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Stereo Embers The Podcast: Sean O’Hagan (The High Llamas, Microdisney)

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Raised in Cork, Sean O’Hagan got his start with the beloved Irish indie outfit Microdisney in 1980. Microdisney put out five marvelous albums in eluding The Clock Comes Down the Stairs and Crooked Mile, before calling it a day in 1988. Two years later O’Hagan put out the High Llamas solo album and then he put together a band of the same name. Atmospheric, harmonic, melodic and rife with texture and nuance, the work of the High Llamas summons the musical complexity of everyone from Brian Wilson to Ennio Morricone. Therese’s even a dash of XTC in there. The High Llamas’ brand of summer psychedelia summons the surf, the summer the joy and isolation of island life and the complex contrasts of any coastal city where high rises and blindingly beautiful beaches occupy the same space. The High Llamas have put out ten stellar records, including Gideon Gaye, Hawaii, Santa Barbara, and Here Come the Rattling Trees, and you would think that would keep O’Hagan busy enough, but his CV proves otherwise. He’s collaborated with everyone from Will Oldham to Cornelius and not only was he a member of Stererolab in the early ’90s, he’s appeared on many of their albums. A producer, a gifted guitarist, and a real sonic architect, O’Hagan is intuitive, instinctive and blessed with the kind of musical aptitude that ranks him among the very best.

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