The Tain by The Decemberists
Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:45 pm
Fantastic animated version of the classic Ulster tale to the music of the Decemberists.
Tuatha de Bhriain
The artist, Andy Smetanka, is an interesting cat and was not a graphic artist by trade. In 2007 he was hoping to become a college professor in writing.The Tain is an EP by The Decemberists released in 2004 by Acuarela Discos and in 2005 by Kill Rock Stars. The single 18-plus minute track, in five parts, is named after the Irish mythological epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, often simply called The Táin. With production help from Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, the Decemberists recorded the EP over the course of four days in Walla's studio in Seattle, Washington. The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, who is Colin Meloy's wife and has created artwork for each of the group's albums.
The lyrics to the Decemberists' song do not directly reference the characters or plot of the Irish epic. Part III contains the only explicit reference in the lyric, "the mirror's soft silver tain reflects our last and birthing hour". It is possible that the song was not originally intended to have any connection to the epic itself. The accompanying video by Andy Smetanka does tell the traditional Tain story with silhouettes interspersed by minimal captions, in the manner of a silent movie, but the action in the video proceeds completely independent of the music. As well, a music video for the track was made entirely from silhouette crepe paper stop motion animation, and is available on The Decemberists: A Practical Handbook DVD and the Pitchfork Media music website.