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Bella Union are thrilled to announce the signing of Conchúr White who last month shared his lush new single, ‘Atonia’. The song is a moonlit plaint inspired by the experience of sleep paralysis, something White experiences quite regularly. Those who know the sensation, he says, “may feel there is a spirit / demon / ghost above them”. That haunted intensity is sumptuously evoked on the track, where submerged psychedelic verses and a blossoming chorus combine in a cathartic plea for release.

 

Allusive but intimate, surreal but accessible, White’s silky and singular songs approach their subjects sideways on: sometimes dreamy and theatrical, sometimes grounded and sumptuously melodic, his work beguiles by stealth and contains multitudes.

 

Watch the visualiser for ‘Antonia’:

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“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,”

“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,” explains Conchúr, who hails from County Armagh. After time in more traditional rock bands, including Northern Ireland’s Silences, Conchúr – pronounced Conor – developed his slanted solo voice at his own pace. “In a band, ideas are only as good as others perceive them to be,” he says. “But not having a sounding board can be better because there’s maybe more of an authenticity there. You’re not necessarily seeking approval in the first instance.” 

 

That sense of freedom colours Conchúr’s music. On the Bikini Crops and Dreamers EPs, he filtered the influences of acts such as Arctic Monkeys (recent vintage) and Father John Misty into songs at once playfully referential and dipped in authentic experience. Drawing praise from SPIN, The Line of Best Fit, Under the Radar and others, he also notched up touring slots with Villagers, Billie Marten and the mighty John Grant, who complemented White’s work warmly. “It felt genuine,” marvels White. “I mean, he didn’t need to say it…”  

 

With his debut album nearing completion, White channels these formative experiences into “Atonia”. Mixed by Matt Wiggins (London Grammar) and recorded in a Belfast church studio, the result is a sumptuous wake-up call from a sublime talent, alive with the promise of more to follow. 

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