Guitarist, composer and producer Aengus Hackett has been burgeoning jazz in the West of Ireland for more than 10 years, with Galway Jazz Festival and his ‘JAZZGate’ series, working with the absolute cream of Ireland’s jazz scene. A graduate of the prestigious Conservatory of Amsterdam, Aengus studied under world-renowned guitarist Jesse Van Ruller. Aengus’ past creative projects include explorations of Irish and Turkish folk music, Javanese Gamelan and post-rock.
Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a busy and creative year for Aengus. Earlier this year, Aengus gave into a lifelong passion for electronic music and released his acclaimed debut EP as ‘Penji’. In November 2020, Aengus released ‘Shimmer’, a new series of compositions for guitar and electronics. Supported by the Arts Council, for this project Aengus explored composing through free improvisation. Using guitars, mixers and an array of effects pedals, he brings the listener on a journey of lush harmonies and textures. Aengus says about Shimmer:
“The musical moments which happen in the heat of the moment during improvisation have always been the most exciting to me, and so this series of pieces was my effort to capture that in the writing process.”
I’m just speechless at this fantastic news..I have been awarded an Arts Council Music Bursary! The award will support me to develop my solo project. I will be spending a good portion of 2021 working on improvisation for guitar and electronics. As well as this, I will collaborate with two of Ireland’s finest proponents of … Continue reading Arts Council Bursary for solo project→
Fantastic news – I have been awarded the MISP Recording Grant! Very chuffed about this. This will support me to make an album next year with the Aengus Hackett Trio, with some of my favourite musicians; Matthew Jacobson and Derek Whyte. Huge thanks to First Music Contact and Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport … Continue reading MISP Recording Grant awarded for trio album→
“ It’s a flawless first release and one Penji should be proud of. I hope to see a lot more of him in the near future—the music scene is this man’s oyster.“
“With this EP, Penji has revealed a knack of merging the ecstatic with the downbeat.“
Don O’Mahony, The Journal of Music (read review here)
Jazz guitarist turned producer, Penji (AKA Aengus Hackett) hails from Galway, Ireland. After spending many years honing his jazz chops in Amsterdam, Penji moved back to Ireland where he quickly established himself as one of the country’s leading jazz musicians. Following several years of experimentation with electronica-influenced post-rock band Zinc, Penji has finally given into a lifelong passion for electronic music.
This passion is realised in Penji’s eponymous debut release. The four track EP showcases his ability not only as a guitarist but also an able beatmaker. Penji’s lush guitar playing, processed through a plethora of pedals, becomes another animal altogether. Wonky guitar melodies bend in and out of crisp beats and fat synths, to form a collage of compositions which instantly evoke the dreaminess of Boards of Canada.
Produced by Penji in his home studio, the EP was mastered by maestro engineer Bob Macciochi of Subvert Central Mastering UK, who has worked with the likes of Lorn, Om Unit and DJ Shadow. Artwork and photos were created by long-time collaborator AMW Visual.
Guitarist and composer Aengus Hackett has been burgeoning jazz in the West of Ireland for more than 10 years, as part of the Galway Jazz Festival team. Most recently, he has gained acclaim for curating and performing on his ‘JAZZGate’ series, which has sold out many shows and featured the cream of Ireland’s jazz scene. A graduate of the prestigious Conservatory of Amsterdam, Aengus studied under world-renowned guitarist Jesse Van Ruller.
Aengus has assembled a new trio with two of Ireland’s finest jazz improvisers. Derek Whyte and Matthew Jacobson are an integral part of the faculty for DCU’s Jazz program, and both are members of improv group ReDiviDeR. Between them these three seasoned performers have worked with a plethora of international artists such as Kit Downes (UK), Ralph Alessi (US), Theo Bleckmann (DE), Sanem Kalfa (TUR), and Irish stalwarts such as Mike Nielsen, Tommy Halferty, Conor Guilfoyle, Ensemble Ériu and Fuzzy Logic Ensemble.
Drawing on his diverse influences, Aengus’ music combines elements of rock, electronica, and free improv, whilst also dipping in to the jazz tradition. With their collective experience as improvisers, this group approaches Aengus’ melodic compositions with a freedom which is invigorating.
This allows the music to go wherever it wishes – gentle and lyrical, rhythmic and energetic, and when they take the leash off, in a word…wild.
Press on Aengus Hackett:
” Guitarist/composer/teacher Aengus Hackett is fast becoming a pivotal figure of the Irish jazz scene. “ – Jazziz Magazine, USA
Press on Matthew Jacobson:
“one of the most dynamic forces in Irish jazz, on and off the stage” – The Irish Times “a European jazz artist of growing charisma” – The Guardian