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PDF - Cyclic Defrost
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ISSUE 7
CONTENTS
4
COVER DESIGNER: STEVE SCOTT
by DH
6
PO Box a2073
Sydney South
NSW 1235 Australia
PIMMON
by Tim Colman
8
THE DUPLEX PROJECT
by Bim Ricketson
We welcome your contributions
and contact:
10
TRIOSK
by Damian O’Keefe
12
CREATIVE VIBES
by Vaughan Healy
[email protected]
www.cyclicdefrost.com
ISSUE 7 DEADLINE: APRIL 25, 2004
14
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Sebastian Chan
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
by Bob Baker Fish
16
Art Director & Co-Editor
Dale Harrison
BUCK 65
by Tim Colman
18
MUSIC REVIEWS
27
DVD REVIEWS
28
Reviews Editor
Dale Harrison
SLEEVE REVIEWS
by Alex Crowfoot
32
Advertising
Sebastian Chan
SELECTS: LAWRENCE ENGLISH
by Sebastian Chan
34
DEAR DEGRASSI
Sub Editor
Aparna Khopkar
Jordan Spence
Advertising Rates
download at www.cyclicdefrost.com
Distribution
Inertia Distribution
www.inertia-music.com
Printing
Torch Publishing
Web Programming
Giv Parvaneh, Qbique www.qbique.com
Web Design
Luke Elwin, Qbique www.qbique.com
Web Hosting
Blueskyhost www.blueskyhost.com
Guest Cover Design
Steve Scott
Issue 7 Contributors
Jordan Spence, Bim Ricketson,
Vaughan Healy, Alex Crowfoot, Bob
Baker Fish, Lawrence English, Tim
Levinson, Tim Colman, Peter Hollo,
Wayne Stronell, Damian O’Keefe
Thank You
Jordan for the extra sub editing, Doe
& Adam for the cover CD project,
Nick, Ash, Justin, Ruby, Chloe @
Inertia, Natalie & Noel @ Torch
Publishing, Giv @ Qbique, Chris Bell
(happy 30th!) at Blueskyhost, and all
our advertisers.
Stockists
NSW: BPM, So Music, Disc, Red Eye, Reefer Records,
Mall Music, Victory Music, Metropolis, Freestyle, Good
Groove, Museum Of Contemporary Art,, Recycled
Records, Parade Music, Blockbeats Music, Music Bizarre
(Lismore), Velvet Fog (Katoomba), Bloody Fist (Newcastle)
VIC: Synaesthesia, Substrata, Raouls, Gaslight, Central
Station, Record Collectors Corner, Greville, Readings,
Polyester, Second Spin Tech, Kent St Records, Northside
QLD: Rockinghorse, Butter Beats, Sunflower, Skinnys,
Gooble Warming, Chinatown Music, Victory (Surfers
Paradise)
SA: Big Star, B Sharp, Uni Records
CDITORIAL
Issue 7 is here. Another CD as well. This time it’s an ambient work
which should set you up for some interesting dreams if you listen at
bedtime. There’s also interviews with Pimmon, Triosk and Lawrence
English as well as Animal Collective and Buck 65, plus all the
regulars and a cover by animator/illustrator Steve Scott.
It’s been an curious few months since our last issue. In the online
field there’s been so much movement in terms of internet file sharing
and the explosion of iTunes, basically as a way of selling iPods. Apple
had to remove their claim to ‘being better for artists’ from their advertising when it was revealed that the majority of the US$0.99 went to
the traditional owners – the major labels. And whilst lawyers were
raiding the universities and ISPs here in Sydney and the offices of
Kazaa and the RIAA in America continuing to go after end users two
positive things happened. The first was Warp Records’ Bleep.com
experiment. Bleep.com is a low cost way of buying individual tracks
from Warp’s entire back catalogue. Almost everything is there including those rare and impossible to find vinyl tracks from AFX, Gescom
and others, but best of all none of the tracks have any form of digital
rights management. They are in standard MP3 format and properly
tagged and encoded. There are no limits to the number of copies you
can make, CDs you can burn, or devices you can use it on. It seems
like Warp might actually ‘trust’ their fans. Now that’s a novel idea isn’t
it? Further, it looks like Warp will extend this to other labels that they
currently manage through their Warpmart online store. The other interesting news on the internet front was a report from Harvard University
Professor Terry Fisher. Fisher’s report suggests that if US broadband
users were charged just US$6 per month then not only copyright
music but also Hollywood movies could be freely traded and delivered
without digital rights management. Under such a system both the film
and music industry would make more money than they currently make
from traditional sale channels – even including the most skewed ‘lost
revenue’ figure possible. Not only this, he contends that subsidiary
industries would boom – blank media, and copying/playback device
manufacturers as well, and artists could also be fairly compensated. It’s
an interesting theory. You can read about it at www.tfisher.org.
Anyway, before your music choices get locked down, get reading.
We’ll be back with Issue 8 in May.
Sebastian Chan & Dale Harrison
Editors.
WA: Dada's, 78's, Mills, Central Station, Planet Video
TAS: Aroma, Ruffcutt, CD Centre, Wills Music
ACT: Landspeed
NT: Casuarina
If your store doesn't carry Cyclic Defrost then get them to order it
from Inertia Distribution
The views contained herein are not necessarily the views of the publisher
nor the staff of Cylic Defrost.
Copyright remains with the authors and/or Cyclic Defrost.
A New Audiences project,
assisted by the Australia Council, the
Federal Government's art funding
and advisory body, through its
Audience and Market
Development Division.
www.cyclicdefrost.com
+
Extended articles
Music downloads of featured artists
ISSUE 7 EXCLUSIVE WEB CONTENT:
Additional reviews,
Exclusive on-line giveaways
4
!
T
T
O
C
S
T
+ GREAner
ott
ig
over Des Steven Sc
C
ith
iew w
Inter v
by DH
Beginning design life by constructing car and
butchers ads for a local paper, Steve first came
to wider public attention with the video for the
Telemetry Orchestra track ‘Swingers
International.’ Idealistic and exciting times as
they were, the mid-‘90s heralded both the rise in
electronic music as well as the appearance of
vector animation applications such as Flash.
‘Swingers…’ captured that time perfectly – the
loping break, synth horns and analogue squelch
of the track was paired with campy spy-themed
vector animations that were perfectly retrofuturistic. At a time when local releases were
scarce and the scene was in its infancy, it was
almost too classy not to be from overseas.
Since then he has created superlative film clips
for Salmonella Dub and B(if)tek as well as countless flyers for 2SER (most notably the later
Freaky Loops parties), Clan Analogue and others,
as well as a number of notable CD designs.
A founding member of Telemetry Orchestra,
musically he has also followed an idiosyncratic
path. Originally members of the seminal collective Clan Analogue (with whom they released
their first album) Telemetry Orchestra have now
moved on the Silent label – a move made simple
by virtue of their elegant avoidance of stylistic
overtures and their willingness to change.
Indeed, their latest album Children Stay Free
displays an easy languidity that disguises the
complexity of the arrangements. A fact reflected
in the Yellow Submarine inspired cover artwork,
whose quirky lines belie the eminent craftsmanship on display.
Despite his trips overseas to England and the
sub-continent, and the impending schedule of
work that he had amassed on his return, I managed
to put several questions to Steven Scott about the
relationship between graphic art and music.
Cyclic Defrost: Which is first in terms of inspiration: colour, shape, concept or form? Is it the same
for music (with timbre being replacing colour)?
Steven Scott: Well everytime you draw something you are inspired by something new, but I
guess its usually the concept that I start with. But
I also tend to doodle a lot and you get into this
weird zone where images just pop out. Music is
different and the same. I usually play around
with little musical ideas and if something grabs
me then it can blossom out into a finished piece.
CD: Your work seems to proliferate with quirky
vector humanoids – especially facially. Have you
always been drawn to characters as a design
approach? What is it about faces that so appeals?
SS: Well I started off wanting to make comics
and tell stories, so I like creating characters. I
like the fantastic and bizarre. Anything to avoid
the humdrum – there’s something very enjoyable
about drawing a human figure and warping the
hell out of it. My friends have said that I draw
the people around me, but it’s an unconscious
process. My girlfriend will often say ‘you’ve just
drawn so and so’ but I’ll always deny it.
CD: Are vectors the closest thing we as designers
can get to creation (and therefore to playing
God)? What’s your current relationship with
vector art?
SS: Err . . No. Not sure if I feel godlike when drawing. If all goes well I feel like my body’s just evaporated and I’m an eye attached to a pen – even
though it sounds kind of macabre. As for my relationship with vector art, well it’s passed the sevenyear itch and is settling down, buying a house and
paying off a huge mortgage. I guess I don’t really
care how an image is created as long as it hits you
somewhere between the brain and the heart. If you
look at an image and all you can think about is the
technique then that’s boring to me.
CD: The design of Telemetry Orchestra's first
album was all angular lines, san serif faces and
blue/white sparseness, whereas the second
album is delicious curves, warm colours and
flowery type. Was this the subtle result of the
addition of a new (female) member of the group
(Charlotte) or was it something more deliberate?
SS: Yep, Charlotte did change what we were
doing, but we also all got interested in making
the music more organic. So I don’t know if that’s
more feminine, but maybe it’s more human! So
when I did the cover I wanted to reflect this new
music we were doing. Which is maybe softer,
more melodic. The idea behind that last cover was
that this lone astronaut was exploring the moon as
Jules Verne may have imagined it.
CD: What have been your three favourite design
jobs and why?
SS: Well I cherish any job that gives me creative
freedom. My faves would have to be the first
Telemetry clip I did with Matt Willis. It was how I
got into animation and I really got into this flow of
Thunderbirds/James Bond imagery. It was like all
my boyhood dreams about the future came tumbling
out. The Salmonella Dub video clip I did for the
song ‘Problems’ was great. I directed it, wrote it and
animated it and really pushed myself in terms of
animation. I’d been doing some clips using the technique of rota-scoping and I started to realise how
limiting it is. So I wanted to do something looser
and crazier. I’ve done loads of work for B(if)tek.
They’re always fun to do. I get to draw lots of
women in outerspace. Also the last Telemetry
Orchestra album, which was pretty effortless in
terms of coming up with an idea and the execution.
Just trying a different feel from what I usually do.
CD: Do you find there is a continuum between visual art and music, particularly when it comes to displaying a finished product (i.e. playing live/sending
to print)?
SS: Well not really, playing live, you’re in the
moment. It can be joyful, maddening, crazy, scary
but once it’s finished it’s over. Whereas with print it
just hangs around, staring at you. It won’t go
away… I’m not even sure what I mean by that – I’m
not sure if there is a link between drawing and making music. It comes from a different area of the
brain. They do different things to you. Music surrounds you, envelops you. Good art sticks needles
into your eyes and straight into the brain.
SPECIAL
SCREENING
2004 OSCAR NOMINEE (Best Documentary)
2003 GRAND JURY PRIZE WINNER –
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
CD: Is there a difference in your attitude to making
music vs pictures (i.e. do you see one as being more
self expressive compared to the other)?
