The eponymous Michael O'Shea album is another long-lost Dome recording given a second airing by WMO. Produced by Gilbert and Lewis in 1982, this CD provides an insight into the mind of a unique talent. This release contains six extra tracks over the original, including O'Shea collaborations with Irish musician Stano and poet Larry Cosgrave. Additionally, the CD contains extensive sleevenotes by Kevin Eden that give one a written history of O'Shea, including many odd stories recounted by friends and colleagues.
O'Shea was a free-spirited Irishman who had a penchant for travel and inventing instruments. His trademark sounds came from an instrument based on a dulcimer called a Mo Cara (Gaelic for 'My Friend'). The sound is both haunting and mesmerising, recalling traditional Irish and Eastern sounds, but blending them with the many other cultures than O'Shea experienced on his travels.
The sound is so complete that it really works best in isolation. The album's magical highlight, No Journey's End is a solo 15-minute masterpiece that appropriately had those at its recording 'reduced to tears by its unearthly beauty'. Some of the additional tracks, where O'Shea is augmented by other musicians and instruments, don't seem to have quite the same magic, although A Dead Rose, a collaboration with Stano, is mesmerising.
Sadly, Michael O'Shea is no longer with us, but this is a truly timeless and unique recording that provides us with an excellent tribute to his ability, along with being a fitting way to end the WMO label.
Craig Grannell (July, 2001)