info I contact
editorial schedule
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive


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




Naturestrip, 2003, NS3001

"This is a journey into sound."

If we can bypass for a while the cheesy ambient chillout connotations and po-mo irony that the phrase invokes, then we can consider that this is indeed what surfacedrift is. Not a "psychedelic" journey, enhancing some sort of altered state, but a carefully guided journey into focussed and attentive listening. These are pieces recorded and mixed with an ear that obviously delights in the textural complexities and aural subtleties of our everyday soundworld. Environmental recordings of the likes of open fires, rainstorms, birdsong and ocean waves are amplified, layered and re-contextualised to form the basis of the mixes of these tracks. Sonic minutiae are repositioned and foregrounded into new and sharper juxtapositions. Regular dynamic and volume relationships are altered–askew. There is a feeling of being drawn into a familiar soundspace, but at the same time reverberant spaces and aural cues seem slightly disorienting, perspectives are shifted and blurred.

Favourable and well-deserved comparisons have already been made with the structured field recordings of Chris Watson’s Weather Report and Francisco Lopez’ La Selva. This is high praise indeed as these CDs (the latter especially for me) are classics of this genre. However what sets this work apart from other purely environmental collages/remixes is the way that these environmental recordings are layered and offset with the improvised playing of found objects. It is here that Tarab’s (Eamon Sprod) live performance techniques intersect with his mixology. In performance Sprod performs using a variety of materials such as rocks, leaves, scrap metal and glass as his sound sources. Using techniques such as rubbing, scraping or dragging he is able to generate a wide palette of textures and rhythmic impulses in much the same way as that most unheralded of sound practitioners, the foley artist. Here however, these foley-style gestures are not aimed at reinforcing the believability of visual imagery or to sync action with sound, but to enhance and subtly focus the environmental recordings. They are mixed so that it is often impossible to tell what is played and what is environmental sound. The intention is not to draw attention to any distinction between performed or environmental sound–the two combine synergistically, complimenting and reinforcing each other to produce a familiar yet hyper-real soundspace. Definitely a journey into sound worth taking.

Tim Catlin

© Tim Catlin; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

Back to top