SS: Well I tend to veer towards music but if I do too
much then I miss the drawing. Like a swinging pendulum. I've spent the last year drawing and animating and I'm now going crazy cos I'm not doing
music. I guess drawing comes more easily to me
than music so when I do something musical the
high I get is incredible. I’ll stay up for days on the
buzz of it.
CD: As you work in one field do you find that
strategies in the other (be it music vs design or vice
versa) suggest themselves?
SS: The only thing that I find similar to both is the
ability to turn off that critical part of your brain and
just let the work come through you. I try not to edit
or criticise at the beginning of a process because it
just kills any spontaneity. In fact, at the moment I
think that’s what I’m really into, spontaneity and
organicness. Like, you know, rolling around in a big
grassy field.
For more on Steven Scott, see
www.stevescott.com.au
The Friedmans seem at first to be a typical family... until
one Thanksgiving a police battering ram splinters their
front door, officers rush into the house search every corner
and seize boxes of the family‚s possessions. Arnold and his
18-year old son Jesse are both arrested. As the police pursue the investigation, and the community reacts, the fabric
of the family begins to disintegrate, revealing disturbing
questions about justice, community, family and ultimately truth.
CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS is a non-fiction feature film
that explores the elusive nature of truth, through the prism
of one of the strangest criminal cases in American history.
Dendy Films and Cyclic Defrost
invite Sydney readers to a special
advance screening of the Oscar
Nominated film, CAPTURING THE
FRIEDMANS. To receive your free
double pass simply fill in the form
at www.cyclicdefrost.com/comp
Tickets are strictly limited and are allocated on a
first-come, first-served basis. Successful entrants
will be posted the double pass prior to the screening
6
R
O
S
S
E
F
O
R
P
MAnD
ough
immo
Paul G
P
ith
iew w
v
r
e
t
n
In
Colma
m
i
T
y
b
Sydney’s Paul Gough has been conducting
abstract experiments with electronic sound since
the late ‘80s. Not your average electronic producer, Gough spent the first part of his career
working on commercial radio, most notably
with the likes of John Laws and Alan Jones.
Since then he’s moved to ABC Radio working as
an engineer. Covering a range of styles and
moods, he is better known within the electronic
community by the name of Pimmon – having
released for a variety of labels including Japan’s
Meme, Portugal’s Sirr Records, ERS in The
Netherlands, Fat Cat in the UK and Kid606’s
Tigerbeat6 imprint. Also comfortable behind the
mic, he hosts the weekly ‘Quiet Space’ on Radio
National and ‘Gough’s Play Lunch’ on FBi.
His most recent effort for Tigerbeat6,
Snaps*Crackles*Pops, maintains the Pimmon
style – manipulating samples beyond recognition, layering these into skeletal tracks, creating
unique pieces of music which traverse minimal
glitch, drone, noise and ambience – but it has
also taken steps into beat and even pop territory.
‘The fact is I’m an old bastard and I wanted to
muck around. I use the word “pop” but in a very
loose way,’ explains Gough. ‘I grew up listening
to a lot of melodic popular music, which I still
love and listen to a lot. I guess I wanted to take
what I did and somehow embed it into that. It
was something a bit more rhythmic, not necessarily accessible, but I think by nature when you
make things more rhythmic, or you add more
melody, the listener will be drawn to it more
than something that’s just abstract.’
Despite the use of more melodic and rhthymic
structures, Snaps*Crackles*Pops is far from pop
in the orthodox sense – you certainly won’t hear
any of the tracks on commercial radio – but it
begs the question; is this Gough’s perverse take
on the pop industry?
Gough replies. ‘The word pop has changed so
much. These days, from what I perceive, it seems
to refer to Britney and that end of town. Whereas
for me, I’m thinking more Go-Betweens, something with a melody like the Beach Boys, something catchy. I guess all I was trying to do was
incorporate some melody and structure that people would recognise as being song-based.’
It’s a structure that Gough’s children have only
recently picked up on; He explains, ‘One of my
sons is pretty familiar with weird music, he
doesn’t blink an eye if I play him something pretty fried up. But when he discovered 2DayFM he
came to me and said, “Why don’t you write some
songs which have a verse, and a chorus?” It
struck me that up until that point he hadn’t figured out that was what a ‘song’ was all about.
Despite the romantic notion – Snaps*Crackles
*Pops didn’t arise from the 2DayFM-inspired
pleas of a son. In fact Gough had been working on
the project for a number of years: ‘the idea for it
had come up after Electronic Tax Return. [Kid606]
was really happy with how that went off and said,
“I really want to do a release.” I was just figuring
out what I wanted to do, and given the nature of
the label I thought it was probably the vehicle
where I’m more likely to send something that had
beats on it.’
A departure from his previous
efforts, Gough was unsure
how the public or critics
would react to the release. To
his surprise the reactions were
mostly positive. Even UK’s The
Wire, a publication with the ability to make or
break such a release, were supportive.
Despite the favourable press he still reserves
some ire for music critics in general: ‘I’ve read
some positive reviews of my music where they
say all this stuff and I sit there and start to laugh
– I don’t really imagine that’s what the average
listener would think. It’s flattering; it’s nice they
said nice things. Of course, people need signposts. I just wish the signposts were a little more
directional. The way some people write it’s a bit
like driving and seeing a signpost saying ‘Dubbo
– Dead Boring’ instead of saying Dubbo has this,
this and this.’
What type of signpost would he use to
describe Pimmon? ‘The things that tickle me the
most are when people say they’re not really sure
what I’m doing,’ answers Gough. ‘It’s as though
they’re perplexed attempting to categorise it.
That’s the best compliment I could get because it
expresses the thought, “Well that’s a bit different”. I’d like to be thought to be a bit different,
not just for difference sake, but because there’s
some thought in it.’
It is this relaxed attitude coupled with a unique
musical vision that originally drew Gough and
Tigerbeat6 (via label boss) Kid606 together to
release Snaps*Crackles*Pops. Although the
details are hazy, the record deal came about in an
amazingly obscure turn of events.
‘I got in contact with this person in Slovenia
through friends in Sydney. This guy in Slovenia
wrote to me and said, ‘I love your work. I’m going
to do a two-hour real audio showcase of
Pimmon’. I was able to patch in and hear it at
6am. This guy was talking away and I couldn’t
understand anything except for the odd
‘Pimmon’. He posted it on just about every email
group and electronic website and I think Kid606
saw this and decided to listen and I think he (the
Slovenian) may have given Kid606 a CDR of some
of my work. Then I got an email from him saying
“I heard your stuff. I want to do a swap with
you”. We swapped about five CDRs.’
This lead to Kid606 approaching Gough for the
NWA remix project. It was something he was initially unsure about.
‘I had to admit that I’d never really listened to
their music,’ remembers Gough. ‘I wrote back
and said, ‘I don’t know if I’m
your man, I don’t
really
listen to this kind of stuff.’ I knew these were all
brash young kids on Macs and I said, “I’m this thirty-something in Sydney who uses a PC”. He wrote
back, “That’s why we love you, man.”’
Although most of his work now stems from that
same PC, Gough has utilised a range of analogue
and digital equipment to create his layered sound
collages in the past, and the old equipment still gets
a work out from time to time.
‘I’ve got an old Korg MS-20 that I mess around with
and occasionally sample into the PC,’ explains Gough.
‘There’s a track on one of my earlier CDs where I’d
fiddled around with this sound and it was beautiful. I
jammed the power cord into it so it would just keep
playing over and had a cup of tea. It sounds really
lazy, but I had the basis for what I wanted so I just
manipulated it in the studio as well as through the
laptop. I also used to have this really old analogue
desk. I was really familiar with it, so when it came to
doing stuff, I’d just dump everything on it. I’d put a
skeletal track on the multi-track and just overlay it.
Some of my early stuff was done with an Eventide
Harmonizer and I would process vinyl, old radio signals and old tapes then layer it together. It was a lot of
fun, but these days I just do it virtually.’
Some Pimmon sounds and effects have even
come from faulty programs, resulting in tracks
emerging from the sounds emanating from the
y
Sydne
ing in
h
t
e
,
back
ty-som
wrote
is thir
h
e
t
H
.
m
n.”’
“I’
C”
u, ma
saP
o
e
y
s
u
e
v
who
e lo
why w
’s
t
a
h
“T
mundane experiences in life – everything from setting the table to catching a train.
‘On Secret Sleeping Birds there’s one track made
from a cracked version of Spectral Delay,’ says
Gough. ‘It had a fault, so rather than reading the
sample it read the laptop mic. I was visiting my parents and I captured all these sounds of setting the
table for dinner, my father saying, “Move that
bloody thing off the table”, and knives and forks
going down. For some reason I foolishly loaded a
proper copy and I’ve never been able to find the
cracked one, which has really annoyed me.’
Pimmon tracks often emerge from short periods of
immense creativity. Ask Gough how this happens
and he’s not entirely sure. It appears he’s lost in a
zone of obsessive creativity. There’s a box of CDRs
which have emerged from these periods, just waiting for the finishing touches.
Even when listening back to his own releases he
has difficulty working out how some of the sounds
appeared. He explains, ‘I remember sitting back
afterwards and listening to it and thinking, “I really
can’t recall what I did, I don’t know how I did it”.
It’s this weird high. I’ve referred to myself as a mad
professor, I get so engrossed in it.’
He often goes into these writing periods unsure
where he’ll end up. ‘I don’t go into writing with an
idea. I start by listening to sounds, then pick up on
things and say, “This is where I want to go”. It might
be something I think I going to be quiet and minimal
but ends up being raucous and crazy. It’s an intuitive
thing, I follow the sound. Some sounds will work in
combination and others won’t. I like layering lots of
different things so you get weird orbiting sounds that
don’t seem to match but if you take time to listen,
you’ll see they fall into a pattern and slowly fall out
again.”
So is Pimmon a musician or an assembler of
sounds? Gough himself is not sure – but as long as
the end product is worthwhile it doesn’t seem to
bother him.
‘I love music, I love sound. I see myself more as
melting pot. It’s somebody taking all these things
and putting it in a structure. It’s not academic. I listen to things over and over and get excited when I
hear something I’m really happy with.’
Snaps*Crackles*Pops is out now
on Tigerbeat6 through Inertia
8
EW
R
C
ECover CD
V
I
L
+ TWO Project /
x
n
illipso
he Duple
T
Ph
ith
iew w
d Tom
n
a
a
Inter v
k
Zielon on
Adam
ts
Ricke
m
i
B
by
Every two bit hack writer has done their article
on the marvel of the internet in creating the
‘global village’ we now live in. We usually
describe how people on either side of the world,
through cheap instant email, can share ideas,
build friendships and create a peaceful and
understanding world for our children. In this
magazine there have been numerous references
to Australian artists remixing songs via emailed
files or arranging distribution with kindly faceless Belgians, taking their music to a global
audience, often resulting in more recognition
overseas than at home.
Fortunately in this case the hackneyed ‘music /
internet’ story has a new twist involving two
cities, a pair of radio stations, one ISDN line and a
couple of Hornsby natives in a long distance collaboration in which the limitations of technology
were an integral part of the musical experience.
