Well. the love of my life bought me a rather nifty Boss Micro-BR portastudio thingy, so when I finally get round to reading the manual (!) I want to start demoing stuff for project "do a rock album with Mark Rae before I die/he dies/my hand falls off (delete where appropriate)" The website needs more flesh on the bones, so there's that to do, and I may give you all a blast from my musical past. Be afraid....:-)

Till later,

5 January 2012
Happy New year!

As it says above - I hope 2012 brings you what your heart desires. Within reason (!)

For me, 2012 will hopefully be the year of the Hobbit. I'm not (just) referring to the film, I'm hoping that Mark Rae and myself will finally (after all, it's only been 12 years) put together the first Hobbits of Olaf album, especially as my left hand is getting progressively worse. I love both Reflections and Selene, but I'd like to get my inner rock god out before I gracefully retire. Or something.

Talk soon....
14 October 2011
The story of Selene

Hi all. It's been an awful, awful long time, for which my apologies.

To cut straight to the musical chase, Selene, the new album, is completed, and is with the magisterial Tony Patterson for mastering and fairy dust.

"What's it like?" I hear you ask.'s a bit different than the last one. The making and to a degree, writing of this one has been informed by a lot of what happened to me over the last two years, which can best be encapsulated by the phrase "turbulent". I'm now an Englishman happily esconced in Escotia, but getting here has been a hell of a journey. There's also been a degree of loss, and that particularly informs the Selene suite. Finally, I've been battling time, particularly where my left hand is concerned. A combination of nerve damage and Dupytren's means my playing days may well be numbered, and I've been keen to make sure that Selene was completed whilst my fingers still wiggled.

"Yes, but what's it like?!" Well, there are four tracks, the longest of which is a meaty 25 minutes, and is a (prog alert) six-part suite. There are lots of guitars and a mandolin. And some keyboards, mostly played by me this time. And some Drums!(mostly not played by me). Bits of it sound jazzy, bits of it are noisy, and overall it's an accurate reflection (no pun intended) of where I am nowadays musically. Hope you'll like it when it finally surfaces. Have a listen to the excerpts bit and see what you think.

Until next time....
14 June 2010
News and Reviews from the Toon

Well, hello there.

First up - the nice people at the Dutch progressive rock pages, or as their friends call them - DPRP (possibly because it sounds like a mid-70's Italian prog band), like Reflections. It's here. Ta very much Prog people, it's appreciated.

"How did the gigs go?" I hear you ask. Very well, actually. Bit ropey round the edges on gig number 1, and my new VG-99 rig got stagefright on gig number 2, but it was fun, and Mark and Jim are great guys and a privelige to play alongside. There's some Youtube clips of me panicking my way through stuff - I may try and link to them. Jim Faupel is a great songwriter and his acoustic playing makes me a wee bit jealous, in a good way. Go check out his albums, and try and catch a gig this summer.

And, for the next few months at the very least, I'm in Geordieland. Home of the Toon, the Broon, the Stottie, and Pease Pudding. It's a nice place and paradoxically a lot more conducive to live gigs than ever-so-slightly-fond-of-its-own-image London Town. So expect to see me out and about, oops, "oot and aboot", in the not too distant future, assuming the removal people havent unintentionally downsized my guitar portfolio...


Manir x
30 March 2010
Gigs and musings

..Hi folks.

11 April 2010 - note that date! And 9 May. Note that date too.

I'm playing a live unplugged set with the fabulous Jim Faupel, and the just as fabulous but wouldn't like to let him know Mark Rae, at

The Libertine
125 Great Suffolk Street
The Borough
020-7378 7877

We'll be doing some stuff from Reflections, some stuff from Jim's back catalogue, and some Sanctuary Rig. Am nervous but excited. Which is nice

