Fragmented Frequencies Nov 12

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.

 

Fragmented Frequencies Sept 2011

william-ryan-fritch

The Woozy churning noisy experimental dance music of Sydney based post punks Scattered Order is relentless, encasing a dark hued pallor around even the most sugary of house like beats, making you feel somewhat sea sick with their heady mashes of sonic reference points and techniques. Perhaps a more apt description might be post post punk and then post all the other stuff that followed, because these days one wonders if anyone remembers punk beyond the Sex Pistols on a barge singing God Save The Queen on Rage.

The band, which began as a duo and are now a trio have been around for 25 odd years in various incarnations, and you can tell. Who else would use samples from US talk show host Donahue? (If you don’t know imagine Oprah crossed with Jerry Springer 30 odd years ago). They’ve just released A Solar Rush Towards a Treble Heaven EP on cdr and via download on bandcamp, and though they tend to move stylistically from release to release its hard not to hear traces of the likes of Throbbing Gristle in their hypnotic soups of dub, dance and noise. They’re launching it in their only Melbourne show for the year at the Workers Club on the 24th of Sept with guests electronic percussion duo Peon, Trjaeu, Young Romantix and Wolf 359 who are steadily gaining a reputation for their mind numbing live shows. This is all encompassing full body music. Every space is filled, it’s like the music has escaped from the musicians and is careering off downhill under its own momentum.

Lost Tribe Sound is a relatively new label from Arizona and they’ve gone for an earthy analogue, somewhat rustic approach to sound. It’s the brainchild of Ryan Keane, a member of eclectic sonic duo Tokyo Bloodworm, who would incorporate musique concrete techniques with modern classical sounds to strange hypnotic effect in their music. Their last album Palestine is an absolute cracker, further distinguished by being the last release on English label Moteer. Having released albums from Melbourne’s own purveyor of gentle electronics Part Timer, the folktronica of Pollution Salute and a label sampler offering morsels from Aaron Martin and Benoit Pioulard, the real star of their label is a peculiar guy who goes under the moniker Vieo Abiungo. His real name is William Ryan Fritch and is probably best known as a member of Anticon rapper turned bandleader Sole’s Skyrider band. Yet that outfit barely scratches the surface of this precocious talent.

His debut Blood Memory (Lost Tribe), was a moody exploration of the place where film music, modern classical, experimental and tribal music intersect, rough, raw and dark, yet undeniably powerful. It was so textured, so accomplished that it was impossible to believe that it was the work of only one man. Yet his most recent work, And The World is Still Yawning (Lost Tribe), two years on actively highlights this fact. The You-Tube clip for the single (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j3V9rSkUUk) features Fritch alone in a room, playing every instrument you hear, marimbas, harp, flute, clarinet, violin, guitar, you name it. The album feels lighter, at times somewhat poppier, though still tapping into similar concerns as its predecessor, yet it’s not as thick. Light has penetrated the murk, and the density has been replaced by space. It’s clearly the work of an artist growing in confidence and though you’re never quite sure what it is exactly, you can’t help but feel it. It’s available on both vinyl and as a download and comes with a limited remix disc.

You can download the b-sides for free at http://vieo.albm.fm/albums/vieo-abiungo

Cumbia is party music, a mixture of African beats, and South American melodies that originated in Columbia and his since spread across the continent. In recent times there has been a renewed interest in Chicha, a Peruvian blend named after cheap alcohol from the Andes thanks to a couple of great compilations from Barbes. Melbourne’s Cumbia Cosmonauts are more space age, a duo with an electronic bent on the genre, creating DJ culture faux dub cut up cumbia jigs. Vostok – 1 (Scattermusic) is their latest, a 4 track EP that sounds like they’ve taken to cumbia with an electronic blowtorch then launched it into space with an abundance of blips and beeps, vocal samples, imbuing the traditions with relentless though somewhat stilted dancefloor beats. Check out http://thecumbiacosmonauts.bandcamp.com for live dates and to download the Ep.

Bob Baker Fish

CUMBIA COSMONAUTS (Scatter Music)

Welcome to nuevo cumbia, a style of music that originated in Columbia and became bastardised by each country it visited, taking on all these crazy traditional Amazonian and Andes influences, mashing them with twangy surf guitar and 60’s psychedelia and even electronic music. Or DJ culture, because by the time it’s come to Melbourne it’s taken on a sort of mash between psychedelic chicha, dancehall, the Tex Mex big beat electronics of scary folks like the Nortec Collective, and the faux dub throb of Burnt Friedman. This Melbourne duo (plus guests) have everything you need. The rusty windmill at the start of Once Upon A Time In The West, donkeys braying and all manner of dusty samples wrenched from old bits of authentic vinyl. Though this has also got them into a bit of trouble as despite the seamless mix of samples and live instrumentation, as well as their pretty amazing production work rendering most of the tunes almost unrecognisable from their originals, their failure to clear samples has this collection deemed as a mix-tape. But it’s a cracker, as they’ve taken on the upbeat joyous feel of cumbia with ease. Their music is designed for the dance-floor, bottom heavy music based on big simple party beats over which accordion, the occasional trumpet, the old timer samples and the donkeys play. What separates this from most other mix-tapes you will hear is the amount of production work, often the samples are used primarily for vocals, introduced at the beginning of the tunes, then done away with, allowing the cosmonauts to do their thing, and only brought back to tie things up at the end. But it’s a painfully short disc, clocking in at an infuriating 25 minutes, the problem being they get the party started but then leave you hanging. Though that may be what the repeat button is for. So if you’re interested in authentic traditional Melbourne electronic cumbia you’ve come to the right place.

Bob Baker Fish