The Duplex Project, featured on the cover of
this issue of Cyclic Defrost, is a remastered version of a live improvisation between Ray Diode
(Adam Zielonka) in Sydney and Given (Tom
Phillipson) in Germany, recorded in July last
year through the financial assistance of the Buzz
grant from the Australia Council.
Aiming to ‘explore the dynamic of performance between two artists completely separated by
distance’ and to ‘break down the divide between
the audience and the artist by transforming the
artist into the audience’, the CD is an audio
scape of minimal yet rich drones and static
described by one listener as ‘the end of the
world’ and by another as ‘strudel’.
Tom Phillipson describes
his music background as
‘Kinda normal… I started
going to warehouse parties in
1993 and from there started
listening to 2SER. From listening I volunteered at the station
and from volunteering I was
exposed to a whole different
side of music. It wasn’t too
much after that I started making
music and about five years ago
Dumphuck industries was born. I
had always been interested in creative stuff and working on CDs was a perfect outlet. You spend 3-4 months creating, compiling
and mastering a CD, then you send it off and a
few weeks later you have 500 of them in your
house. It’s great, as opposed to painting or drawing where there is only one of the object, production means you can spend the time making something and then have a tangible object you can sell
or give away and still have one for yourself.
‘I am an untrained artist, in the sense that
nearly all of the fields in which I fiddle I have
had no training or education. Anyone who
knows me will not be surprised when I say my
main interest is building robots, but actually
building one is a different thing altogether.’
Until recently Tom ran the Dumphuck label,
now defunct other than being an outlet for his
freelance design work. Tom’s partner in the
Duplex project, Adam Zielonka, is a member of
house/soul/tech trio Alphatown, who were ‘pivotal to Dumphuck and that whole adventure.’
Alphatown is a trio made up of Adam, with
friends Luke Mynott and Andrew Maher. High
school friends whose experiences within the
early nineties warehouse rave scene left an
‘indelible mark’, they have been performing live
as Alphatown for the past four years Sydney’s
clubs and parties. ‘The
Alphatown live set is highly improvised,’ enthuses Adam, ‘we bounce off each other
and the audience. Stylistically, we play a
hybridised blend of soulful, bumpy electro-house
with an infectious dancefloor sensibility. For us,
good music of any variety is all about balancing
the rough and the smooth – bittersweet flavours
make for a more memorable experience. We try
to create music with feeling.’
Adam’s alter ego Ray Diode has a slightly more
dubious background, raised on a diet of communist propaganda in Poland and long nights with
nothing but the soothing tones of radio static as
company. Now completing a master’s degree in
researching the effects of frequency static on his
unconscious and hoping to decipher the messages that static has to tell him, Ray is ‘fascinated
and perplexed with the textural sounds of radio
transmissions, telemetry readings and micro haus
structures.’ And ‘thermos innards.’
The Duplex project was not their first musical
collaboration. ‘It was a mixture of a few ideas we
had been playing with,’ explains Tom, ‘A few
years ago I was producing a radio program called
Aeon, which was very much in the same vein as
Duplex. Occasionally we would experiment with
the broadcasts, like calling in on the phone and
then playing stuff down the phone line and putting it to air and experimenting with delayed
feedback loops. From there, it was kinda logical
to try and use more than one studio.
Then, many years later, I saw the Buzz
grants were open again, the idea just
kinda dawned on me and within about
three days we had a grant application
written and submitted.’
Tom, whose girlfriend worked at the
German radio station Antennae
Muenster, laid the ground work for the
gig. ‘The station is a
commercial
the original set and then we cut up the
recordings from the set and layered
them into that mix. A lot of the set on
the CD is the broadcast, but then there
is also parts of it which just didn’t
sound as good due to the compression over the
ISDN
re
hy we
w
]
d
e
[
y ask
an lad
rld”
m
r
e
w
he o
ld G
t
o
that
f
o
le
t
lit
nd
we decided we
“One
the e
g
in
t
s
ca
had to physically mix them
broad
radio station
during the day. Community
radio doesn’t exist as such in Germany,
instead you have two hours a day in
which the community can get on air
and pretty much have free reign. It’s the
same with television. Though the contrast between one minute Shania Twain
being played and the next an hour of
bleak grey drones was pretty funny.’
The performance was made possible
through the high speed digital phone
connection ISDN. ‘ISDN is basically
just a digital phone line,’ describes
Tom ‘It allows you to connect to another studio via the line. It’s pretty
straightforward (in theory); you dial
the number on the codec, it rings and
connects, then as long as the studio is
set up correctly, the number you are
calling should just come up on the
desk as a fader. Doesn’t always work
like that, as we found out... and having
a German technician who doesn’t
speak much English made it kind of
amusing/stressful.
‘For the most part, it’s very much
more an exercise in mixing than it is
playing conventional instruments. As
we both were running about four to
five different sound sources at once, in
many ways the mixing desk became
the instrument. In total there was six
CD players, two turntables, one reel to
reel, two minidiscs and a laptop.
‘The CD is a mashup of elements of
live recordings from both sides of the
broadcast glued together with tracks
that for one reason or another didn’t
sound as good on the DAT tapes. We
rebuilt the set from scratch to reflect
again to ensure we got a solid mix.
‘In the end it’s a seamless mix, there
is no indication where the live stuff
starts or ends as its all layered and
mixed in. Just like a strudel, layer
upon layer upon layer. Yum.’
An Australian broadcast time of
3am, combined with a tight turnaround between the successful grant
application and performance made it
difficult to promote the experiment.
‘Promoting the event was kinda stressful because I was leaving Germany
mid-July and we didn’t actually get
confirmation of the grant until mid
June, which meant we had under a
month to pull it all together. We had
all the press releases set up, and had
tentatively booked some interviews,
but as we didn’t know until the last
minute, it was hard to really co-ordinate anything effectively.
‘We were lucky to have the media
officer of the Muenster City Council
offer us help promoting it in Germany
which did open a few doors for us.
Alas as the broadcast in Sydney meant
people had to wake up at 3am, so the
coverage in Sydney wasn’t too strong.
Strangely enough the local paper up in
Hornsby did a story on it as both Adam
and I as we are both from the shire.’
‘We had a few interesting calls [during the broadcast], including one little
old German lady asking why were
broadcasting the end of the world. As
long as we can touch just that one person in that special way, it’s all worth it.’
The Duplex Project is
this month’s cover CD
10
SK L
TRIO
M
O
D
E
E
R
H
T
F
O
E
RIC
H
T
THE
e
ce Pik
n
e
k
r
s
u
La
rio
T
ith
iew w
Inter v an O’Keefe
mi
by Da
One of the highlights of last year was the
collaboration between local jazz trio Triosk, and
German minimal producer Jan Jelinek on the
album 1+3+1. An unlikely venture conducted by
unlikely people, it united two sides of the world
and, seemingly, opposing ends of the same aesthetic.
Triosk formed with the idea of combining the
three members’ talents as jazz musicians with
electronic elements including the use of microsamples. The collaboration with Jelinek happened purely by accident, says Laurence Pike,
drummer with the trio, ‘I discovered Jan’s music
very much by chance. I was recording sound
bytes off the radio late one night, and unknowingly sampled some pieces from his album Loopfinding Jazz Records. We based a couple of our
early tunes around these samples, as they were
perfect for the sound we were trying to achieve.
Later when I found out what it was, I bought the
album and became his number one super fan.
‘Adrian and I went to see Jan’s gig in Sydney
in November 2001, and we approached him after
the show about what we had been doing with his
music, if only to see if he was OK with it. I gave
him a CD and my contact details, 3 weeks later
he sent me an e-mail from Berlin and suggested
we should record together. I told him to talk to
my agent first of course…’
The resulting album, 1+3+1, is an inspiring
combination of Jelinek’s trademark bleeps, tones
and micro-audio processing and Triosk’s unique
s
homa
ryn T
y Kath e, Waples
b
re
Pictu mpes, Pik
Klu
to R:
instrumentation and attitude. Despite the subtle
nature of the music itself, there is an undercurrent of intensity throughout the album. ‘I think
both Jan Jelinek’s and Triosk’s music has this
quality,’ says Pike, ‘It can float across the surface
even though there is a lot happening in the
cracks and underneath.’ The listener merely has
to decide whether they would like to explore the
surface or delve into these darker cracks… or
move between the two.
Adrian Klumpes’ vibes swirl around looped
tones (and vice versa) while Pike’s drumming
and percussion slowly builds in its focus or
alternately stutters along in counterpoint to Ben
Waple’s smooth double bass. The subtle intensity
comes from a feeling of tension between Triosk’s
free-flowing sound and the rigid sample-loops
and clicks of Jelenik.
Pike acknowledges that the challenge of combining the improvisational aesthetic of jazz with
otherwise highly-structured electronica is a significant intention for Triosk, ‘Using turntables in
a jazz improvisational way in Pivot (which
Adrian and I also play in) really opened up the
possibilities of improvising with other sound
sources. I wanted to explore combining a more
traditional jazz ensemble sound with electronic
textures and improvising with both, with the
electronic layers more or less being another
improvising member in the overall group sound.
I started to really identify with the more minimal, glitch and ambient electronic music, and
felt that the ‘chance’ or ‘found’ nature of many
of its sounds seemed to have a natural link to the
process of jazz improvising. I find it hard to say
that we have a specific method, we try a lot of different things, and it’s often hit and miss.’
The fact this challenge was conducted via air
mail and e-mail seems bizarrely appropriate. In
fact, Triosk and Jelinek have never spoken since
their first and only meeting; the musical connection and understanding between the two parties
would be sure to overload the circuits of Perfect
Match’s Dexter.
‘The writing process was very natural, says Pike,
elaborating on the process behind 1+3+1, ‘We just
responded as best we could to the feeling of each
track. I think I wrote ‘Vibes/Pulse’ for example,
more or less from my first listening to the CD, many
of the tracks we also just established a concept and
left space for spontaneity and invention in the studio. We put down Jan’s material as a stereo track
and layered our parts on top. We spent two days
recording. The first day we recorded everything for
1+3+1 and the second day we recorded material for
another album of our own. About 15 tracks all up, it
was a marathon session. We transferred the 2-inch
tape onto digital and burnt all the files on CD and
posted them to Berlin…There was always the element of not knowing what the final result was going
to be at either end, which was very exciting. It made
us focus on delivering whatever we thought the
tch
ound’
al, gli
im
in
’ or ‘f
e
m
c
e
n
r
a
o
h
the
the m
the ‘c
nk to
t
li
h
a
l
it
h
a
w
t
r
u
y
lt
a nat
nd fe
identif
have
sic, a
eally
r
u
o
t
o
m
t
d
ted
tronic
eeme
I star
nds s
t elec
u
n
o
ie
s
b
s
m
y of it
and a
enthusiastic as he is about this, Pike is still slightly
g.
f man
o
rovisin
e
p
r
unsure how this would work, not to mention a disu
t
im
a
n
zz
tinct lack of enthusiasm from potential promoters.
s of ja
s
e
c
o
pr
tracks needed best. From this perspective, I thought
the mutual trust between Jan and ourselves was
quite impressive. Jan then posted back some first
drafts and we discussed very minor changes in the
mix and ideas via e-mail until we were all happy.’
