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sound/music CD reviews

 Da Contents H2

May 1 2013
Jon Rose

April 3 2013
zephyr quartet
a rain from the shadows

July 17 2012
the wired lab
wired open day 2009

May 22 2012
ros bandt, johannes s sistermanns

March 20 2012
new weird australia editions: thomas williams vs scissor lock, spartak
jewelz & nippon

October 25 2011
avantwhatever label collection
gulbenkoglu gorfinkel; ben byrne; alex white; ivan lysiak

May 24 2011
disintegration: mutation

May 10 2011
blip (jim denley, mike majkowksi)

listen to the weather

March 22 2011
difference engine

November 22 2010
artefacts of australian experimental music volume II 1974-1983

September 20 2010
clocked out
the wide alley

September 7 2010
clocked out
foreign objects

August 23 2010
matt chaumont

July 26 2010
sky needle
time hammer

May 10 2010
mike majkowski
ink on paper

November 6 2009
new weird australia vols 1 & 2

October 26 2009
clare cooper & chris abrahams
germ studies

July 17 2009
erdem helvacioglu
wounded breath

rice corpse
mrs rice

April 28 2009
james rushford

joel stern
objects, masks, props

January 22 2009
loren chasse
the footpath

mark cauvin

December 12 2007
the splinter orchestra

October 24 2007
artefacts of australian experimental music 1930-1973

August 28 2007
akathistos fragments


various artists produced by le tuan hung; dindy vaughan
on the wings of a butterfly: cross-cultural music by australian composers; up the creek

May 1 2006
ai yamamoto

camilla hannan
more songs about factories

found: quantity of sheep

philip brophy

rod cooper

December 1 2005
anthony pateras
mutant theatre

December 1 2005
charlie charlie & will guthrie
la respiration des saintes & building blocks

dj olive

new belief system

jodi rose & guest artists
singing bridges: vibrations/variations

lawrence english

lawrence english
ghost towns

michael j schumacher
room pieces

robin fox
backscatter dvd


the necks
mosquito/see through

tim o'dwyer
multiple repeat

guns, cars & guitars

warp: various artists
warp vision: the videos 1989-2004

zane trow
for those who hear actual voices


ai yamamoto


Bus - Outer 6, 2005

Previous Bus Gallery Outer releases have been compilations of various experimental sound artists, however the 6th in the series is a solo CD by Ai Yamamato. Japanese born, Melbourne-based Yamamoto is a well respected performer on the Australian scene, renowned for finely detailed, pretty compositions frequently accompanied by her own visuals. So this full length exploration has been keenly anticipated.

Euphonious opens with a 1 minute intro of gauze-like shimmers, quickly launching into the most pop-friendly piece, Guitarist letter, a gentle lolloping guitar loop with evolving frills on top. At the very end a single piano note and deep crackle give us a hint of darker possibilities.

Childhood (Track 4), also has popular appeal, with its overlapping vibraphone note clusters. Though the music box timbre has become the domain of Icelandic experimental pop tribes, Yamamoto's broken, intertwining melodies hang simultaneously in the air, creating beguiling polyphonies, confidently reclaiming the territory. Yamamoto also makes pretty work of the gamelan-timbre on Ai remember (Track 6), her sounds almost organic yet with a digitised edge that is constantly intriguing.

A highlight is Dreaming of swimming in emerald water (Track 7) made of midtone drones topped with melodic wisps, like high clouds forming, dissipating, reforming. New drones are introduced shifting the atmosphere into almost heavier zones which work back to resolved territory. Coming in at 4mins 33, it feels like this piece could quite happily sustain itself for 10 minutes.

Tracks 9-11 seem like a song cycle, joined together by a palette of needle sharp patterns, glassy patinas and waftier undertones that just keep us in touch with the earth. Beautifully mixed the sharpness never becomes unpleasant although it does create a sameness to the middle section of the album.

In contrast, the final 3 pieces offer the most varied explorations. Skyscraper has a majestic meditative pace, heavy on synthesizer tones, drawing inspiration from earlier electronic pop. Sky Train offers pacey, birdlike electronic trills and bleeps creating an atmosphere of excitement on the verge of agitation. The concluding track Make a wish uses a distant piano, gradually turning backwards on itself, giving a haunting sense of a shadow afterlife of the sounds.

On all the tracks Yamamoto's touch is light and considered. Her choice of timbre is her stylistic strength which only rarely becomes too samey. My only wish is for several of the pieces to be longer so that they can grow and hover a little longer on the edge of the darker places she evokes. That aside, Euphonious lives up to its title. More than simply pleasant sounding, Yamamoto offers 14 glittering aural jewels of exploratory electronica.

Gail Priest

© Gail Priest; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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