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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


Cajid, 2005, Caj004

In addition to installation and cinesonic works, Camilla Hannan has been putting out tracks on various Australian sound compilations since 2001 (Document 03-Diffuse, Liquid Architecture 3 and 4). More Songs About Factories is her first full length CD. It is a deep, throbbing, rumbling work which sits well with Cajid's line-up of Thembi Soddell and Bruce Mowson.

There is now quite a diverse field of artists working in a similar vein. Darrin Verhagen's Soft Ash (Dorobo: 1997) and Toshiya Tsunoda's influential piezoceramic microphone document, Field Recording Archive #3 - Solid Vibration (Infringitive, 2001), come to mind. Like most of these practitioners, Hannan begins with field recordings of distant industrial activities and has tweaked and remixed these to produce a set of richly smeared cycling pulses with some coiling, mildly grating additions.

Both the sonic palette and the temporal/rhythmic variation represented on More Songs commences with and eventually concludes in a minimalist vein, typical of this style of composition. By track 4 of 5, however, a series of diverse, stereophonically active, crunchy, crinkling and sharply insistent sounds have begun to both cut across and poke firmly out of the wide bed of the mix. Typewriter-ish punctuations give way to an incisor-like, repeated metallic squeal, creating an interesting dynamic as these new, more aggressive, higher frequency elements move about throughout track 4 and into the final track. As the subtitle of track 4 announces, this is an “Itchy” section, a series of very pointed sonic abrasions which break up an otherwise gently dispersed, aggregated mass of roiling materials and mild pulses. The CD ends on something intermediate between these 2 extremes as the higher frequency, prodding punctums are withdrawn, leaving a series of now much more expansive textural effects. The nature of the now foregrounded background has therefore been subtly altered and continues to be so with more overt speed and a larger acoustic space than in the somewhat more compressed and oppressive first tracks, eventually producing a loud, intense conclusion.

Amongst the many rumbling, mostly deep-tone soundscapes and altered field recordings currently available, it is becoming increasingly difficult to articulate precisely what distinguishes one from another. In Hannan's case it appears to predominantly be this alternation between wide voluminousness and compacted density. It is certainly true that the superlative sounds of Solid Vibration are hard for any artist to top, so Hannan's relative emphasis on sound design over composition may be a wise strategy (inasmuch as the 2 can really be separated within this genre). Nevertheless, Hannan certainly shows on More Songs… that she can throb and grate with the best of them, so I look forward to seeing if her earlier, more harmonic, musique-concrète approach and otherwise glancing sonic shapes might return in future releases to give her field recordings yet another level of overt distinction. In any case, this is a fine new release within a populous but still growing form.

Jonathan Marshall

© Jonathan Marshall; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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