Tantacrul is the YouTube channel run by the Irish composer, Martin Keary. He regularly posts videos on a wide range of musical topics, employing a video essay format similar to channels like Vox or Every Frame a Painting, but with a critical and comedic vein. This format is unusual for music philosophy: “I’m a big fan of the 20th century music philosopher, Theodore Adorno, who wrote amusing and withering criticisms of the musical trends of his day. However, there’s a certain unwillingness to be critical about music on YouTube because the technology works in a way that punishes you for it.” he told us.
“I recently did a video where I poked fun at the Eurovision Song Contest and ended up receiving a lot of incredibly nasty comments that continue to this day! The video indexes really well when you search for Eurovision 2017, meaning that the majority of my viewers are Eurovision fans – the worst possible audience. The result is that people think twice before criticising famous musicians and there’s a lot of vacillation with channels trying to avoid offending anyone. I’m hoping that if I keep up what I’m doing, I’ll eventually find my audience but YouTube isn’t making that easy.”
His latest video takes aim at toys and TV shows that claim to provide musical education to young babies. In making his argument, he uses a mixture of serious and facetious points. On the one hand, he discusses research on how babies learn spoken languages – on the other, he engages in a tonal dissection of the nursery rhyme The Wheels on the Bus. His most popular video to date is about Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, where he points out how the song is structured before measuring the quality of various covers of it, taking notable aim at his fellow countryman, Bono, in the process. Well worth a watch.