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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


philip brophy


Sound Punch, 2004, Hurt-008

Philip Brophy has made a manifold contribution to Australian screen/sound culture as a composer, curator, critic and teacher across media (installation, CD, live performance, journals, popular forums). His Sound Punch label has released 9 CDs by Brophy and others over the last 6 years. The latest is Aurévélateur which, like Beautiful Cyborg (see review) (2002), was originally devised for live performance as a score-in this case to director Philippe Garrel's bizarre filmic critique of the bourgeois family, Le révélateur (1968). Garrel's movie largely consists of the silent flight of a family through a mostly empty, darkened landscape; a fractured retreat in terror from an unseen threat. This scenario is intended to represent the tensions and paranoias of the capitalist family. Le révélateur's startling power comes from its opacity, from the weird hyper-investment of the images which is partly created by Garrel's deliberate use of silence rather than soundtrack. It is therefore hard to see what Brophy's music might add beyond a certain banality of theme, an emotional/musical consistency, or a sense of dated historicism—not least as Brophy's broadly unified score tends to sew together Garrel's deliberately disjointed scenography.

Like Beautiful Cyborg therefore, Aurévélateur is most satisfying if one ignores its filmic origins and considers it as a purely listening experience. At this level, Aurévélateur functions as probably the most poppy and accessible of the Sound Punch releases. With Dave Brown of Lazy and Candlesnuffer fame adding bass and guitar, and Sianna Lee vocals, Brophy's keyboard and drums come together to produce something very much akin to the revival of late punk, 'kraut-rock' and post-punk electronica which has recently been produced by Ladytron, Chicks on Speed, Life Without Buildings, Rocket Science, Franz Ferdinand and indeed too many bands to name. Brophy's melange brings forth something more of late 1960s, early 70s psychedelia and head-music to the mix than most of these other re-interpreters (the vaguely Jefferson-Airplane-like neo-lounge of Broadcast aside). In the end though, there is little that one would not hear at a good night either at the Factory during a performance of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the Velvet Underground or Lou Reed, or perhaps during one of the later Koolaid Acid Tests with the Grateful Dead et al. This is fine, but it is not very remarkable. In addition Brophy tries to underline the theme of Le révélateur with 2 versions of David Bowie's epic Heroes. Part of what made this song work was the sense of desperation and vocal friction in Bowie's enunciation as he begins to cry out at the finale with a wonderful technique that takes him close to a scream. Brophy by contrast sings “I wish I could swim / like dolphins can swim” in an oh-so-cool, presumably ironical, postmodern, deadpan fashion, all but eviscerating Bowie's masterpiece.

Brophy has described his recording as not so much a new score but a “riff” on Garret's film. One must therefore ask what Brophy has added to the heritage, sounds, dynamics and images of late 60s, early 70s culture with his noodlings, and conclude not all that much. Heroes aside, this CD makes for a good listen, with dirty guitar and Moe-Tucker-style drumming interspersed with loungey organ. However I would advise those seeking to add to their collection to go through Sound Punch's fantastic back catalogue before considering this particular release.

Jonathan Marshall

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

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