Music Under Lockdown: Melbourne 2020is a new digital compilation album I’ve compiled, collecting recordings made by Melbourne musicians over the recent months of COVID-19 lockdown.
Included is a new duo recording with myself and Nick Ashwood:
This was the last time I played music with another person (July 2020) in the same room at the time of writing. Nick was visiting Melbourne and we quickly teed up a jam, just as the second lockdown was rolling out. My suburb was in lockdown, but my studio was nearby in a non-lockdown postcode. We met there and played for a couple of hours. This was the first time we’d played together as a duo. Nick was staying in North Melbourne, and it was announced that evening that suburb would be locked down at midnight. Within a week or two the whole city was as well.
As I am sitting in my comfy chair, reading a book and drinking afternoon tea, I play the new release by Barnaby Oliver and Clinton Green… [Oliver] plays violin and piano…Green plays bowed metal bowls. With these limited sources they set out to play long-form pieces, and they have been doing so since 2017. As I sit back and do all the things mentioned, I listen to music and feel blown away. On the first piece, ‘The Interstices’, they keep bowing the strings and bowls in a very delicate drone-like piece that works very well with acoustic overtones. Think a bit of Organum or Nurse With Wound’s ‘Soliloque For Lilith’, but acoustic. It is refined and rough and works very well. It lasts nineteen minutes but for me, it could have lasted an hour. It is minimally changing and that’s enough. ‘Of These Epidemics’ is four minutes longer, twenty-three minutes in total and here Oliver plays the piano and Green keeps striking and bowing the bowls. Oliver plays chords, loosely and spacious, reminding of the best jazz works from down under I heard before; think Spartak, Gilded, 3ofmillions and Infinite Decimals but also The Necks, I would think. It’s smooth, it’s a bit of jazz and with Green’s backdrop on the bowls, it is spacious as it roughly edged. As I am sitting in my comfy chair, reading a book and drinking afternoon tea, I play the new release by Barnaby Oliver and Clinton Green again. I get up and just play it all over again. It’s melancholic, it’s sad, and I might think this is the best release I heard this week – Vital Weekly 1250
In “The Interstices” the coalescence of metal and strings produces a series of semi-dissonant, never-too-loud organic stratifications. Imagine David Jackman’s rawer output sounding decidedly more moderate – say, as on an Another Timbre recording – and you’ll have a faint idea of what I’m meaning here. The relative fragility of the pitches enhances the release of specific harmonics from their combination, placing the music in a niche between contemplative mood (always with an eye open) and slight uneasiness.”Of These Epidemics” is strongly characterized by Oliver playing peaceful sequences on the piano, a resonance reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright circa “The Great Gig In The Sky” but with an entrancing repetitiveness à la Charlemagne Palestine. The fluctuation of those chords along the strident mantra of Green’s bowed bowls is uniquely delightful. Without the need of revolutions, the duo’s interaction remains accessible to most everybody. Overall, an appreciably unadulterated work – Touching Extremes
For this year’s CURRENT (which is operating remotely for obvious reasons), I made this collaborative effort with Jenny Green & Mimi Kind. The instrument used is a sound sculpture powered by small fans built by Mimi.