A couple of weeks ago Fragmented Frequencies managed to catch local experimental musician Tim Catlin’s Overtone Ensemble. A quartet, they each played a homemade instrument constructed with a series of aluminium rods that looked like TV antennas. Wearing rubber gloves coated with rosin, they would stroke these rods, making them resonate, creating this amazing pitch of sound that just hovered in the air.
It was a truly unique sonic experience, approached the kind of class and rigour that we’d expect from Catlin. His most recent release, on beautiful white vinyl no less is his second collaboration with prolific Dutch producer Rutger Zuyderfelt, aka Machinefabriek and is called Patina (Low Point). They’ve followed a similar modus operandi as Glisten, where Catlin sends over a bunch of prepared guitar sounds that Zuyderfelt then processes. This time Catlin has his new toy, a prepared sitar (which he also contributed to Children of the Wave’s latest album) as well as guitar and it’s resulted in a quite gentle drone based work, interspersed with fragile flecks of guitar, looped recordings of record surface noise (which is a little ironic) and gentle chiming guitar. It’s an album that offers the space and stillness of Oren Ambarchi’s work on Touch, yet possesses a wider palette and greater complexity. This is truly innovative, immersive and beautiful work.
Last weekend The Infinite Decimals launched their new DVD, an audiovisual opus in which the Melbourne duo of Barnaby Oliver (guitar/piano) and Don Rodgers’s (Bass/percussion) improvisations are married to Paul Rodger’s images. Removing emotive song titles, each release thus far has featured a different array of infinite decimals, thus the DVD is titled 299 792 458 M.S 2012. At times it sees the musical duo somewhat more subdued, having to do less now that the images are providing some sort of contextual cover. Though it might also be because these days Don gets all his existential noisy chaos out of his system playing with the Paul Kidney Experience.
There are multiple techniques at play here, everything from animation to heavily processed images on a city street, though the visuals come in and out of sync with the music, at times seemingly wedded to the sounds, at others the objective seems to be to highlight the difference.
They’ve also just released 0.10992905085008 , another 4 tracks of instrumental goodness, including a 26 minute live recording from a show at Loop in 2011. Check http://infinitedecimals.bandcamp.com/ or facebook page.
After a recent outing with the Congos, California based Texas native Sun Araw has returned with a new album of deconstructed electronic squiggles. Inner Treaty (Drag City/ Fuse) is a typically inebriated mess of sounds that should be conflicting, yet somehow manages to mass into some sort of vaguely coherent whole, referencing everything from dub and reggae to r&b and experimental music. At times we’ve entered spiritual jazz territory, others experimental noodling. It’s scattered, ramshackle, carefree, feeling lose and improvised. The tunes feel static, never really going anywhere, they just appear almost fully formed, play out for a bit before finishing and then we’re onto the next. Yet somehow that’s not a problem, in fact it’s an apt description of the Sun Araw effect: All the rules get broken but that’s what makes it great.
With Melbourne electro Cumbia pioneers the Cumbia Cosmonauts it’s always been difficult to tell where the DJing ended and production began. In fact that was part of the joy of their sounds, a unique fusion of the old and the new. Their latest release Tropical Bass Station (Chumsa Records) sees them creating much of their own sounds, and moving closer to a club vibe, utilising dub techniques, almost hi life guitar, and all manner of things that don’t fit into most peoples conception of Cumbia. Yet that’s the point, this outfit have moved well beyond the cumbia moniker, now they truly are cosmonauts. They’re launching the album this Friday the 23rd at the Northcote Social Club with Congo Tardis #1 and Lamine Sonko & The African Intelligence. They’ve also just been announced as support for legendary Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman next month.