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Archive for June, 2009

 

hiddensounds in therapy!

hiddensounds in therapy!

hiddensounds has resolved its identity crisis thanks to an intensive week of recording with beautiful girls drummer, Bruce Braybrooke. hiddensounds has been a musical project that has been functioning for a number of years and has really been a term to describe my artistic output in both music and words (poetry; read and projected). While it has been great to have a label to place my artistic endeavours under, it has become apparent that it isn’t a great way to get a ‘brand’ out there.

Now brand is something I have always opposed; I have been anti-marketing. But I now see in the modern world that if you want to get your stuff out there you have to become ‘discoverable’ on the net. With search engines, it is important to be able to call your sound something and enable people to find you. So hiddensounds, after intensive therapy, has split into three major projects.

The first is ‘Infinite Ox’. This is the name of the band that emerged from the week recording with Bruce Braybrooke. The music is garage-rock. It moves, its driving, its good. This is the stuff that will rock out the pub after a few jars, if you know what I mean ;-). I play bass, sing and trigger synth noises. It is a two piece, the other piece being drums!

The second project is ‘Bulke’. This is a collaboration I have started with a Melbourne DJ called Lord Lingham. It is electronic music that draws on world samples, electronica beats and krautrock style guitars. This music is for dancing. In clubs or bars or the lounge room or the street! I play bass in the project and manipulate a sampler. Lord Lingham twirls his fingers on a computer board. [This project is now deceased!].

The third project is ‘hiddensounds’. The old name will never die. It was born during recording a nord synth album using chance and improvisation as its basis. So fascinating were the soundscapes I felt as if I was discovering sounds hidden in electricity. This name will now cover all experimental music, soundscapes and all undefinable, weird stuff.

I am now officially marketable and have a home for all my musical ambitions! 🙂 I haven’t included links to the various projects yet as they are in a development stage. When they are up and running I will shout it out to the world!

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Where it all took place.

Where it all took place.

Yesterday saw the completion of a one week intensive recording session for a hiddensounds EP by myself and Bruce Braybrooke, drummer for the Beautiful Girls. Recording took place in a Melbourne ‘Californian bungalow‘. What is normally the abode of a happy family was overnight transformed into a sound-proofed recording studio, in which five quality garage-rock songs were captured. The bay window of the main lounge room was covered with donnas, blankets, pillows, cushions and home-made sound proof walls [check this twitter post to see a ‘progressive’ result] to save the neighbours from our energetic sounds! Otherwise the double-brick walls and internal doors did the job.

Ready for the next take.

Bruce; ready for the next take.

We belted out five songs in five days and they are all near completion, although they need some mastering before they are ready for the public ear. The songs can be heard on reverbnation in their raw/ballad-like state (except the three electronic tracks, which are part of another project) as I recorded them, alone, live in a rehearsal room some months back. These originals lack the essential garage-rock element they now contain, provided by Bruce’s driving drum sounds. The week also gave us the chance to re-arrange some of the songs, which has given them more immediacy.

Recording vocals in the hallway.

Recording vocals in the hallway.

This was an intense process with great respect to Bruce who is about to embark on a tour of Brazil with the Beautiful Girls. May he get some rest soon! When the music is complete we will post it up on various websites that will be announced on this blog.

Catching the bass lines.

Jordan catching the bass lines.

Adding the space-rock element.

Bruce adds the space-rock element.

Arrangement time.

Arrangement time.

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Every weekday morning on Channel 7, Melbourne is treated to a program called ‘The Morning Show’. And as many weekend mornings as possible I try to get to my local gym and work up a sweat. In my line of vision, while struggling on the tread mill, is a television – the only reason I am aware of the existence of ‘The Morning Show’. My gym caters mainly to middle class housewives who spend their (low-intensity exercise) time chattering about how difficult their children are and the terrible state of society, while soaking in the background ambiance of ‘The Morning Show’.

What every housewife needs

What every housewife needs (I'm referring to the gym equipment).

The Morning Show is essentially a platform for infomercials, where mock interviews insult the viewer with imitations of real interviews. The earnestness with which topics such as ‘home exercise equipment’, ‘life insurance’ or ‘cheaper home loans’ are discussed equate with the coverage of an international political upheaval; but it is nothing of the sort. Rather it is the unguarded attempt to keep bored housewives in a state of anxiety about their body shape, their financial well-being and whether or not they are keeping up with everyone else. In between these infomercials are news breaks with expert opinions, such as: ‘Are Brad and Angelina really breaking up?’ or ‘Is Gordon Ramsey really foul-mouthed?’.

