No, not the 1980s super-pirate, but the avant-garde music and sound art on Lyric FM. For two hours every Sunday night, the host Bernard Clark plays sounds that will stump you – a beep, dissonant strings, electronic music from haunting to house.The novelty of the show reminds us of the artistic breadth that sparkled in 1990s Ireland, when Irish minds returned from far, wide, and the heights of achievement too.
This week, Clark left the studios in Limerick and headed out to Skibbereen, a journey mirroring that of his guest, nature sound recordist Chris Watson. “I don’t regard myself as sound artist”, says Watson in the most absorbing, soft Northern English accent you can imagine. “I’m a sound recordist”. Our host sounds like he’s wearing a black polo neck and possibly even a beret, and the guest is no Bill Oddie. Both are stirred by Watson’s mixed recordings of birdcalls, mating displays, the swirling whirling hurling of the wind. But if you want to hear power in a sound, then Watson’s recording of a glacier groaning and creaking – from the inside – is unmissable.
And if you want non-speech radio a bit different from the ceilidh music, operettas and chart toppers on the other RTÉ outlets, then Nova is unmissable too.
(Nova, Lyric FM, Sunday 21:00-23:00.)