For Pike the biggest surprise was how true Jelinek
stayed to Triosk’s original recordings, something he
appears to appreciate even more as a fan. ‘I was
really flattered by the fact Jan obviously liked what
we added so much that he left most of it alone, and
chose to enhance it instead of chopping it to bits…
which I would have been fine with also.’
The challenges are far from over, though. Whilst
both Triosk and Jelinek have independently been
playing shows based on the material from 1+3+1,
there are plans to do some live shows together. As
‘Promoters are extremely hesitant to take on 4 people and lots of equipment, especially when they are
accustomed to presenting one person and a laptop.
I’m confident it will happen later in the year, and
hopefully in Australia as well as Europe. I would
like to think that we could present a really unique
show, play material from the album, but also be
highly spontaneous and interactive. I would also be
very interested in doing some completely improvised sets and have Jan improvise textures and layers and live manipulations of the sound that the trio
generates. This is ultimately how I would like to do
all Triosk gigs, but we are still developing our methods as a trio, and we’re often limited by only having
six hands.’ At least that adds to make one more than
the album title!
1+3+1 is out now on ~scape
through Inertia
such a production genius and he was always
ahead of his time in what he was doing.’
Listening back, the Soup and Avene EP still
sounds hot, vastly superior to so much of the
boring ‘trip-hop’ blah that got mad props on
labels / brands like Mo’Wax. Unlucky for us,
those early Creative Vibes releases remain
obscure, getting limited release and exposure in a
population having trouble with the difficult concept of instrumental, synthetic music. ‘The thing
was that radio here had not caught up. Triple J
was so focused on doing rock stuff that when
artists like Soup finally got some airplay, they
weren’t understood by the audience. But he is
going to be doing music forever, so he will have
his time one day. When that happens he will get
the recognition he deserves.’
12
E
C
N
A
-D
E
D
A
CAnniversary
E
D
FVibes’ 10th
O
E
tive
+ AN AG
Crea
:
E
l
L
I
ROF
asqua
P
P
r
L
e
E
t
Pe
AB
L
ith
iew w ealy
Inter v
H
ghan
u
a
V
by
A good record store can sometimes resemble a
support group for misanthropes. Every now and
then, however, all the digging and competition
can lead to something positive – just like in 1994
when three friends decided to set up their own
distribution company. Peter and Heidi Pasqual
and Gordon Henderson were sick of working for
The Man and decided to start Creative Vibes.
‘We used to work for a distributor, but there was
so much music we wanted to buy for ourselves
and it was costing us a bomb. So we thought if
we wanted to feed our vinyl habit we may as
well do something about it and bring in some of
this music ourselves. We ended up quitting the
distributor we were working for and started up a
business in our bedroom. We thought, “If we
bring in one copy and someone wants it, why not
bring in five copies?” It went from five to ten to
twenty. We went on building up to some labels
doing 300 or 400 releases on vinyl and we were
distributing to about 15 stores!’
Creative Vibes expanded from distribution into
a fully-fledged record company in 1996 and
began to sign, promote and release local artists.
The financial rewards were immediate – Creative
Vibes moved out of a Glebe bedroom into a plush
34th floor office in Australia Square in the
Sydney CBD, and opened a London office under
the guidance of law specialist George Butler.
Moves were also made into Tokyo, New York,
Paris and most famously in Riga, the Latvian
capital, in an attempt to corner emerging markets
in the former Soviet Union.
The decision to launch Creative Vibes as a label
for local talent was easy. DJ Soup, AKA John
Blake, was a vocalist and bass player in go-go
band the Sydney Kings whose Slam Dunk EP has
become another lost 1980s classic. Peter explains,
‘our involvement with local artists came about
when we signed DJ Soup. The company I was
working with before had signed his band and did
an EP with them, so releasing a solo DJ Soup
album was a natural progression for me when
Creative Vibes started. We firstly released the
Soup & Avene EP in 1996, followed by the
Souperloops album a year later. Looking back that
was a ground-breaking album, the guy was doing
a lot of cut-up and breaks stuff a long time before
anyone else was, especially in Australia. He is
Creative Vibes have since continued their commitment to pushing local music alongside the
imports, with their catalogue numbers creeping
up to the magic 50 releases. Over that time, the
Evolutionary Vibes compilations have acted as a
showcase for the Creative Vibes sound.
Evolutionary Vibes Volume Five is the latest, subtitled ‘Winter of Our Discothèque - Summer
Edition’. ‘It’s the first one for three years, the last
one came out in 2000. I didn’t want to do another one but I had so many one-off tracks that were
so good, plus a lot of full artist albums coming
up soon so I thought it would be good to introduce a lot of these artists to the public, to have a
precursor to the albums coming out. I honestly
didn’t have any intentions doing one after number four but the tracks are just too good.’
Volume Five covers a huge stylistic area. ‘This
time round I have decided to put out as many different styles as possible and not stick to any one
genre. The electronic music industry out here is
so diverse, and if you are going to do a compilation which sounds just like the last one you are
really not doing the scene any favours, so I really
wanted to put out as wide a sound as possible. If
I have offended people then tough luck, I don’t
put tracks on there to appease people.’ Old timers
Koolism snuggle next to new comers like Gotye,
whose new solo album Boardface has been getting played in all the right places. ‘Gotye has an
amazing track which almost has a New Ordertype feel. There’s a new track from Ubin, whose
album is coming out in March. There is also a
track from Quro, which is incredible. It really
shows where hiphop is going.’
Other projects lined up for Creative Vibes’ 10th
birthday include a Best Of, and the prequel remix
album Don’t believe the hype, it’s a prequel. Word.
The established Australian jazz and funk series
Respect Overdue is also getting another instalment,
with paperwork currently settling on Volume Three
as I type. ‘There is so much amazing Australian jazz
music that got overlooked, which explains the title
of Respect Overdue. There was no respect given to
any of these guys when they released these albums,
a lot of them sold next to nothing. By properly
licensing these tracks and making sure the artists
get paid is just our way of saying thank you.’
I ask Pete what forgotten slice of wax would get
the Creative Vibes reissue treatment if he was King
for a day. ‘The album that we are trying to release is
called Eastern Horizons by the Charlie Munro
Quartet. It was recorded in 1967 and originally
released on Philips. The guy was a genius. Equal to
anything by Pharaoh Sanders or Alice Coltrane; it’s
an amazingly well written and thought out piece of
work. But a lot of Australian-based artists never got
a look in on the international markets.’
It would be a lie to suggest that the only music that
Creative Vibes deal with is achingly cool European
electronica and black dance music. Browsing through
most of the dusty corners in a well-stocked store turns
up music from across continents, genres and ages all
distributed by Creative Vibes: difficult modern jazz
ot
the
that g
ic
s
sure
u
g
m
in
z
k
z
a
ja
alian
and m
acks
Austr
r
t
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e
in
z
s
a
e
you’
ch am licensing th
thank
g
o mu
in
s
y
ly
r
a
is
y of s
prope
‘There
ur wa
d...by
o
e
t
k
s
o
ju
overlo
aid is
get p
People only think that of us because in the begins
t
is
t
ar
ning we were doing a lot of French music, French
labels like New World and ECM, original bluegrass
and vocal labels like Document, avant-gardists World
Serpent, specialist European library music labels and
loads of other stuff defying any sensible description.
Pete agrees: ‘Yeah, there is only a really small market
for much of the stuff we do, things like the Sub Rosa
label, which I hold close to my heart – we might only
sell 25 copies of an album, but it’s viable because then
when something like Bill Laswell comes along we
might crack 1000. We do a lot of labels because we
adore them and feel that they should be represented
out here, not because they sell.’
While accessing styles broader than broadway,
undoubtedly the Creative Vibes cash-cow remains
modern and European. It is a company synonymous
with contemporary occidental music. ‘We are
changing tack this year, I will be dealing with a lot
of American labels to get their catalogue with us.
collette carter
“the information and
the last nite”
inspired electronic pop
f rom philadelphia
hiphop, house and funk. Things like St Germain,
and we were the first ones to break Bob Sinclar,
Super Discount, I:Cube, and stuff from F
Communications, which did extremely well for us
out here. Because we were getting such massive hits
with that European stuff, people from that side of
the world were talking and saying ‘Look, Creative
have done 10,000 of this, you should get them to
work with you in Australia’. We became very Eurocentric after that, it was just the way it was going. I
don’t think we were conscious of the fact then, but
now we will be branching out and you will see a lot
more US labels being distributed, everything from
jazz re-issues to electronic labels.”
For more information on
Creative Vibes releases see
www.cvibes.com
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14
A
I
T
N
ME
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AL
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S
Ul Collective a Bear
M
nima
Pand
A
ith
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Inter v
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by Bo
Here Comes the Indian from Brooklyn based
quartet the Animal Collective was one of those
amazing bolts from the blue you get from time to
time, a disc that seemed to exist in a totally different time and space as all of its contemporaries. A twisted brew of off-kilter wailing and
chaotic though melodic sounds, it seemed equally informed by psychedelia as rock, folk and
pop, yet felt like a bizarre form of musical
dementia, where everything had been taken
apart and reassembled by some sincere yet very
troubled minds.
Released early last year, its distinctive, astonishing and uniquely imaginative sounds prompted
interest from English label Fat Cat (home to Sigur
Ros and Múm) who, on the advice of David
Grubbs checked out a live show and were so
blown away by the outfit’s exuberance and musical dexterity that they invited them over for an
English tour. Fat Cat’s enthusiasm even stretched
as far as rescuing their two earlier works Spirit
They’ve Gone Spirit They’ve Vanished and Danse
Matanee from distribution hell and releasing
them as a two disc set. With stage monikers like
Deaken, Avey Tare, Geologist and Panda Bear,
everything about them is cloaked in a strange
kind of psychedelic backwoods mystery. Not all
participants play on each release, ensuring each
album posses its own unique personality. Whilst
Here Comes The Indian exercises some of their
more abrasive tendencies, their debut, featuring
Avey Tare and Panda Bear, is a much more
skewed psychedelic pop influenced outing, and
2003’s Campfire Songs featured the Collective
playing acoustically on a screen porch in
Maryland. Whilst elements such as tone, structures and temperaments can differ dramatically
between releases, their spirit of inventiveness
and experimentation remain intact throughout.
‘We’ve known each other for so long and been
through a whole lot together so I think who we
are and what we think of things is inside all of us
somewhere and somehow, and there isn’t much
need to talk about it,’ offers Panda Bear when
pressed about where this unique sonic approach
sprang from. Responding via email during some
downtime in New York, Panda has been friends
and musical collaborators with the Collective
since 1992, though it wasn’t until 2000 that they
came together under the Animal moniker, with
the emphasis producing something new, even if it
wasn’t actually explicitly discussed. ‘We all want
to do something new and fresh and try and work
as hard as we can and go as far as we can with
everything we do, but I don’t know that we’ve
talked a whole lot about that. We try and move
around a lot as far as styles and approaches and
instruments and things like that are concerned
but I suppose that’s more to keep us excited than
anything, and again there isn’t much discussion
of that sort of thing.
