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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


sky needle

time hammer

Vinyl 7”, Independent Press, IP02
Sky Needle, Time Hammer Sky Needle, Time Hammer

Fortuitously, Sky Needle’s 7" vinyl disc Time Hammer arrived on my doorstep just after I was given a turntable (having been bereft of one for the last decade). While the group Sky Needle was not known to me (named after the Brisbane architectural folly built for Expo 88 and then purchased by millionaire hairdresser Stefan), two of its three members, Joel Stern and Ross Manning, are Brisbane experimental music stalwarts and they have found a kindred spirit in visual/sound artist Alex Cuffe.

Each plays a curious home made instrument—Stern on “latex pump horn,” Manning on “elastic dust shovel,” and Cuffe on “speaker box.” The result is a joyous, wonky kind of sound, curiously reminiscent of 80s post-punk, crafted into two reasonably tight tracks that are not so much funky as kind of…thunky.

This is a music in which the raw materials of the instruments (including elastic bands, a kitchen dust pan, old speaker housing and lengths of garden hose) are allowed to shine, introducing alternate harmonics and tasty timbres. The plunky twang of Manning’s dust shovel wraps around the chewy rubberiness of Cuffe’s speaker box, punctuated by the nasal honks of Stern’s footpump operated horns (a much more pleasing tonality than a stadium full of vuvuzelas).

Side A offers “Sweet 16 Snorks” which starts with driving buzzy bass notes that play in and around the higher string line, offset by staccato horn hoots and clanging pulses. This weighty intro quickly shifts into a higher, looser and lyrical interplay of strings and horn swoops, only to shift again into a third section of more agitated rhythms, handclaps and jangles. There is a real agility to the structural shifts in this piece, evincing the experience of the artists.

Side B gives us “The Stain” which offers a looser approach with minimalist rhythm figures, occasionally hinting at dissolution, which unevenly accumulate until an abrupt halt. I wish Time Hammer had been a 10-inch single so I could really see where "The Stain" might go.

Almost danceable and strangely cute, Sky Needle’s Time Hammer makes a fine start to my contemporary vinyl collection.

Gail Priest

© Gail Priest; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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