2 in the morning, thus obviously it's blog time. I thought that, as it's that stream-of-consciousness time in the morning, I'd think out loud about album 2, to give some thoughts to go with the small snippets of music that I'll put up with this.
Firstly, format. Because I'm an old git , I can't help but think about albums in terms of side one and side two (anyone under about 25, google "LP"). So, side one will be a continuous, interconnected piece of music, which the snippet from "no memorial" comes from. Side two, will be more along the lines of the shorter pieces of Reflections, except, there'll be songs. With vocals and everything. Well, a couple at least.
The concept (uh oh. prog alert...) behind side one, which I haven't given a name to yet, is roughly (told you I was thinking aloud) reflecting on loss, and mortality, which hopefully isn't necessarily as bleak as it sounds. Over the last year or so, large bits of my world of musical influence have passed on, and I'm at an age where it starts to hit you that the human journey is very much a finite one. Which is a great incentive to carpe the diem, as it were, and make sure that you get out and do as much as you can. On a personal level, a very dear friend, the incomparable Doug Boucher, passed away far too early late last year, and that's driving me really hard to make this piece not a memorial, but a testament to a good man, and a good father, and hopefully something that's melancholy and uplifting at the same time.
Also, the left hand is, alas, getting worse. The Dupuytrens is advancing, and I'm starting to lose some of the feeling in my little finger. So, until radiotherapy or surgery, I'm up against it time wise.
On a brighter note, the VG-99 is showing its overall amazingness on a regular basis, and I've got the gigs to look forward to. And the (very) rough first draft of Behemoth was/is a great excuse to make some noise, in a way that wasn't really apparent on Reflections. I've repurchased the same model of Fender 12-string that graced that CD, after stupidly selling it a couple of years ago. And the big leather coat is back!
So, that's where my head is at. More later. (or earlier, depending on the sleep patterns). Take care all.

Manir x
8 October 2009
Radiation is a good thing


Since last time.....Been to NYC for a well-deserved break. Moved House. Again. Started work on a decent home studio in preparation for lots more recording. Been accepted for radiotherapy for my dodgy left hand (Dupuytren's). All in all, I'm happy enough.

Best to all,

11 August 2009

Hello there.

It's been a long long time, hasn't it? As the lyrics of Grendel go, or something....

Been busy with my day job, battling off ailments, and organising for a trip to NYC. The Hobbits of Olaf are in discussions (mainly with themselves about what to get next at the bar, but I sense movement on a musical front soon), and Planet Mellotron have very kindly reviewed Reflections. It's here

and I'm flattered. It's a great site to wander around, and you should. If only for the wit and incision in the reviews.

I'm hoping to put some new stuff up soon, but until then.....

Manir x
27 April 2009
Just touching base

Hi all. Hope you're all well, as I cough and splutter through this update...

Well, the move went OK, and barring a few bits and pieces (a Tool boxset and an errant Dalek not the least of these!), I'm in one piece. Having resurrected my music PC, I'm already looking at some ideas that didn't make it onto Reflections, including two pieces that were quite close to making the final cut, and one that missed out because I didn't have the audio files to hand. These will probably be the first tracks on album number two, which I hope to start working on pretty much immediately.

Reflections itself is now available on iTunes, which is cool.

And now I must crack on! Love to all,

M x
12 April 2009
CD Baby - for my friends across the oceans (not necessarily the topographic ones)


Just a short note (a hemidemisemiquaver?) to let you now that the charming folks at CDBaby are now stocking Reflections, at the highly reasonable price of $11.99. Or cheaper if you want an mp3 download, but if you do that you'll miss out on some amazing cover work, honest(!).

Also, keep an eye out for Jim Faupel's impending solo album - I had a sneak listen to a couple of unmixed tracks and it's terrific.

Yours, not eating any chocolate at all (the joy of diabetes - which isn't a book about insulin illustrated with a bloke with a dodgy 70's beard)

Manir xx
9 April 2009
My first blog entry. By Manir Donaghue, age 22 and a very big bit

Hi all. First Blog post, so…(deep breath)

Thanks to you all for visiting, and for those who have exercised their democratic right to buy the CD, much gratitude.

The combination of Mark and Tony’s musical contributions, Tony’s skill behind a desk, and Katy’s stunning images have made the sum of this album something I couldn’t possibly have imagined when I first recorded Yule with an Akai DPS-16 balanced on my bed in my flat in Harrow a million years ago.

I’m obviously grateful to the charming and funky folks behind Rig Records for giving me the opportunity to have a proper CD with a bar code and all, and that’s enough being grateful for one day.

I’ll post here as often as I can, although I’m moving home over the next two weeks – so whilst I’ll be relatively quiet online, I’ll be getting back all my musical instruments that have effectively been in storage for the last year, so can look forward to getting my callouses back, and maybe even working on new material, both for me, and for the (mighty) Hobbits Of Olaf. Of which more soon.

Until then, have a lovely Easter, and enjoy your chocolate.