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Mark O'Leary: Plucking the Flower

Eyal Hareuveni By

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The Synth Show

I played opposite Kenny Wollesen in Munich when I played there with Paul Bley, and we decided to play sometime. So we kept in touch, and when the time came, I asked Jamie Saft if he would join us. We connected in New York. It's a nice recording.

Mark O'Leary

The Synth Show (Leo, 2008) concept started to sink in more after the recording in post production. I saw a show on BBC about the Radiophonic workshop, and some of the innovative sounds from Delia Derbyshire influenced me a little bit. I liked synth music by Klaus Schultze, Rick Wakeman, Joe Zawinul, Jean Michel Jarre, Jan Hammer, and Tangerine Dream, which captured everybody's imagination in High School. The Synth Show is raw and energetic, back to the '70s.

We recorded in Jamie Saft's Frank Booth studio in Brooklyn. I created the soundscapes in Cork later and put it all together. Some of it is very prog-oriented. There is melodic material there also, as well as some atmospherics and some jam fusion called "Texas." The tune for film director Ingmar Bergman has a really nice intro from Kenny with some lush synth pads from Jamie, and I'm using e-bow and delay. That was an exceptional moment for me in all of my work.

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Artistic Goals

Many of the people I play with are not household names. They are not known outside of their locality, but they are excellent. What counts for me is that you are practicing, developing, learning as an artist, composing and fronting your own band, trying to do something new and adding to what's gone before respectfully. This is my philosophy. I'm ambitious, positive and hard-working, and I like to play with like-minded people from wherever they may emanate. Jealousy can be a very positive force. It can drive you to do things, to achieve, but I don't like negative, cynical, lazy, loader, team-up types.

Mark O'LearyI also want to produce contrasting discs that have a concept that people can buy into, not just getting up on stage and letting rip. For me, that's over. What's important now is to capture people's imagination, not idealistically but conceptually. I left that to my fellow countrymen Bono (and I love U2) and Bob Geldof. I am artistically centered, but I do want to play the major festivals and I send the e-mails out and make calls myself. I practice, teach, compose, play and when I have free time, I do this work.

I don't play golf, drive or go out much either; I practice, compose, listen, learn all the time. I love it; I live it. It's tough—you have to really push. Also, some festivals and countries just won't give you a chance. It's a closed shop sometimes. I really do think I am David against this Goliath situation, but it does not deter me. It is unfair, but just because life is unjust, it should not dissuade you from pursuing your goals. You can't just sit back and reach for your pipe and slippers, not just yet anyway!

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Future Plans

My Television (Ayler, 2008) disc, with Han Bennink, was just released. Han, for me, if you want to talk about drummers, is one of the best drummers in the world. Playing with him can be heavy. He can play anything and play on anything. He is also a performer and does circus tricks and magic. If you don't have a few white rabbits yourself, it can be very embarrassing.

Mark O'LearyI played in Belgium last year with Stephane Galland and Michel Hatzigeorgiu from AKA Moon, and that was an incredible opportunity. We recorded a really nice live disc. Hopefully, I will be able to release it at some point and play with them again.

I worked with some very talented musicians and artists in Istanbul recently, and we recorded three great discs. Taking a ferry trip across the Bosporus, the scent of the air from the Black Sea juxtaposed with aroma of the bazaar, East meets West, where ancient and modern intertwine, a melting pot of cultures at the crossroads of the world.

Wading through snow in Sarajevo, next day basking in the sun in Podgorica, playing some of the hottest fusion on earth with Vasil Hadzimanov and Marko Djordevic in Belgrade, Subotica and Pavorotti centre in Mostar.

Selected Discography

Mark O'Leary, Ode to Albert Ayler (Ayler, 2009)

Mark O'Leary, Labyrinth (FMR, 2009)

Mark O'Leary, St Fin Barres (Leo, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, The League of Xtraordinary Gentlemen (Re:konstruKt, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, The Synth Show (Leo, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, Fabrikraum (Creative Sources,2008)

Mark O'Leary, Ellipses (FMR records 2008)

Mark O'Leary, Zemlya (Leo, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, Television (Ayler, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, Flux (FMR, 2008)

Mark O'Leary, Shamanic Voices (FMR, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, Signs (FMR, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, Skyshifter (Creative Sources, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, White Night Festival (Kadima, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, Waiting (Leo, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, Radio Free Europa (Leo, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, On the Shore (Clean Feed, 2007)

Mark O'Leary, Awakening (Leo, 2006)

Mark O'Leary, Chamber Trio (Leo, 2005)

Mark O'Leary, Self-Luminous (Leo, 2005)

Mark O'Leary, Levitation (Leo, 2005)

Mark O'Leary, Closure (Leo, 2005)

Photo Credit

Kabilio

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Waves

Waves

Mark O'Leary
Waves III

Theme From  Waiting

Theme From Waiting

Mark O'Leary
Live In Istanbul

Obsession

Obsession

Mark O'Leary
Snow

Album Reviews
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Waves III

W.E.R.F.
2011

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W.E.R.F.
2011

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Stoj

Stoj

Ayler Records
2011

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Snow

W.E.R.F.
2010

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