‘There was one summer, it was my first summer living in New York, so I guess that was four
years ago – that Avey and Geo Bresson and I
would set up all sorts of things in Avey’s room
on Prince and more or less improvise together for
an hour or so and record it all,’ he continues.
‘Those tapes got stolen and I’m still upset for
that. But I think much of what we do or at least
our attitudes about music and our music come a
lot from that summer together. We would use
anything like plates and the door and anything
we would touch because we’d constantly be
around the room moving from one sound to the
next. I suppose the freeness of those days has
played out as a big inspiration for our attitudes.’
This freedom is also reflected in the revolving
nature of the group, where the Animal Collective
can refer to anything from one to four members
or any configurations in between. The name
Animal Collective came from a desire to label all
their disparate projects, perhaps a recognition
that whilst the sonics may vary, the approach
and impulses behind them were linked. ‘It was a
way of talking about all of it all at once sort of
like a big blanket name if you know what I
mean,’ states Panda. ‘It’s not my favorite to be
perfectly honest because sometimes I’m afraid
someone might think were stuck up a little and
intellectual, and not that I think we’re stupid but
I don’t think we’re like that. Collective just
sounds a little jaunty to me but it gets the job
done I think.’
Each release is such a peculiar collision of ideas
and influences. Whilst their debut was much more
vocally based, with skewed though unmistakable
song structures, echoes some of the folksier
moments of a prepubescent Mercury Rev, elsewhere
they touch upon all kinds of strange and conflicting
influences. ‘There are so many things that have
pointed us in the directions we go so it’s hard to
gather them together,’ offers Panda stating the obvious. ‘I think most of them aren’t so musical
although lots of attitudes of musicians or artists in
the past have inspired us to feel a certain way about
what we do. The freeness I talked a bit about before
from psychedelic or folk or music of the world like
African music or something is in there for sure. All
sorts of things. I think who we are as people and
what’s inside us has defined our music more than
anything and we’re all very different and into all
sorts of different things, I guess that makes it even
more difficult to say just where we’re coming from.
I like music that’s very ritualistic, like to ward off
spirits, or to heal somebody who’s hurt – it’s an
expression of something very real and true and it
has a purpose and that purpose is to be better in
some form. I like that very much.’
Given the looseness of their structures and their
refusal to operate within traditionally accepted
forms, not to mention some of the abrasive squalls
of sound, there is a common misapprehension that
the Collective are simply giving into the moment
and improvising aimlessly. After all how could they
reproduce the rapturous energy and strange combinations of sounds? ‘There isn’t much improvisation
at all, live or recorded,’ clarifies Panda. ‘It is an element of almost all the music though and it is very
important to us to have that feeling of confusion.
We all like that energy of moments very much. Avey
sometimes says that the mood of a song is improvised and I think that’s true for the most part.
Sometimes when were playing on stage and the
crowd gets super rowdy then we get real rowdy so a
song that isn’t so aggressive will get that way.’
Consequently most of their new material comes
from a combination of live jams and prepared parts
that each member brings to Collective. ‘It goes both
ways,’ states Panda. ‘There’s been times where lots
of it comes from just playing together without anything in mind and there’s times where we work
with something very structured that comes from
someone in the group. But what comes out at the
finish is always fashioned and built in some way or
another so we never wing it at all. I think some people think we do just shoot from the hip all the time
but that’s really not true at all. And it’s not that I
don’t respect improvised forms of music but for us I
think its only one part of a process to get where
we’d like to go.’
Whilst much of the Collective’s output is challenging structurally or emotionally, a yen for
now
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extremely high-pitched textures has meant that they also have
the propensity to be sonically challenging. Whilst you get the
sense that many artists delight in tormenting their audience or at
the very least making the listening experience a test of
endurance, for Panda this couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘I
don’t think we ever mean to annoy anyone or drive them off at
all,’ he assures. ‘Some of our songs or the records I can’t listen to
any more either because it’s not what I’d like to hear any more. I
suppose there is a fine line between challenging someone and
driving them away. I’d hope to bring someone to a better place or
a wiser place or a happier place or something with music, but I
certainly wouldn’t want to screw with them just for the sake of
doing that.’
Panda’s favourite album thus far is 2003’s Campfire Songs,
where the quartet retreated to a friend’s porch in Maryland with
only acoustic instruments and crooned and harmonized into the
countryside. A calming album, on initial listens its relationship
with some of their other more tempestuous outings may seem
tenuous at best. It’s only after a few listens that it becomes clear,
its effects arriving more from the carefree joyful and natural
expression of the players. ‘It’s the only one I listen to at all and
it’s very nice to go to sleep with,’ Panda reveals. ‘It’s very pretty
and moves slowly like I do when I go to sleep and I guess that’s
why it works well. The music is who we were at the time; how
we were feeling, what we were excited about doing and where
we were excited about being (in Maryland countryside and
forests) and I think all the music works along those lines. That’s
how it fits with the rest, if you know what I mean.’
Beyond currently working on a new album tentatively due in
spring as well as participating a couple of other mysterious projects and touring through the next three or four months, Panda
appears a little overwhelmed by all of their commitments as their
music continues to reach new audiences. Regardless, he remains
energized and enthusiastic, conscious of the personal rewards
that playing with the Collective brings. ‘It feels very good to be
working with people who are important to me on so many levels,’ he offers. ‘It’s very hard work and it forces us through all
sorts of things, I’ve learned more from my parts in the collective
than anything else in my life. So I suppose it’s how it changes
who I am that gets me so excited. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am now if not for the last eight or so years making music
with my best friends.’
Animal Collective’s Here Comes the Indian,
as well much of their back catalogue, is
available on Fat Cat through Inertiia
16
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Rich Terfry, aka Buck 65, casts a unique shadow in the world of hiphop. With seven albums
under his belt the Novia Scotia native’s
abstract, bittersweet lyrics have yielded recently to a gruff delivery reminiscent of Tom
Waites. Musically, the beatmaker in Buck 65
favours folk, jazz, blues and country – not your
average hiphop mixture – but Rich is not your
average hiphop figure. A baseball fanatic, he
was once scouted by the New York Yankees,
he’s dropped rhymes for Sesame Street and
has worked with a diverse array of artists
ranging from the Anticon collective to the
Beastie Boys. School music theory has given
him experience in the tuba.
‘I did study music in school when I was younger
so I did learn theory and how to read music,’
says Rich. ‘I played tuba and drums for five
years. As a strange as it might sound to have a
background in the tuba it has served me well, at
least a little bit.’
The tuba isn’t very hiphop. “No, but neither is
banjo and steel guitar and both those things are
all over my album. Who’s to say really, the way I
feel is there are no limits.’
Buck 65’s latest offering is 2003’s Talkin’
Honky Blues. Despite the absence of the tuba it’s
a mixed bag covering folk, reggae, jazz, blues,
rock, even a track bearing a striking resemblance
to Italian horror soundtrackers Goblin. Recorded
in Paris, the album isn’t as dark nor as abstract as
previous efforts.
‘I was in Paris looking for a change of scenery
and some new inspiration,’ states Rich. ‘Just
looking at new faces, meeting new people and
having new experiences gave me a lot to write
about. The city also conjured lots of inspiration
and feelings of romance and whimsy, things like
that,’ he remembers, laughing.
‘At the same time I felt like a lot of my musical
tastes were beginning to change. I was spending
a lot of time listening to old folk music, old jazz
and old blues. I felt, to honest with you, that the
last few records I had made before Talkin’ Honky
Blues were basically me making the same album
over and over again. I knew that I didn’t want to
do that again. I wanted to push myself a little
further and see what I was really capable of. To
push myself further as a musician or take steps
towards being able to rightfully claim the title of
‘songwriter’.’
To claim the title ‘songwriter’ Terfry found
himself picking up instruments like the
guitar again and re-evaluating the way he used
the sampler.
‘I still use the sampler to make all my music
but I use live instruments then process the
sounds, sample them and chop them up,’ he
explains. ‘I still really like that approach, using
the sampler as a tool in the studio and as an
instrument. But there’s two major concerns I
have with tha method. One is that being on a
major label the legality of samples becomes an
issue. The other thing is that I really want to try
and establish myself as a songwriter and for me
to do that I can’t just write lyrics, I have to write
music as well. It was just a natural move to start
using instruments and so on. I want to gain some
sort of legitimacy out there in the world of
music. If I’m just recycling other people’s sounds
that wouldn’t really qualify me as a songwriter. I
really endeavour to push myself in that way.’
Don’t you think sampling is a valid form of
songwriting? ‘Unfortunately I don’t think that the
art-form of sampling is given the legitimacy that
it deserves in the courts and by a lot of other
musical people out there,’ replies Rich. ‘It’s a
tough issue, you could argue it either way.
There’s a lot of people who would say an important part of songwriting is sitting down at a piano
or with a guitar and writing music and learning
how to read music off a sheet. That’s a whole
other discipline that, strictly speaking, sampling
is outside of. That’s not to say it’s not a legitimate artform but I don’t know how neatly it fits
in with the technical definition of songwriting.’
There’s no doubt many are interested in Buck
65’s approach to songwriting. In 2002, after five
independent releases, the Canadian arm of Warner
Music signed him. Anyone afraid a lack of independence would result in a drop in quality would
have been pleasantly surprised with 2002’s Square
– four tracks each clocking in at around 20 minutes.
‘I was really happy the first album I did on a
major label was a really challenging record because
I know some people out there would have been
really sceptical to see me coming out on a major,
thinking compromises would be made,’ says Terfry.
‘I think all those fears were put to rest pretty quickly when people took one look at the album and saw
how out-there it was.’
Still, it didn’t stop the odd critic voicing a negative opinion about the move. ‘I’ve certainly heard
my fair share of shit-talking,’ explains Rich.
‘Unfortunately there’s a lot of people out there who
position themselves as some sort of authority on
music and they have the say on what’s right and
what’s just. Their opinions though aren’t so much
based on the music and whether it’s any good –
there’s a whole separate agenda.
‘There’s people who are sticklers for the whole lofi aesthetic or the idea that if it’s not underground
it’s not special any more. People don’t want to have
to share with other people but I just like music that’s
good. I don’t care where it comes from, what country
or what label it’s on. I have records in my collection
that probably no one’s ever heard of and then I’ve
got other records amongst my favourites that are on
big labels and everyone has in their collection. I
wish everyone was the same but some people are
really willing to dismiss you for reasons that have
nothing to do with the music you make whatsoever.
Obviously that’s something I find frustrating.’
Shit-talkers aside, the move has meant Buck 65
is now able to concentrate solely on the music as
the business side is all taken care of. His music
can also reach places it was otherwise unavailable
as he’s no longer restricted by independent
marketing techniques.
‘When you’re on an independent label, they’re
kind of genre specific, but a major label casts their
net out wider which is what I wanted to do,’ says
Rich. ‘I wanted to reach some people who like other
kinds of music, to see if that would work. So far I
can see they’ve been doing a really good job with
that. I think there’s still a long way to go but so far,
all in all, I’ve been really pleased.’
