Fragmented Frequencies 25th June 09


So it’s that time again, where the hyper music nerds stroke their collective chins, close their eyes and celebrate with their ears, tuning into the world of sound art and experimental sonic practices. It’s Liquid Architecture‘s 10th anniversary, a festival that has collected some of the most interesting, obscure and risk taking sound artists together over the last decade. This year they’ve managed to land Asmus Tietchens, a German composer who began with tape manipulation in the 60’s though took on an industrial electronic bent thereafter. Fragmented Frequencies first and only contact with him came courtesy of the very peculiar ∂ – Menge album in the mid 90’s on Ritornell (Mille Plateaux). It was a sweet electronic concreté work with no real sense of structure, sound that felt like it was already sitting there, electronically bubbling and spluttering away and Tietchens just happened along and recorded it. Obscurely knowing one of the artists is kind’ve like a badge of honour for Liquid Architecture, though often it’s the freaks you’ve never heard of who tear your face off and explode your mind. They’ve also got Swiss based electronic improvising artist Jason Khan, US mash up pioneers The Evolution Control Committee, German soundtrack artist Thomas Koner and a bunch of Australia’s best, brightest and weirdest intense sound dudes. It’s on from the 9th to the 12th of July and includes exhibitions, performances and workshops at various venues around Melbourne. Check for more details.

The Purple Duck is one of those evil wrong dudes from Suicidal Rap Orgy, so he’s quite at home on Australia’s wrongest record label Dual Plover. His debut solo album Duckside of the Moon (geddit?) is fucking stupid and amazingly great for exactly the same reasons. It feels like a comedy album, with skits such as Cunt Dracula, who is a nasty insensitive piece of work (even for a vampire) and Sex Falcon which is about a falcon that terrifies townsfolk by penetrating them and then dropping them off a mountain two hours away. Yes we know it’s juvenile but it doesn’t stop it being funny. And it’s part of the charm of Purple Duck who uses hip hop, funk, house, indie folk, blues and electro pop, torturing them within an inch of their life and then relieving them of urine. He’s launching his opus of wrongness with fellow eccentric hip hop dudes Curse Ov Dialect, The Professional Savage, Pig+Machine, and Aoi at Bar 303 in Northcote on Saturday the 11th of July.

Fragmented Frequencies desperately misses Leeds quintet Hood like Tracey Grimshaw misses credibility. A couple of years back the Adams brothers splintered off into two solo projects, Chris formed Bracken and his brother Richard developed Declining Winter, which not surprisingly if you play together at the same time sound exactly like Hood. Declining Winter’s Goodbye Minnesota (Sensory Projects) was an understated gem, a subtle and nuanced work that tapped directly into the emotions. A download only remix album has just been released featuring the likes of The Remote Viewer and Bracken tinkering at its bones. These remixes add elements of restrained electronica to the beguiling stillness, a kind of stripped surreal lilt to the work, with El Fog’s and Part Timer’s mix taking the tunes to a whole new level. Check

Finally many people will tell you that Miles Davis and the 80’s are a bad mix, that he had descended into a sad kitsch parody of the forward thinking greatness that he once effortlessly exuded. That said his last album, which he never lived to hear, the jazz fusion hip hop of 1992’s Doo Bop (Warner) is a firm favourite of Fragmented Frequencies. The DVD of a German concert in 1997 however is another matter. On Miles Davis: That’s what happened (Eagle Vision), his trumpet is a dull strained whisper and the tunes are hijacked by an awful polished jazz fusion band with bullshit guitar solos. Davis barely plays, his back to the camera, wandering around preoccupied, perhaps futilely looking for his sound. You know you’re in trouble when the highlight is his version of Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time. There’s also a short featurette on Miles’ art. “I love women with carriage,” he offers to a confused German journalist. It’s the best moment on this disc.

Bob Baker Fish


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