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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


tim o'dwyer

multiple repeat

Molecular Music Projects/Radio Bremen, 2004, MMP001

Saxophonist Tom O'Dwyer's latest solo release Multiple Repeat is a fascinating, seductive, confusing and at times unsatisfying suite of sound. A significant part of the music community in Sydney and Melbourne has become enamoured with the musical gesture. This includes not only artists working from within the semi-intuitive world of jazz and improvised sound, but also the milieu of highly composed atonal, serialist and microtonal composition, as well as those who straddle both realms like O'Dwyer. Much of this music is characterized by punctums and exclamations, small, jagged little pieces of sound and endless leaps around scales or tempo, a hopping and skipping across sonic relationships. This keeps the listener intrigued, searching for the hidden links and associations, but always off guard, waiting for more as each gesture is cut off or circumscribed without developing into the older classical or romantic models of resolution and conclusion. This is challenging and exciting. It is 'hard listening.' Such music can also be exhausting and uniform.

O'Dwyer has produced a CD which unequivocally pushes the envelope. The early pieces consist of multi-tracked recordings, initially of mostly percussive sounds, with lip clicks and half breathed hints thrown in, producing a truly remarkable splattering of sound and texture, little clunky noises scattering about time and space. It is impressively crafted and striking but also somewhat unsatisfying. The tossing of minutiae across the sonic field leaves little to hold onto or follow moving from one isolated sonic bit to another. After dazzling with his technique in this rarefied musical form, O'Dwyer moves into altogether different material on track 3 of 6. Here instead is an uneven, raspberry-ing of sustained tones and notes, fluttering motifs of considerable beauty which hover about chords before slipping off onto others. O'Dwyer has moved from an exploration of hollowness with the early, percussive materials to one of breathiness. You can feel the gentle yet surging pulse of air as it deflates out of the saxophone and kookaburra-like vocalisations are added to the mix. The playing off and layering of these now established motifs of breath and clunk, with a few dashes of tongue towards the end, define the musical progression across the CD.

The overall effect is one of virtuosic display, with O'Dwyer's absolute mastery of his instrument being more than apparent. Like the musical gesture itself however, the CD simply ends. It does not close or resolve in any apparent manner, there is no drama or finale. This could be interpreted as a classic late Modernist gesture–"This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper"–and it soon has one hitting play again, struggling to catch the fleeting conclusion that is hinted at. This is therefore a wonderfully paradoxical recording which I am still not actually sure if I really like. This is probably not a bad thing.

Jonathan Marshall

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

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