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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


found: quantity of sheep


Found Quantity of Sheep, 2005

Found: Quantity of Sheep (FQS) are a self-described “experimental” rock band based in Perth who, like Set Fire to the Flames and several other contemporary instrumental groups, mix classic droney guitar rifts and melodic progressions with unusual recording techniques (vibrations and distortions in the mix, room sounds, distant mic-ing and field recordings of level crossings and other sources), studio composition and orchestrated prog rock. Although FQS' work often includes moments of noise and the odd self-important screamed vocals, the band largely eschews the melodrama of much contemporary heavy metal and industrial music. Rather, the use of warmer tones, sustained emotions—as well as cello, strings and piano—tends to place FQS' work more within the realm of composed rock with a slightly Gothic ambience.

Monkey+Valve, the ambitious follow up to their self-titled 2003 debut is great, a stimulating recording. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, this highly diverse CD includes everything from a wonderfully jarring glockenspiel line interrupted by moments of feedback and submerged cello to a Fellini-esque jig entitled The Monkey Grinder's Organ. A driving guitar line reappears across various tracks to help provide some unity, but what rather distinguishes the material as whole is its intriguing variety. For example 3 tracks include lyrics while the rest are instrumental, and 2 short interludes of 7 and 34 seconds respectively are placed between compositions of up to 7 minutes.

Monkey+Valve also comes with a bonus DVD featuring 10 videos from local artists premiered at the 2005 Revelation Film Festival. Sadly, what makes the CD so appealing is what undoes the DVD package. FQS gave no direction to the film-makers and so what has been produced is an inconsequential melange of disparate works ranging from a rather silly narrative of man looking for his lost girlfriend (directors Julie Williams, Mike Gasmire) to 2 basically misogynistic works about men addressing their inner turmoil by mutilating women (directors Guy Howlett, Andrew Ewing). Not exactly new material in the wake of the hundreds of extant romance or psycho killer narratives, nor does it have the muted critique expressed in films as diverse as I Spit on Your Grave (1977), The Driller Killer (1976) or Blue Steel (1990).

FQS' own critique of a robotic office worker is formalistically pleasing, though their montage of archival footage does not build on that of Devo or Talking Heads from the 1980s. Only Cat Hope eschews thematic narrative altogether, using slowly cycling tinsel in what looks like a weird snow-dome or a clear oil and water globe, producing a beautiful, abstract, meditative piece and certainly the most cinesonically innovative clip: a modest pleasure within this package.

Nonetheless, Monkey+Valve more than demonstrates FQS' musical sophistication and if their reach has, in this case, exceeded their grasp in terms of developing a challenging relationship with film, then this is nothing to reproach them for. With the work of video master John Gillies having recently been exhibited at PICA, models for better conceived cinesonics are not short on the ground in WA.

Jonathan Marshall

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

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