With the promotion side covered and Paris as the
backdrop, Rich decided it was time to bring his production up a notch. Discarding his former bedroom
set-up he took the plunge into a studio.
‘I thought it might be good to actually record in a
somewhat proper studio,’ he says. ‘Every album I’d
done before I’d just done in my bedroom on a fourtrack. It was a comfortable situation because it was
a place that a friend of mine ran and I just had my
friends in there. It wasn’t some kind of fancy place
by any stretch of the imagination. The place stunk,
it had naked women on the walls, there were no
windows. It was just as stinky as my apartment so it
didn’t feel to foreign to me.’
So you felt at home? ‘Yeah, which was important
to me. Being comfortable is much more important
than going out and getting the best gear, the best
producer and the best guitar player. I’d take comfort
over that any day.’
Comfortable in his musical surroundings, Buck
65 then attempted to recapture the lost art of storytelling, an art he believes hiphop has lost over
the years.
‘That’s one of the things that excited me about that
whole form in the first place,’ says Rich. ‘It really
just kind of fell in line with a lot of folk tradition. It
was like the next form of American folk music but it
seems to have abandoned those roots in a lot of ways
and I think that’s really unfortunate. It’s a tradition
that I like to keep alive. I’d like to see more of a
return to that but hiphop’s gotten really narrow and
pre-occupied with some weird pursuits these days. I
just feel I’m kind of out there doing my own thing. I
don’t really think too much about what to call [my
music] or where it fits in or anything like that.’
His approach to lyrics and music definitely sit
outside the traditional hiphop framework.
Attempting to pin point Buck 65 contemporaries or
influences within the hiphop world is often difficult.
‘I don’t see too many similarities between what I
do and what just about anyone out there is doing,’
states Terfry. ‘That suits me fine. I’m not out there
specifically doing something different from anyone
else, I’m just trying to do my thing.
‘I don’t know a whole lot of other hiphop fans
that are also huge fans of country music or are into
classical music, like Danny Elfman or something
like that. I wish that was the case, I would find that
really exciting if I could find a hiphop person who
would be willing to engage in a conversation about
Jacques Brell or something like that. I don’t know
too many people like that unfortunately. I don’t
think there’s anything unusual about that but there
are some people out there who think I’m some sort
of freak because of that.’
That’s not to say he hasn’t attempted to bridge the
hiphop divide. Terfry has over the years collaborated with Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys, although
the experience wasn’t everything he had hoped for.
‘It was interesting, like any experience it had its
ups and downs,’ says Rich. ‘I know the Beastie Boys
don’t like white people making hiphop music
which is kind of ironic. So I found those guys to be
nice enough gents on a personal level but then there
some musical things philosophically we couldn’t
see eye to eye on.’
Even collaborations with like-minded artists have
not yielded satisfactory results. After working with
Anticon early in his career Buck has since distanced
himself from the collective, although not for any
personal reasons.
‘I would still count all those guys as friends, I saw
them a week ago in New York, but the fact is with
me living in France and those guys living in
California it’s not even feasible for us to try and
work together,’ explains Rich. ‘I’ve come to the conclusion I kind of prefer being the lone wolf and
being out there on my own. The danger you get into
with a label like Anticon is they have a political
agenda attached to them. That’s a really dangerous
thing because as soon as you really put your foot
down on anything and start waving a flag, you start
to divide people. I found there were a lot of people
reacting negatively to Anticon and as soon as they
saw that label they were turned off. I want people to
judge me on my music alone and not associations or
anything else. I felt it was best to go off and be on
my own but those guys are still friends and I respect
what they do.’
These experiences have meant Buck 65 isn’t
entirely comfortable with collaborations these days.
While he does have a band he tours with his recent
Sydney show was a one man affair, with Terfry handling DJ duties giving the audience his best standup comic routine.
‘My experience collaborating with people hasn’t
been entirely positive so I’ve shied away from it
over the last couple of years,’ says Terfry. ’I prefer to
just work on my own then you only have yourself to
disappoint. I figure it’s better that way.’
Talkin’ Honky Blues is out
on Warner see buck65.com for
more
18
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much ercussionis you would irs. This is
to dip
huffli
ws W
in
s
tr
t’s solo
no reg
instea
n
ill
umen
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d opts
ula
talists g and wor into some
album pect from
super
regula
k with
. This
for a m r beats to
appro
. Ther
g
r
o
r
u
outfit
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ach a
b
p
e
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zz mu
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nd cr
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teresti
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eates
prised traditional
sician
uthrie
f
s that
n
o
g
u
r
s
in
h
s,
ound
best a
of an
imself
teresti
defy y
structe
Will G
des
nd br
almos
, a ren is anythin
n
ou to
uthrie
d
ightes
t
g but
wood
owne
guess g and chall ign
Bob B .
t loca
Build
tradit
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d sax
engin
how th
aker
ing Blo
l
io
ophon
playe
g
n
b
a
e
e
l.
F
e
y
n
is
r
B
cks
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ist, cla
h
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involv
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rinett
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ed wit
and B
ynaes
ser ha
ist,
Earle
h
omba
For th
thes
s prev
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and e the Adam
e last
life to
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rie &
Bridg
s
S
decad ia)
ta
im
tu
Guthr
b
Sussm
es
e or s
ie has
in var nes, many lished this mons Toy
ann
o per
(Antb
B
be
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of wh
e
the M
oy/ S
ands
ich th nsemble to and
elbou en a ubiqu cussionist
swing
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n
E
for fiv
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ey ha
arlier
rne im
esthes
itous
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give
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scene
d
e
p
mer, fu
this y
ia)
provis
or six
b
resen
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ea
Will G
ce on
ed a
years. een playin
nk
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town
uthrie r at Melbo
g
Blend
melod t as Africa and world
tinker regularly b nd jazz mu
urne’s
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c
ing ja
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o
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p
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a
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zz,
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round
nd M sic influen
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h
It
l
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is
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U
la
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fr
s
p
id
c
ti
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e
tr
o
c
ments
es as
as
Club
ng da
m dou
tronic
dle Ea
the Sta
peculi
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nger
ble ba ure’, a sex
stern
ou
ar
sis Du
empti
ho
d ob
tet, fe
o, an
ed sam ously pitc tfit that de
sound kits, often
atures
instru ne and is a ss to vibrap
li
h
perfor jects and
scape
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g
p
tr
d
h
le
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t in m
menta
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hone,
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s with
m
venue
sound rs to create sine waves
a
li
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marim veryBywa
fellow ing abstrac
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come
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tense
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ba an
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ase of
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th
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Each
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real n is Duo mon bel. Rather
ard, a
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ames,
zz, cr
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and in
m
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M
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Band.
athew
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e
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ssion
rent to
pared
f the G
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ctronic
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B
sense
o
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n
b
aroun
s a jar
acous
inven
o
tronic
uthrie
Baker
is an
s and
of
d,
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s.
inven ls, yet
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Fish
Ada
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ver 18
r than dd
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cks is
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REVI
EWS
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LOCA
L REL
EASE
Weste
S con
rn
Glacia Grey
tinue
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d
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Syndic
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t it’s a
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nd ca
ll tigh
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tly c
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hlighti . Initially th and fragtheir
s
r
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ng the
e trio
palett
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e, ma
d
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d
er the
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E
eed d
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xtrem
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ly
ft
k
a
r
a
a
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ly
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if
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r
in
nd ex
e con
cult li
Bob B
corde
n
es, th
g little
contrasts
hausti e left with
d betw ergetic. Fe ficult for a
e beat
stenin gredients.
aker
a
tt
e
th
in
F
ng.
mpt to
re
It’s at
aturin
g, but
een th
ish
at infe
g the
to. Th
time
g mate lease so
it is
fuse
e mid
c
rnal
ere
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undou ontinuity
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Fraug
handle are no gro also music s tense and
and 2
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b
te
h
oves,
m
d
to
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s to g
ly dar
003 it
iffi
sound
active
and v
melod
Consta an
rab on
’s ama
k, so
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s an
ly liste ibr
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to,
n
somew
zn
the op ate, though me of the b d approac
(Extre t Decay
here b rather thes or vocals,
world
h. It’s
ti
e
th
a
m
m
no
ts lite
e kind
e ar
etw
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e Elec
of
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The b
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Whils sound des een a spars e sounds o
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in
b
ic
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oo
litz
g.
ed ‘Th
o
s)
p
ign or
t th
e
Bob B
e End m breakbea m
openin krieg of n
scienti stripped b er‘Open e fourth c
aker
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oise s
t on
g cut
ack
fic im
ut, th
Fish
Space
h
o
a
o
m
r
v
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e
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p
e
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C
s
r
r
tw
’ fe
onsta
y
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sed th
that is
tal ma
n
e cov
nipula atures som enty four m isation.
‘XXX
Apsci
allusio
er and t Decay en
’, the
tion’
e ‘add
inute
impro
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sures
ti
from
e
tl
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d
G
e
to
e
,
e
e
th
t it Tw
nviro
listen
rratic
renow
the co
at if th
Kaffe
the dis
nmen
ers ar
isted
a
ned E
Math
ey
(Elefa
e
c
pound nd dark re ntent of th
nglish
nt Tra
is unc under no
lease.
earne Glacial Err ews, for th
in
g
ks)
a
Who
stly b
nd om
omfor
atic fe
A sca
e rem
fr
a
g
d
u
m
tt
ainde
table
e
inous
o thes
nkere
ergun
ents o
spasa
r of
d dow ls like the
e guy
beats
ta
f
o
ming
f
l
n
th
d
o
m
e
is
e
s thin
trio
-floor
usic v
torme
e
n clip
e, Con
and e
betwe
k they
igilan
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ping,
xplor
stant
faith?
en the
trial in intensity
tes? D
ing th
clickin
are? T
y
D
T
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e
a
c
if
h
m
n
a
s
is
fi
efend
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tanity
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d cha
. Inter
e size
rans-c
cult
g
r
,
e
in
c
o
b
ers of
te
,
o
at all.
rd is a
ally fo
esting
of the
ass ja
nt: Ap
the br ontinenckham furious oft s. The feel
ly tha
ur-toc
g
s
Bob B
o
u
c
m
lf
i
S
p
m
e
ave n
t’s no
ydney
is lo-f
rehen
n imp
Drugs
mer li
e
aker
a
n
ew
b
t
i
, man
s
tore C
e
ke be
a bad
Fish
, it’s a usiness. Ne ive statem
age, a
ats, th netrable d indusowbo
being
ent of
n
ll
r
y moa
w Yor
e odd
ill an
d
th
a junk
G
e
e
Shaoli
t
s
d
k, Ma
nin
samp
ame in
it Twis
Hipho
y and
At tim
nilla,
le s
n Wo
p
te
this d
swirls g about sic
es it b
od
A Bin
igital
kness uch as
Twiste for the mo d is music
and to
egins
seems
ary In en Men
cyber
d
fo
p
d
e
to
r
a
r
r
r
s
in
to
n
e
w
the jo
becom
nts of
put T
age
aps
be d
(PsyH
hipho
nage
urney
o Fles
electr and
armon
p (actu the grime . Believe it
via pe riven by an e cohesiv
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h Ante
onics
.
