Æ: Aglet Eaters

Incoming: Echodrone

Posted in Discover by R on August 28, 2012

Echodrone. It’s a band. It’s an album. I’m here to talk about the band. No, I’m here have the band talk about itself. Because I’m a lazy bum.

I’ll talk about the album a little bit too. I’ve always wondered if band and album were related. There’s a little story there, but you’re going to have to wait a little bit before finding out what it is.

A new Interactions In Installments coming up very soon – this one is with EVERYONE in Echodrone.

While you wait, here’s my favourite from their latest – Bon Voyage:

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Dead Can Dance – Anastasis

Posted in Album, Review by R on August 26, 2012

Australia is a funny place. In the third of my four years living there I discovered something peculiar.

There are no successful Australians in Australia.

It seems that if you were born in the lucky country, you’re destined to live a life of mediocrity unless you get out.

Call it ‘tall poppy syndrome’ or call it ‘crab mentality’ or call it any of the sociological terms that no doubt exist specifically to describe the phenomenon wherein success is undesirable unless it is available to all.

It’s possibly to do with the fact that, despite being a monster of a landmass, its population is nearly negligible and there’s unlikely to be anyone doing what you are (or interested in what you are doing) and so, in the absence of competition and the prevalence of unending, unconditional, indiscernible praise for anything ‘local’, there isn’t really an incentive to improve.

So I thank the heavens Dead Can Dance got out of there before they had even put out their first album. Here is is a band that a nation should be proud of. There are plenty of good Australian bands, but DCD are among the few that can be put up on global display.

Only – not while they’re in Australia. No one knows them there.

It could be because their style is so diffuse. ‘World Music’ some say. A label that is almost offensive for how it divides music and instrumentation into ‘from the developed world’ and ‘from the not-as-developed World’. Others take the names This Mortal Coiland Cocteau Twins in the same breath. And here’s me, stubbornly stuck (we presume) on labelling anything that is even REMOTELY exotic, operatic, and noisy – shoegaze.

Pigeonholing, shoeboxing, we should all give it up.

What a relief it is when Anastasis opens up. It’s absolute subjectivity and total partiality but O – the comfort that comes with hearing something that sounds like what you would have heard in your childhood. Perhaps on a mixtape one of your aunt’s friends made for her while she was at university that she left behind after she married and that you adopted as your own and played till the tape unwound and you had to wind it back with a 2HB pencil before putting it back in again and falling asleep to it till the songs were all etched into your brain, except that the handwriting on the case was illegible so you never remembered the names of the tracks, only the sounds and so you turned the rest of your life into an RPG where you set out on quests to rediscover each of them knowing only a melody and a line of lyrics.

Totally would ace that game if one of Brendan Perry’s tracks was as on this hypothetical (really?) mixtape because, pffft what is Google if not an IRL cheat code? However, if it had been one of Lisa Gerrard’s numbers on this hypothetical (REALLY??) tape, then we’d be sunk. You come to expect Cocteau Twins comparisons for the shared glossolalia and voice modulation. A natural train of thought, except that I hear my grandfather’s Gregorian Chants CD (more nostalgia). Gerrard’s voice seems far more elastic than Fraser’s with neither appearing to exist independently of each other, with no sign that fate had deemed it necessary for their paths to cross.

Anastasis is not a difficult album to warm up to. It maintains its uniqueness throughout, but it’s also got a welcome, throwback familiarity. Watch out for the closer (‘All in Good Time’), though… an excessively languid pace runs the risk of dulling the taste that the brightness and novelty the rest of the album brought you.

Speaking of familiarity, allow me to present ‘Opium’ to you. Where is the percussion from? We’ve heard it somewhere before…

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