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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

ghost towns

Room40, 2004, EDRM403

It’s a tough life out bush and some of those towns don’t last the distance. Times get hard, the townsfolk git and the place just up and dies. That’s where Lawrence English went to make the field recordings for Ghost Towns—dead towns in the Queensland bush. Ghost Towns is a longish piece, 18 or so minutes, but being the only track makes for a short CD.

Ghost Towns is not a field recording, the raw sound is gently treated, but it still sounds like a specific place with specific objects being plucked, struck, or listened to. Like Dziga Vertov with Kino Pravda, English gets at the audio truth through all the possible means and techniques of recording (as against the means and techniques of signal processing).

Sometimes Ghost Towns is up close, everything in your face. Other times it’s spacious, drones in the back, discrete sounds up front. The start is quiet, big gong drum, space between the sounds, insects, birds, and shaky, rattling somethings over a low drone of wind rumble or maybe a distant plane. Some crummy setting-up-the-mic interference noise. The mic and plane take Ghost Towns away from that nostalgic space that deletes the artificial, separates humans from animals, and sees us as noisy intruders.

Another gong, another section break, and into plunky metallic sounds like bike spokes and walking about on old tin. Space has settled into a mid versus close recording, the sound stage shallow compared to the opening. This middle section seems to be about doing something with whatever was at hand, about performing the ghost town.

Scratches and crinkles start to pan about from left to right. In the background metal plates bang like gongs again. Suddenly a great creaking Scooby Doo door right up front and loud, then back into spacious sound. Cockatoos squawk, cicadas drone loud and loud and loud enough to kill. Back to plinking spokes, wires, the interior of an abandoned piano. "Can’t get it on the truck. You never played it anyway. Let’s go." Dust on the verandah. Rust on the tin. Bass strings flap around, roll down low then stop–like a dead town.

Greg Hooper

© Greg Hooper; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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