I can actually feel the intelligence dripping from my body and forming a puddle around my legs (granted it could be the sweat, but the intelligence is definitely going somewhere!). There is no choice but to give in and absorb the banal commentary like a helpless automaton. The only relief is the occasional musical interlude. Last time they had an amazing African-American musician (about as daring as this show gets) with long dreadlocks and a smile that hurt my eyes filling the room with his sweet and soothing tones. But not even he was enough to bring sincerity to the hearts of the commentators that immediately leaped into an infomercial about dog-grooming kits.

I don’t want to say society is ‘dumbing down’, but God almighty society is ‘dumbing down’! The complete lack of brain power, thought or cognitive ability required to watch these shows concerns me. Even a single comment of consequence would alleviate my anxiety. But there is nothing, nothing at all. If someone doesn’t change the channel soon, I think I’ll have to start putting on weight.

I pinched the above photo from this blog. This person has some interesting things to say about infomercials as well!

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I have two main points about the European Elections.

The first is the victory of the Priate Party in Sweden. No, not seafaring pirates, but copyright pirates.  A group who wants the end of copyright, and for all web-based material to be accessed for free, has won a seat in the European Parliament. Support is partly due to a backlash against the guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial in April when four Swedes were sentenced to a year in prison for running one of the world’s biggest file-sharing sites. For musicians who like to mix samples into their music and the public who want to download free music this is a refreshing sign. The beginnings of a swell of democratic support for free copyright!

As for the victory of the right in the European Elections, including a few fascist parties, is it time to get worried? Is this the beginnings of a full fascist takeover of the European Union? Think of the consequences. Could we soon have the Latino-Baltic-Anglo fascist alliance in control of the EU ready to spread their confusing agenda (it would have to be, wouldn’t it?) around the world? In fact, there is not much to worry about. This would have to be the shortest lasting political group in history: splintering and fragmentation assured! Who said there’s no humour in politics? 😉

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This week I have included a short story. It was inspired by an insidious ARI I was a part of in Melbourne. It is now closed. This story attempts to catch the dark energy swirling within its walls just before its collapse:

The Cult

Naked bodies crawled around the dirty brick walls of the abandoned warehouse; bodies searching for recognition. They had been lured here, into this cult, to call their home, where the outside world was not allowed in. Most bodies were naked. The price they paid for entrance into the cult, symbolic of the complete renunciation of the world. Naked before their brethren, cleansed of any connection with the outside world, they were now fit for ‘reshaping’.

The eye of the Cult

The eye of the Cult

The naked ones stared enviously at those who were partially clothed: shirt or pants, or a shirt and tie hanging from their bodies. These few had been exalted in recognition of their advancement in the eyes of the cult leaders. Gaining approval by becoming obsequious in all the right ways toward those in control. Large and dirty grins covered their faces as they proudly towered above the naked ones, revelling at the jealously in their eyes.

The leaders, rarely seen, resided in the overhead rooms, from which they occasionally could be seen wandering upon an attached balcony. They were fully clothed in recognition of their place as cult leaders; those who had achieved full knowledge of the cult’s ways.  They would look upon the vulnerable, the naked, with scorn, for they had just emerged from the world, itself beneath contempt. They considered themselves beyond all things.

Madness swarmed through the compound. A delusional crowd; held together by a desire to find approval in the eyes of the leaders, and become re-clothed. And perhaps one day to walk the balcony above, looking upon the naked ones.

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Last weekend I attended the Victorian Emerging Writers Festival. It was an inspiring event but one talk in particular caught my interest. It was about a blog called Furious Horses by Christopher Currie. This guy is pretty inspiring. He managed to write one short story a day for a whole year. That is an impressive feat. It got me thinking that I would like to do something like this myself because, as Christopher Currie says, it is a great way to develop a daily writing practice.

Well, I don’t really have the time for that at the moment with two little kids running around my feet (once or twice a week is the best I can do at the moment) so I have decided to do a slight variation of this theme using Twitter. My intention is to use TwitPic, an application connected with Twitter, in which one can upload a photo and a twitter message. My aim is to post a photo with a short-short story attached everyday for the rest of this year (I will review the situation as a New Years resolution!). You can view my first one here. Please note, when you visit Twitter the story is proceeded by a URL. You must click this to be taken to TwitPic.

I am aware that writing short stories on Twitter is nothing new, but perhaps using photos is new. Does anybody know of any photo short-short stories? But I find the concept of doing something just because you think no one else has done it strange, even irrelevant. It has to have artistic merit, new or not. I am interested in using photos as it can help emphasise a story of such limited words. I hope you will enjoy them.

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