After nearly three years of staying close to home, there is something particularly appealing about taking a virtual journey to the other side of the world, especially when it involves the electroacoustic artistry found in this collection of recent releases originating in Australia. Of course, the antipodal perspective is in the location of the beholder, but I think it is fair to say that wherever you are listening from, the music you find here will take you to a better place. Featuring: Blue Divers, Part Timer, Saddleback (Tony Dupé), and Andrew Tuttle.
Blue Divers – I & II
Blue Divers is a collective of musicians based in Thirroul, a seaside suburb of the city of Wollongong in New South Wales. Their self-titled debut album actually was released in 2020, but they have just released an expanded edition on vinyl along with a brand-new second volume of music. Looking at the artist photo on their Bandcamp page, one could be forgiven for expecting something mildly raucous from the friendly faces and instruments packed into what appears to be a small living room. There certainly is an improvisational spirit to the music and a sense of camaraderie that shines through in what you hear, but it is unhurried sonic impressionism that prevails, only their brushes & oils come in the form of guitars, percussion, keys, vibraphone, flute and clarinet. As the liner notes reveal, the musicians got lost in the act of the album’s creation, and I found myself getting repeatedly and pleasurably lost in the listening.
It’s hard to talk about the music of Blue Divers outside of the boring recording process stuff, because it’s an intuitive and social thing. I’m always just trying to get lost in it, and I got lost in this one, so it made the album. How good is getting lost in something?Alec Marshal speaking of “Low”
Blue Divers I (Expanded Edition) and Blue Divers II are available digitally and on limited edition vinyl LP from Bedroom Suck Records.
Part Timer – Interiority Complex
As Part Timer, Melbourne-based musician John McCaffrey put out a good deal of music just prior to the stumbling beginnings of this blog a little over a decade ago, and it is clearly my loss for having only just discovered it now. Take for example Reel to Reel which released in 2010 by Lost Tribe Sound (no stranger to these pages) who still offers it on CD as well as a more recent remix album featuring artists from across their roster. My introduction to his music, however, is the subtly brilliant Interiority Complex, an album brought to my attention through the enthusiastic recommendation of one McCaffrey’s former collaborators – none other than Aaron Martin (also no stranger here). From off-kilter, folk-tinged vignettes full of interesting tones & textures like “A Pointed Remark” to beautiful neoclassical miniatures like “A Guest” and closer “Bye” it is an engaging and often poignant listen.
I’d love to say that this album has a grand overarching theme – a vision of sorts – but really, the title sums it up. It’s a series of snapshots of what’s in my head. An exploration of the various interests and sounds that I’ve taken on board in the time since that first part timer album 16 years ago.Part Timer
Interiority Complex is currently available in digital formats only, however purchases via Bandcamp come with a PDF book containing AI generated artwork. The album was mastered by Ian Hawgood.
Saddleback – Everything’s A Love Letter
Saddleback was a solo moniker used by composer and producer Tony Dupé for a pair of albums released on the Preservation label in the mid-2000s after years on the Australian indie-pop scene and fashioning a recording studio in an 18-bedroom disused nunnery where he cultivated his sonic peregrinations. Originally described as unfolding “with small sonic gestures” that build into “something altogether mesmerizing”, Everything’s A Love Letter (2006) was the seminal debut, and the album has just been treated to a vinyl reissue on the Germany-based Oscarson imprint. Blissfully meandering and vaguely melancholic, but no less inventive for its relaxed, organic approach, it is a lovely record full of ideas that many contemporary electroacoustic artists are still building upon.
Saddleback happened on days off from producing. On those off days, Dupé would slow down to explore piano, pump organs, guitar etc, whilst working on analog 8 track tape and an early DAW to combine live playing with loops or tape processing. The combination of live playing, room and external sounds together with subtle abstractions and splintered song structures is a distinctive model heard forming within this initial solo release.Oscarson
Everything’s A Love Letter is available digitally and in a limited-edition LP from Oscarson. At time of publishing a single copy of the vinyl test pressing also remained available.
Andrew Tuttle – Fleeting Adventure
We move now from Melbourne northwards to Brisbane and the music of Andrew Tuttle, a skilled musician and composer who has carved out a unique sonic space blending banjo and six-string guitar with processed electronics and a penchant for far-ranging collaborations. His album Fleeting Adventure is presented as a “cosmic trip into subtropical landscapes” and it is expressed in a silvery, wayfaring blend of country, ambient, and atmospheric music created with a stellar list of guest musicians that command all they survey including Steve Gunn, Chuck Johnson, Michael A. Mueller of Balmorhea, members of Padang Food Tigers, and the aforementioned Tony Dupé.
Fleeting Adventure is available digitally and on cassette from UK-based Basin Rock. The album was mastered by Lawrence English.