ics)
o
e
a
G
p
Takin
r
f
,
ll
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c
instati
et it
ack, s
mode
howe
backw
ussion
nna
y, I am
g their
o
v
rn b
able d
er, if
ater g
. At ti
not su
na
mercia let’s settle
esire
ing de
ar
m
more
ppose ackpack
for ca
fo
l
vice p me from a
terrify age version es it feels
d to c
rkung
opula
tro: fi college hip r east coas
like a
in
all it
Shaw
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g
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M
tu
a
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n
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re. W
backBroth
nerati hop) for cle abstract n
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hen th d evil due
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Austr
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r
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atterin
fourth
Tutaa
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nd ab
ao
me th
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ged p
and c
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g scre
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om A
L
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receed
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releas
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et
e find Men’s
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rth
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ound
the id . It’s a reco
ve the
s them
Dead’. sock on th
influe er afield fr
like th
eas, th
rd cle metre of R
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26
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Sebas
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DVD
28
SLEE
VE R
Sleev
e Des
EVIEW
ign by
Alex C
S
rowfo
ot
Muslimgauze
Re-mixs [sic] volume 1 & 2
(Soleilmoon 2003)
Format: 2 x CD
Designer: Plazm
Last issue I mentioned being disappointed in a Muslimgauze
release (a review that appeared
only in the web version of
Cyclic). Soleilmoon have
redeemed themselves with this
one, a re-release of remixes by
Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze) that
have been out of print for seven
years. It comes in a 26cm by
13cm folder covered in fur, looking like Chewbacca’s fair
Swedish cousin came to an
untimely end. The folder is held
together by a 4cm paper band,
printed with several versions of
the word Muslimgauze, artfully
hand-painted and reversed in
white and grey. Slide the band
off and the folder opens to reveal
glossy black printed card. One
half is just black, the other has
the two CDs attached with black
plastic fixtures. The CDs are also
black, with the same hand-paint-
ed treatment of ‘Muslimgauze.’
This runs right across the panel,
from the card onto the CDs and
off again. And it lines up perfectly, a sign of good craftsmanship.
On this panel are also brief copyright details in typically
restrained typography. The discs
also feature their respective titles
in minimal white type. In the
spine, the limited edition number is handwritten. The packaging doesn’t appear to be covered
in fur for any reason other than
for aesthetic effect – which it certainly has, when combined with
the stark black and white. The
sublime and the ridiculous,
together at last. It’s beautifully
made as well as designed, and is
completely impossible to store
with your other CDs.
Various Artists
Beanbag Aesthetics
(Pink Dot 2003)
Format: 2 x 3" CDs
Designer: Uncredited
The music here reminds me of a car journey I once
took in the US with an industrial-strength bong-head
who had a huge collection of odd and rare vinyl. He
played me mix tapes he’d made with three decks;
three tracks running at once, some spun by hand,
others at the wrong speed. It was similarly mindbending. Anyway, a new genre is proclaimed here,
and the CD packaging is suitably distanced from the
norm. An old-style thick double CD case in black
and clear plastic has a clear plastic sticker on the
front with white type: the CD name and catalogue
number set in ITC Bauhaus. The box is filled with
polystyrene bean-bag filler which has a side effect
that will give stoners hours of fun – the static means
that when you touch the box the balls move. Stop
sniggering. One CD is printed in red with a cropped
circle in orange containing the word ‘beanbag.’ The
other is similar, in green and beige, with the word
‘aesthetics’. The design here seems to reference ‘70s
design, in keeping with the lounge-music-through-ahead-blender. The standard black tray has cutout
sections so the overall effect is quite graphic. A
small card insert tells the story of the music genre’s
birth, and lists the tracks. The consistent use of
Bauhaus keeps the look lean: simple and unfussy,
albeit with tight leading. The track titles are quite
revealing as well as being funny, from ‘we have
obsolete technology’ to ‘big chins as a sign of good
breeding’ via ‘dole rage’ and ‘gated community spirit.’ I like the way the CD takes a standard pack and
uses it in a new way. It makes a feature of a box that
would normally just be the carrying device for the
design content – a booklet and the CDs. It’s an example of how a good idea can make much more of less.
The Great Ereat
Doddodo
Untitled
(Self-release 2003)
Format: CDR
Designer: Uncredited
It doesn’t get much more
hand-made than this. The
front is made from a
piece of silver wrapping
paper printed with solid
stripes in that eighties
favourite, dusty pink. A
seriously distressed
octopus/intestine creature is rendered in crenellated
black lines. This is printed on a clear sticker that’s
stuck to the pink-striped paper. Another sticker features the title in heavy Helvetica. The back cover is
a blank piece of blue tissue paper. This is then stapled together – all the way round, so you have to
rip it to get to the CD. Not just any old staples, but
metallic green, magenta, yellow and blue ones. The
CDR has another clear sticker on it with another
illustrated character in jagged lines, this time
clenching its fist and yelling. Inside is a bright
orange piece of paper, hand-cut into curves. On it,
in black, the artist name in the same type as the
cover and a hand-drawn illustration of a figure
holding a microphone whose head is an explosion
of viscera, and whose back has a large hole exposing its innards. The track numbers and times are
scattered in various sizes of heavy Helvetica/Ariel.
On the back are the contact details and a series of
joined cartoon figures, wailing and tumbling their
way across the paper. A unique aesthetic, somehow
very ‘now,’ and as eccentric as the music on it.
Leibe ist Cool
Du und ich
(Self-release
2003)
Format: CDR
Designer:
Uncredited
This is the first example of a made-to-order CD I
have come across. Leibe ist cool consist of a Berlin
couple who fell in love and decided that love is so
great they’d make a record about it. The CD comes
with a printed sheet telling their story, set in a techno vernacular typeface in red and blue. The CDR is
slipped into a hand-made white fabric circular
pocket. One side has a label sewn onto it, the kind
mums used to sew into the necks of their kids’
clothes so they wouldn’t lose them at school.
Embroidered in red is a heart and the name ‘Leibe
ist cool.’ The reverse features a clear plastic disc
sewn onto the sleeve which contains a circular print
of the track listing and credits in red and black. The
typography here is a little heavy, a couple of points
smaller would do the trick, but it’s nicely understated all the same. The CDR has a printed label in
white with black a red type. Again, a slightly lighter
touch typographically would give it a slight lift.
Completing the package is sheet of heart stickers.
Overall it projects a kind of sophisticated innocence. Musically it’s a mix minimal, insistent and
slightly spooky techno with a splash of mellow
house. Have a look at
www.liebeistcool.de and
marvel at the thanks page
– the innocence fades a
little, too. I can think of
some local artists who
could do with that level
of sponsorship. Fact: you
can also buy a red-striped
wristband with a Donald
Duck football medallion
attached to it called
‘That’s Donald!’
SLEEVE REVIEWS
29
SLEEVE REVIEWS 30
Sleeve Design by Alex Crowfoot
Hafler Trio
How to Slice a Loaf of Bread
(Phonometrography 2003)
Format: 3 x CD
Designer: The Man Behind the Curtain
Hafler Trio and Autechre
Ae3o & h3ae
(Phonometrography 2003)
Format: 2 x CD (‘3” things embedded in 5” things’)
Designer: The Man Behind the Curtain
These first two releases on Phonometrography are intricate
examples of careful creation. Both are encased in custom
die-cut folders made of thick, textured white stock. A matte
silver paper band closes them, with a red paper seal
embossed with the record label logo, positioned to cover
the closing flap of the folder. The Hafler Trio release opens
to reveal a card featuring details of a live performance –
presumably this is a document of it – set in a decidedly
eccentric typeface. Next comes a booklet, the removable
cover of which is printed with a photo of a notebook containing geometrical designs. A large piece of concertinafolded thick card forms the booklet inside, with the text of what
appears to be an interview set in
Caslon Italic around more photos
of notebook spreads. Next another folder in the same thick stock,
embossed with the record label
logo, contains eight black and
white images printed on card,
most of them murky, but they
seem to be from the live event.
Next is an ingenious die-cut
booklet, in plain white, with tabs
The cover of The Hafler
Trio/Autechre release is printed
with the titles in a grey sans
serif, an ornate ampersand
ghosted behind. It opens to reveal a three-panel die
cut gatefold sleeve, all in the same thick white textured stock as ‘...Bread.’ The cover of this sleeve is
traced with lines of script type. One the left and
right of the gatefold a fold of Japanese paper encases
each CD. Both of these are 3" embedded in 5". The
typography of the outer sleeve is repeated here, in
black and grey, with beautifully quirky copyright
details. In the centre are ten square pieces of tracing
paper, each printed with a different blurred black
and white geometric image. Some of these are reminiscent of DNA. All are like strange x-rays. Both
these releases allow for plenty of space, not only
graphically but for interpretation, or the creation of
meaning. No explanation is given, it’s up to the
viewer to make their own sense – or not, if you
cut into its pages. A CD is mounted on each page, attached with a
white foam dot. Each CD features
a different geometric form,
reversed out of black. Because
there is no white base under the
black, all lines are in silver – and
the black has a lustre to it caused
by its translucence. This also
means that you see ‘rainbows’ in
the black as you would on a plain
silver CD.
choose. They certainly feel precious, almost worthy of white
gloves. They also feel both contemporary and timeless, steering
well clear of graphic trends.
Personally, I have a dislike for
the typeface used on the Hafler
Trio release but it’s there to
complete the quirky impression.
Various
Background Moods
(Reader’s Digest 1965)
Format: 10 x 12" vinyl LPs plus bonus record!
Designer: Uncredited
If you thought the chillout compilation was a recent
phenomenon, here’s the evidence to the contrary.
But do the morass of contemporary easy listening
CDs come with a die cut Pleasure Programmer to
match the music to your every mood? No they do
not. According to an ‘expert statistician’ (as
opposed to a completely crap one I suppose) you
can devise up to 2,216,288 Pleasure Programmes.
You can be playing this set to your grave. The sturdy box comes in at 3.5 kilos when fully laden with
vinyl and promotional gumph for the umpteen
other Reader’s Digest boxed sets to tantalise suburban America. The cover of the box features a softfocus doe-eyed babe on one side and tasteful textured teal on the rest of it. Out slides another box,
in white, with handy flip-down quick-reference
track listing, with the record numbers printed in
matching teal. Noice. The 10 albums each use the
same organic texture, in a different colour, from
beige to mint. Looking closely the texture could
even be a photo of a doily. And it’s all ‘Recorded in
the MAGNIFICENT NEW DYNAGROOVE SOUND.’
