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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


lawrence english


Cajid Media, 2004, CD003

Cajid Media's 2 most recent releases could not be more dissimilar. Bruce Mowson's Static Tones constitutes a dry and unrelenting exploration of the aural perceptual effects created by throbbing, pulsing blocks of rather difficult sound. Lawrence English's Transit however is a seductive, beautiful suite which melds field recordings with airy, epic organ effects, gentle musique concrete atmospheres, and dramatic, punctilious aural flourishes.

English's 7 track set was inspired by the concept of travel and aural specificity, its sources moving from Thailand to Tasmania, the urban fringes of Japan, Northern England and Vietnam. While these samples broadly evoke the concept of place, English lifts these discrete elements out of their original context and mixes them so that no specific sites or aural landscapes are directly evoked. The effect suggests a sense of gradual change or horizontal movement from one environment to another (mostly from track to track), coupled with a strong impression of how these once site-specific sonic motifs have become deeply embedded within the warp and weft of these new, abstract aural realms. The sounds have therefore changed from being field recordings–recorded "in the field", constituting a form of sonic anthropology or record–to become strongly implicated within and affiliated to a broad, gently cycling and moving field of sound, a cloud-like blanket or nexus of mobile elements within which they sit.

The manipulation of the depth of field makes up one of the primary organizing principles of English's composition. Smaller sounds with a sharper attack and decay, such as plucked strings, tapped tubes, lightly-scraped phonograph needles, distorted vocals, ceramic clicks, bird or insect sounds, short sine wave and beeps, and other fragments, occupy the sonic foreground, while indeterminate rumbles or harmonious tones fill the background, providing a deep yet fluctuating bed into which these lighter elements are placed. If there is a weakness across the pieces overall it is in the use of choral-like organ chords or hummed vocals to convey a sense of the epic, the beautiful and/or the mysterious which at times approaches dated, New Age cliches from Brian Eno or Vangelis. English's wavering sonic fields are however too richly complicated to permit his work to actually conform with such worn motifs. It is indeed partly by skirting such familiar references that English makes his evocative materials so easy and pleasurable to listen to. For those looking for contemporary sound art which largely avoids the impenetrable aural harshness or difficulty of much otherwise fine new work, English's gorgeous, evocative collection should not be missed.

Jonathan Marshall

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

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