First album release - The Dolls Suite

The Dols Suite cover image

Also available on Spotify, Amazon, Deezer and many other online music stores.

Based on the work of artist Jackie Hudson-Lalor from her 2016 exhibition "One Need Not be a Chamber to be Haunted". The subject matter of the exhibition covered a wide range of issues including domestic violence, women's rights, family dynamics and reflections.

Jackie's Exhibition


Inspired by Jackie's paintings, the music I composed focuses on characters and themes that surface throughout her paintings and accompanying installation. The entire album was recorded in Ableton Live and features guitars, various sampled and orchestral instruments as well as live field recordings. The whole process has been a labour of love, with writing for the album starting in late 2014. Originally 12 pieces of music were written and recorded, but this was cut down to 8 pieces for the final release.

Montage of work from the exhibition

Track listing:

  • A Little Late To Be Early
  • Between Here and There
  • The Doll Collector
  • Boom Baby
  • Dawn Is Coming
  • Málaí Na Ghee
  • A Mountain Of Time
  • Unfinished Business
Comfortably Numb

Comfortably Numb

Inspiration for A Little Late To Be Early

Introducing the Dolls Suite with ambient sounds, sampled chimes and a large string section, the opening track sets the tone for the album. It was also one of the initial compositions I recorded. The theme is part reflective and also part resignation.

Daily Drama in the House of ID

Daily Drama in the House of ID

Inspiration for Between Here and There

Written with heavily sampled strings, drums and keys this was also one of he earliest pieces recorded. I had purchased the Ableton Push midi interface and wanted to use it as an experimental way of recording music. I liked it so much that it made the final cut.

The Counsellor

The Counsellor

Inspiration for The Doll Collector

Relentless, challenging, repetitive, and building on a theme of conflict that continues without change or resolution. This is The Doll Collector. Taking inspiration from The Counsellor, this is my favourite track on the album. It kicks off with a descending D minor pattern the guitar, and builds with additional guitar variations. Tuning on the guitar uses D,A,D,G,A,D (from 6th to 1st string). Around the three-minute mark a counterpoint string and brass section takes the track to a large crescendo and ends in a mini brass band coda section.

The Cautionary Tale of the Brazen Hussy

The Cautionary Tale of the Brazen Hussy

Inspiration for Boom Baby

Recorded with a heavily sampled guitar, and a big drum sound. This track represents themes of defiance to past circumstances. The end section features a processed piano and recordings of birds.

Dawn Is Coming

The Screaming Tree

Inspiration for Dawn Is Coming

Around the halfway point in the album, this piece represents a vision of what the future could hold - with it's central theme of hope and a new life. Introduced with a large pastoral string section, the track then moves into the main section of delicate mallets and chimes. The middle section was written with the free Hotel Prepared Piano pack (the John Cage inspired prepared piano from Puremagnetik) and mixed with sounds I made on a field recorder.

Reared on a Diet of Lies and Fairytales

Reared on a Diet of Lies & Fairytales

Inspiration for Málaí Na Ghee

At a little under three minutes long, this track opens with a pizzicato string section and a discordant brass section. The theme of internal conflict, with a hint of mania, is also reinforced with the counterpart string section that never seems to resolve. The title is based on colloquial Irish slang.

Are Ye Alright Mammy

Are Ye Alright Mammy

Inspiration for A Mountain Of Time

I was trying to capture a small and intimate sound for this track that was both reflective and conveyed a sense of exhaustion from a life filled with conflict and struggle. Featuring a number of acoustic guitars and a sampled accordion. While it’s a very simple composition, it also breaks with some of the larger and more dynamic pieces on the album – with very little sound processing and minimal sampled instruments.

Too Little, Too Late

Too Little, Too Late

Inspiration for Unfinished Business

The last track on the album was also the last piece of music composed. Unfinished Business is built around an arpeggio chord sequence and features a solo guitar throughout. It’s a big dynamic piece, which fades out to a chorus of three layered guitars playing a repeating motif in unison. Capturing the desired tone for the main guitar proved a difficult task. In the end it was redone three times, with the final recording using a close microphone set up on a small amp (instead of a larger amp set up used in the earlier recordings). Thankfully this provided the big guitar sound I was after.


Additional music

Fire In The Soul
One of the additonal pieces of music composed and recorded was Fire In The Soul. Although the track didn't make it onto the album, it is available as a free download on SoundCloud

You can visit Jackies' work here,