SLEEVE REVIEWS
31
32
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Ornette Coleman
ISSUE
Free Jazz
(Atlantic, 1961)
I can’t really explain what I felt when I first heard
The reputation of Brisbane even in musical output
this album. I’d just come out of a long period listenwould not immediately bring avant-turntablism to
ing to pretty straight electronic music and some
mind. Indeed, in terms of electronic music
metal and hearing Coleman’s double quartet literally
Brisbane’s close proximity to what was the trance
blew my head off. It was so free, so uninhibited and
mecca of the late 1990s, Byron Bay, would tend to
so frantic, it really took my breath away. I was
indicate that all things fractal may be more the
amazed to hear how the instruments fitted together
case. However, along with DJ Sheep, who runs the
and how random acts of the musicians created this
Australian outpost of Bomb (responsible for the
very unusual interaction and complimentary feel in
Return Of The DJ series), Lawrence English has
the music. While most of the improvising I particibeen quietly carving out a niche for experimental
pate in isn’t quite as firey as this, there have been
electronics and turntable manipulation. For the
moments with my Ubique Trio that have come close
past few years Lawrence has been curating a
to me sensing what these musicians must have felt
monthly event called Fabrique at the Brisbane
working together during that session.
Powerhouse and running his boutique CD label,
::Room 40:: (formerly Horrorshow) which has its
sleeve design done by fellow Brisbanites, Rinzen.
From afar Lawrence seems a pretty serious guy, but
up close he is better known for his penchant for
acting out bad taste Michael Jackson jokes and general pranksterism.
In c
Public Enemy
Fear Of A Black Planet
(Def Jam, 1990)
There’s a lot of contention of which is ‘the’ PE
record and to be honest I think it may well just
come down to what you got into first. For me Fear
Of A Black Planet was the first record that really
made me think about the power of lyrics and wordplay and the possibilities to convey a message
directly or indirectly through sound and words. I
still am impressed by the way the record plays out,
each of the tracks fit well into the next and there’s a
real sense of narrative and journey over the course
of the record.
Nine Inch Nails
Pretty Hate Machine
(TVT, 1989)
I think was the first album I heard that really got me
thinking about the link between electronics and
acoustics. It’s a killer album for your teenage years
and I’m sure it fuelled my angsty times at school. It’s
also one heck of a great pop album, even though
most people seem to disagree with me on this – it’s
got the full dynamic. At the time I really listened to
this album I was playing in a whole lot of industrial
bands, and I still look back fondly on slamming giant
pieces of metal together and grinding sparks into the
audience. As for a favourite track I’d say that’d have
to be ‘Sin’ – but not the version from the record, the
live version from the ‘Solid Gold Hell’ bootleg
recorded somewhere in Europe – Chris Vrenna’s
playing on that was remarkable! There were industrial clubs in Brisbane, in fact I ran a quasi-industrial
night with some great folks Marky and Deanna called
Club Mondo... but I never was a dancer...
Young MC
‘Bust A Move’
(Delicious Vinyl, 1988)
This song was instrumental in leading me to my
wife, Becks, who incidentally I’ve been with for the
better part of half my life. It was during this song at
a school dance that I approached a friend of hers
and before long the letter writing that was so common between our schools (both were single sex), led
me to hook up with Becks and the rest is history
really, in that fourteen years later we’re still together, now married, and we still laugh every time ‘Bust
A Move’ makes its way onto Rage or even better
Saturday morning TV. Who would have thought
Young MC would leave a lasting mark on someone’s
life? Ironic when you think about the lyrics too!
DJ Olive
Sleep
(theAgriculture, 2002)
I’ve always been a very big admirer of DJ Olive’s
work. On his first trip to Oz in 2001, he brought
down a wad of CDRs of his newly completed ambient record Sleep – designed to help him and his
friends chill out (and literally sleep) following 9/11.
To this day, it is a record I can come back to again
and again. It’s an excellent exercise in sleep music
and its integrated style means the listener is sub-
merged deeply into the ebb and flow of the record.
This style of mixing track into each other was something that influenced the way I constructed Calm and
along with some of Biosphere’s records, Sleep was a
major conceptual influence for that first I/O record.
Fennesz
Endless Summer
(Mego, 2001)
Apart from thinking that Brian Wilson was certainly
onto a winning idea with his Endless Summer concept, this record by Fennesz was one of the first laptop records that I heard that really made me realise
the possibilities of combining processing with
acoustic instruments. Fennesz is a great guitarist
and a fine composer and this record shows off both
of his talents. I was impressed with how much emotion he was able to create on this record and no
matter how abstract the sound sources seemed,
there’s not a moment on the record which is cliched
or impersonal.
Luc Ferrari
Presque Rien Avec Filles/Heterozygote
(1989/1963)
Discovering Luc Ferrari’s work and these two compositions particularly really helped focus my work
with field recordings and concrete composition. Just
about all his pieces are enjoyable exploratory works
– they have a real sense of narrative, invented or
otherwise. Ferrari has a wicked sense of humour
that makes some of his works come off as playful,
but there’s also a very serious side to his compositions. He’s really able to use textures to creative
emotions in his works and I’ve always found that to
be impressive about his output He’s also one of the
composers from that generation still very much
embracing new techniques and collaborating with
numerous musicians.
Cliff Martinez
Solaris OST
(Trauma, 2002)
Coming across the soundtrack well before seeing the
film, Martinez’s work for the flawed US remake of
Solaris is easily one of the strongest and most
engaging film scores I’ve heard in ages! Everytime I
listen to it, especially if I’m out in public, it really
effects how I view the world. It’s a very powerful
piece of work...what’s funny about this record is I
don’t actually know how I found out about it, but
since then I’ve collected most of his available
recordings for the archive here.
Melatonin : Mediations On Sound
In Sleep is out on ::Room40::.
DEA R
A REG
ULAR
DOSE
Dear Degrassi,
‘What ever happened to Short Round from
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?’
D Petch
Boy oh boy, I had to trawl long and hard through
the virtual deserts of forgotten actors in order to
extract any information about Short Round, who
goes by a number of names, including Jonathan Ke
Quan, Key Huy-Quan, Huy Quan Ke, Jonathan Quan
and Ke Huy Quan. While this seems like a lot of
names, I’m sure most of them are due to the fact
that a lot of ‘Westerners’ don’t bother to find out the
order South-East Asian names should go in, and
therefore they throw them at the page hoping something will stick. Only people like Madonna and
well, me, can afford to go by a single name.
Although it comes at a price. Just the other day I
heard that Roseanne has returned to being called
Roseanne Barr because she found it so frustrating
trying to explain to banks and other such institutions that she didn’t have a surname. I know her
pain, but I digress.
While we are on the subject of names, has anyone
else realised the irony that Steven Spielberg should
receive such acclaim for the epic Schindler’s List,
portraying the terrible plight of Jews during the
Holocaust, and yet he is quite happy to name a
main character ‘Short Round’ in a film made only a
decade earlier? I find the name as offensive as
Mickey Rooney playing a prosthetically bucktoothed Japanese photographer in Breakfast at
Tiffany’s. Upon further research, however, I discovered that ‘Short Round’ was actually that of the
screenwriters’ dog. Since Indiana was named after
George Lucas’ dog and Willie after Spielberg’s, I
guess there is a pattern. I still find it horribly inappropriate though.
DE G R
OF IR
REG
ULAR
ASSI
POP C
ULTU
RE
For all you trainspotters out there, the night club
in the opening of Temple of Doom is called ‘Club Obi
Wan’. Also a rather major screw up occurs in the film
when Harrison Ford refers to Quan as Data, but of
course anyone who was a kid in the ‘80s doesn’t need
to be reminded that that was Quan’s character’s name
in The Goonies. This is odd considering Doom was
made before The Goonies where he was the child of
many gadgets which had a varying degree of success
saving the other kids. including Corey Feldman, with
whom he would later work. Who knows, perhaps he
got on the pipe with him which might account for his
absence from the big screen for a number of years.
Or perhaps that could be better attributed to his
work on television. First stop was his starring role in
Together We Stand, which was a phenomenally
unsuccessful show. Remember that episode of The
Brady Bunch where some friends of the Bradys’
adopt a little boy and he convinces his new parents
that they should also adopt his other two friends but
they happen to be, shock, horror, black and Asian?
Well, I do. Neighbours grumble, but ultimately the
family live happily ever after and deface a book with
the Three Musketeers in it by colouring in one brown
and another yellow. (Don’t ask me how or why I
remember these things.) Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch, tried to sell this episode as
a pilot, but failed until the mid-‘80s when he convinced Elliot Gould to head the family. The show
was pulled after just six episodes and Gould was so
ashamed of his involvement that he not only had
some of the episodes shelved, never to reach the light
of a cathode ray tube, but also had his character
killed off before they exhumed the show with a new
title, Nothing Is Easy. I recall catching one of those
six rare episodes during a non-ratings period and let’s
just say that his recurring cameo in Friends is a vast
step up! Other than that, Quan had a guest role in the
weekly horror show Tales from the Crypt, which was
pretty forgettable, and is said to have done a stint on
Head of the Class, but I don’t ever recall seeing him.
He did manage to score the supporting role of Kim in
1992’s Encino Man, but whether this could be considered an achievement is still to be determined.
After all, it is a Pauly Shore movie.
Despite being Vietnamese it is said that Quan
speaks Cantonese and Mandarin fluently, which has
helped him to achieve minor ‘success’ in the
Hong Kong film industry. By that, I mean he has had
some bit-parts in some reputedly shocking films, but
hey, I’m sure they covered a month’s rent. These
include 1991’s Breathing Fire, which has plot as
flimsy as a porno, with kickboxing sequences
instead of sex to flesh the film out. 2001’s Second
Time Around sounds more interesting at least,
although all the reviews I could find said that about
half the English subtitles are missing, which should
make for some interesting viewing and make the farfetched plot even more difficult to understand. To
save you the trouble I’ll give you the gist: think the
gambling sub-plot from Lock, Stock and Two
Smoking Barrels, but in Vegas, meets Galaxy Quest,
and throw in a bit of the unlikely romance from Out
of Sight. Get the picture? I thought you wouldn’t.
Somewhere along the way Quan graduated from
the University of Southern California School of
Cinema Television. This prepared him for the behind
the scenes roles as Producer, Director of Photography
and Editor of Voodoo, staring ex-Goonie cohort
Corey Feldman as Andy Chadway, an unlikely (given
his age) college student who gets lured into a Voodoo
cult fraternity. While I’m a Feldman fan, there are
just things you can’t bring yourself to see, and this
film is one of them. I think I’d cry the same way I
did when a co-worker told me that Duran Duran
were supporting Robbie Williams.
It hasn’t been all low-rent accommodation with
peeling wood panelling for Quan though, as he was
the Stunt Coordinator for the X-Men movie back in
2000. But if he wants to get his profile up there
again, he's going to have to do what Steve
Guttenberg did and create his own ‘fan site’. The
only fan page for Quan I could find was possibly the
lamest I’ve ever seen, so much so that it is even
shorter than its article and the FAQs are mainly
answered with those three magic words ‘I don't
know’. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself:
www.angelfire.com/ab/horizons/.
Neue Musik aus Berlin
Maximilian Hecker
Goethe-Institut
Barbara Morgenstern
Friday 12 March / 9pm / The Studio
The Sydney Opera House / $25 / $20 concession
Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com/thestudio or call: (02) 9250 7777
More information: www.goethe.de/welttournee

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