Fragmented Frequencies July 16


You don’t need musical instruments to make music. Possibly the most startling example of this is Alan Lamb, who recorded the sounds of wind on decommissioned power lines in outback WA, capturing the savagery and beauty of a giant Aeolian harp played by mother nature. He put out a couple of albums in the early 90’s, Night Passage and Primal Image/Beauty on the sadly defunct Dorobo label – there’s even a remix album featuring Ryoji Ikeda and Lustmord. More recently Melbourne experimental artist Tim Catlin has been working with aluminium rods. He’s created an instrument he calls the Vibrissa. These (12) rods are vertically mounted and then stroked using gloves and rosin. Sure it’s a little phallic, but it creates curious pitches and a harmonic complexity, as the tones just sustain and hang in the air – singing if you will. In 2012 he formed The Overtone Ensemble with Atticus Bastow, Philip Brophy and David Brown, and this month they’ll release their debut album on Massachusetts’ Important records (Pauline Oliveros/ Acid Mothers Temple/ Morton Feldman). The album is a remarkable suite of electronic sounding acoustica, with massed hand-bells, quarter-tone bells, e-bowed acoustic guitars, re-tuned glockenspiels, wineglasses and long wire instruments. It’s a whole new world and a feast for the ears.

I don’t know anything about Seymour based Tackle, other than him/her/it’s Benzedrine EP is incredible. It’s released on Australian/ Berlin label Another Dark Age, and between motorik percussion, hissing snares, dark rumbles, and forward pushing momentum, it’s bleakness you can dance to.


Fragmented Frequencies June 16

the hot spot_001As a director Dennis Hopper had his flashes of genius, madness and self-indulgent foolishness. People always gush about Easy Rider or its follow up the near mystical cocaine damaged The Last Movie. And whilst I’ll tip my hat to 1988’s Colors, my favourite is the failed 1990 desert noir The Hot Spot. There’s a lot to like, Don Johnson as the smooth drifter looking for a second chance, who falls into bed with his car dealer boss’ wife Virginia Madsen, whilst simultaneously falling for Jennifer Connolly, the innocent ingénue. With bank heists, femme fatales and an amoral every-man searching for his soul, caught between his brain and his balls, it’s noir for the 90’s. And whilst the sun soaked ‘Last Tango in Texas’ failed to ignite the box office, Hopper did one thing right. He hired Jack Nitzchse to score. Nitzchse had worked with Neil Young, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and everyone in between. His films included One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Performance and Cruising. Yet for the Hot Spot Nitzchse did something special. He hired Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahl, slide guitarist Roy Rogers and put them all in a room together. The results really defy categorization, lazy stripped back instrumental blues, with Hooker moaning periodically, Mahl strumming absently on his dobro and Rogers offering shimmering desert slide as Davis steps over the top and drops plaintive trumpet lines that sound like harmonica shimmering in the distance. It’s the soul of the movie, and it’s remarkable.