Category Archives: Music
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released 31 October 2014
Produced by Footy and Lochie Bradfield. Recorded and mixed by Lochie Bradfield. Mastered by Mikey Young. Cover photo by Sashi Douglas.
Review of Footy ‘Record’ by Jason Allen @ Cyclic Defrost
Record is the second album from Melbourne piano duo Footy, Paddy Gordon and Lewis Mulvey. Informed by 19th and 20th century art music by everyone from Debussy to Brian Eno and John Cage, Footy combine their musical education with their Australian upbringing to create a unique and quietly angry sound that exists between punk, art and improvisation.
Footy delight in changing genres and moods suddenly. You might get a minute reminiscent of Erik Satie’s more experimental work that suddenly turns into an echo of yacht rock. Chord progressions that imitate 70s singer songwriters will give way to passages that could have been written by Terry Riley or Morton Feldman. Much like 2013’s Mobile Cemetery, the astonishingly dry and unedited production creates a claustrophobia giving the musicians and the audience nowhere to hide. The aesthetic owes more to downtown New York classical recordings than anything in rock or pop, even with the chirping of birds in a suburban backyard in the background.
Footy’s meandering but never uncontrolled works are like a Howard Arkley painting of a double fronted brick veneer; familiar to anyone who grew up in the suburbs, but identifiable for anyone in the know as viciously angry and satirical. The tension in Footy’s music is cultural. It captures the anger and disappointment of growing up in an isolated but bucolic world of lawnmowers and cricket, out of reach of the music and art happening beyond its borders. From the duo’s name to choice of album title, contempt for mainstream Australian culture is never far from the surface.
While mostly instrumental, Footy occasionally break in with laconic vocals, either talking over each other in philosophical riddles in the opener ‘Consciousness’, or drawling chillingly about losing on ‘The Price Is Right’ in 1992. It’s this track, with its mournful absurdity over a hopelessly dramatic chord progression, that more than any other lays bare the bubbling anger under the polished surface of Footy’s exquisitely economical compositions.
– Jason Allen
Dancing in the Street
by Lochie Bradfield
As part of the 10th anniversary of the ‘Emerge Festival’ , which kicked off last Saturday, Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) and the Maribyrnong City Council threw a street party called ‘Emerge in the West’ – a celebration of the contributions African communities have made/are making culturally, socially, musically, economically and gastronomically to Melbourne’s West.
Burundian drummers performing @ Emerge in the West, Footscray. Photo by Lochie Bradfield
Despite a few showers in the afternoon, people were out in Nicholson St, Footscray, dancing to the sounds of Sudanese pop, Ethiopian jazz, Azmari banter, Somali pop, traditional Burundian drumming, West African dance and Cape Verdean reggae. The best part? All the performers now call Melbourne home.
There were performances from Ajak Kwai, a Sudanese singer from the Malakal Region of the Upper Nile. She sings in her native Dinka language as well as Arabic and English – songs of freedom, love, peace, death, marriage and cows.
One of the highlights of the afternoon, technical difficulties aside, was the pop stylings of Somali group, Aussom Band, led by Abdi Mohamed Abdi, aka ‘The Man with Ten Hands’. Abdi is is originally from the southern Somali port of Kismayo. Since the civil war in Somalia, which saw the banning of music (among other things), many well known musicians have been persecuted by fundamentalist insurgents, including Abdi. He lived in exile in Kenya for 18 years before settling in Australia in 2008. It was amazing to hear the Somali group here in Footscray, reconnecting with their country’s music after such a long and dislocated experience.
Other highlights included Ethio-Jazz ensemble, Jazmaris, led by Ethiopian pianist Danny Seifu, with powerful vocals by the ever-exceptional Seble Girma. This band just finished supporting the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed on his recent Australian tour in January 2013. The band was sounding tight, well rehearsed and very comfortable with their arrangements.
Bitat Seyoum, accompanied by Anbessa Gebrihiwot, played a wonderful set in her native Amharic language, even as the rain fell and audience members sought cover underneath the roofs of shops in Nicholson St.
The Burundian Drummers provided a trance-inducing set of traditional Burundian rhythms with 7 big drums or ingomas, knocking out ever evolving polyrhythms. In Burundi the use of the ingoma was historically a symbol of power, used to commentate on the daily life of the king. The drums were believed to bring peace and unity throughout the kingdom, a belief that continues to present today – 12 years of civil war notwithstanding.
The afternoon came to a close with roots reggae outfit Ras Jahknow Band, fronted by Cape Verdean born Jorge Abreu (aka Ras Jahknow) They sing songs in English, Portugese, and Creole. The band never strays far from the deep and slow rhythms of roots reggae and created a good vibe to end proceedings on.
‘Emerge in the West’ was a fantastic opportunity for many of the people and communities who make Melbourne’s West what it is – to show their talents, share culture and partake in some good ol’ fashioned dancing in the street.
As a final thought, I was struck by the Burundian drums – upon which they have painted the Australian flag, alongside the Burundian flag. Hitting the sides of the drums with their sticks, the Union Jack on the Australian flag looked as though it were being beat in to submission. I, for one, am very excited about the impact these cultures, musical traditions and musicians themselves are going to have upon the future of Australian music.
The Show goes on!
The Emerge Festival continues until July, with ‘a colourful series of performances and unique cultural experiences encompassing music, dance, visual arts, exotic foods, ancient crafts and ceremonies.’ These include:
– ‘Main Event’ at Fitzroy Town Hall on Sunday June 16th (12-5pm, FREE)
– World Refugee Day Rally 2013 at Melbourne Museum forecourt, Sunday June 16th (rally will march to Fitzroy Town Hall)
– Remastered Myths, Sunday 2nd June at the Toff in Town (3-5pm, $10)
– Restoring Hope – A Creative Refugee Week Performance, on Saturday 22nd June at Fortfivedownstairs, Melbourne (3-5pm, FREE,)
– Emerge @ Drum Theatre, Dandenong, Saturday 20th July (2-4:30pm, FREE)
– Don’t Be Left Out in the CALD – a series of Music Business Skills Workshops for musicians from CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) backgrounds. Topics include: Getting Gigs, DIY Releasing, APRA & Licensing, Music Law, Grant Writing, amongst others. Saturday 8th June – Monday 10th June. Places are limited and acceptance is by application only. You can send expressions of interest to: email@example.com or call (03) 9188 3681 for more details.
Lovers’ Duo Miles & Simone have a released a beautiful new video for their song ‘I Recall’.
Let yourselves fall in love with them, fight a little bit, and then decide that you can’t do without them.
If this is what they come up with each Autumn, then I don’t think it came too soon at all!