more electronica

something i made in a day and a bit. i got a cd-r of samples of pretty much every drum machine ever invented, so that was my starting point. i made a bunch of them into drum kits for ableton live and thought i'd start with an oberheim dmz, so that's what the drum sounds are made with. yesterday, i was listening to public enemy's 'fear of a black planet', one of the all time truly great albums. it's so heavy and dense, so that's where the rhythm ideas started from - kind of a heavy funk/break kind of thing. then i got a track from a great new album from a group called emptyset, which is kind of noisy, ambient techno with dark bass - very minimal. i cut a handful of samples from it and then set them to trigger by playing them on a keyboard. i added a twisted up miles davis snippet (from his 'bitches brew' album) which kind of adds excited texture to the whole thing (it was a bit clinical without it and not quite heavy enough). another miles blast was put in later with a delay to accent the rhythm. it was originally a straight 4/4 thing, but then i added an extra beat per cycle, and moved the kicks and snares around a bit, so now it's actually in 9/4, while the emptyset bits stay in 4/4. this (hopefully) gives the whole thing a disoriented feeling.

the track is called 9/4-120 - the time signature and bpm of the track. of course, play it loud with lots of bottom end.



bec had the idea of getting some telafonica business cards to hand out to people at shows who just come and say hi, they liked the music etc, but just do it in passing without necessarily wanting to talk for ages or buy anything. would you be interested in putting something together, david? i'm thinking that appropriating current telafonica iconography would be appropriate (ha ha) and reasonably simple for a designer of your calibre.



leyne, who organised the ween keen thing and also booked the show we did with sherlock's daughter, we say bamboulee and shady lane last year, is now booking the landsdowne hotel on sunday nights. she's asked if we'd be interested in a spot on sunday, march 21. i'll get back to her in the next day or so, so let me know.


January 20th, 1020

january 20th, 2010

this is the song bec and i wrote for the 20th project today. i dare say, it's unlikely to end up on a telafonica release, but i was in the mood for rockabilly and acoustic guitars. this came about for two reasons - the soundtracks to where the wild things are and nowhere boy, movies we've seen in the last couple of weeks. i actually have a half finished album of rockabilly/rock and roll stuff that i started a number of years ago - if it ever gets finished, this will probably end up on it.

a teacher from uganda visited our school today and spoke about uganda. bec wrote the lyrics after coming home and doing some research on the country. lobelia is the name of a tree common in uganda (it also reminded me sonically of cecelia, hence the simon and garfunkel reference in the melody of the beginning of the chorus).

i'm enjoying the movement that the track implies even though there is no bass, no kick, and only a snare drum and rim shots in terms of rhythm instruments.


more mum

would we like to play at mum on friday, feb 5?


some electronic music.

i got a new behringer input/output thing for bec's macbook today, to overcome the problem that the new macbooks only have one port for microphone and headphone. you have to switch between the two, which means you can't record and listen at the same time. this, of course, makes recording live instruments in time impossible. hence the little behringer box, which works perfectly.

anyway, in the absence of the ability to record acoustically, i've been working on some completely midi/synth based things for the last week or so. here they are. neither is titled yet - i think there's a possibility that some sort of vocals could go into them. in any event, they're probably not tracks for the full live context, but should work for dj-ing type things. but i don't know, maybe we could twist them into 4 people twiddling knobs of some sort.

i've also had the idea over the last couple of days of maybe putting out an ep on 3" cd-r, using old floppy discs as the packaging. i tried one out yesterday and, with a cd dot in the middle of one side, the 3" disc sits perfectly. it would probably best suit electronically inclined music - so maybe these could be the basis?

so, they're all completely electronic, except for the last section of the first one, which demostrates that the behringer in/out box is working. the second is also significant in that the main drum sounds all come from samples from blake's cheap old yamaha keyboard.

oh, and some decent bottom end on your listening system is probably required for them to sound any good.

live review

thanks to jason for this one -

just get over the mr and mrs, ok.


on gospel, abba and the death of the record

brian eno is undoubtedly one of the all time greats. this is from an article published today and sums up lots of things i always like juggling in our own music.

the full article can be found here. a nice soundbite about the nature of recorded music to finish it off as well.

"I came out of this funny place where I was interested in the experimental ideas of Cornelius Cardew, John Cage and Gavin Bryars, but also in pop music. Pop was all about the results and the feedback. The experimental side was interested in process more than the actual result – the results just happened and there was often very little control over them, and very little feedback. Take Steve Reich. He was an important composer for me with his early tape pieces and his way of having musicians play a piece each at different speeds so that they slipped out of synch.

"But then when he comes to record a piece of his like, say, Drumming, he uses orchestral drums stiffly played and badly recorded. He's learnt nothing from the history of recorded music. Why not look at what the pop world is doing with recording, which is making incredible sounds with great musicians who really feel what they play. It's because in Reich's world there was no real feedback. What was interesting to them in that world was merely the diagram of the piece, the music merely existed as an indicator of a type of process. I can see the point of it in one way, that you just want to show the skeleton, you don't want a lot of fluff around it, you just want to show how you did what you did.As a listener who grew up listening to pop music I am interested in results. Pop is totally results-oriented and there is a very strong feedback loop. Did it work? No. We'll do it differently then. Did it sell? No. We'll do it differently then. So I wanted to bring the two sides together. I liked the processes and systems in the experimental world and the attitude to effect that there was in the pop, I wanted the ideas to be seductive but also the results."


ozco grant

we didn't get the ozco grant - our application was ineligible. one of the criteria is that they won't fund the purchase of musical equipment. i already knew this, but on the soundclash grant page, there was no mention of it in any of the sections which listed the kind of things they wouldn't fund, so i assumed that the soundclash grant had different rules. but, as they pointed out to me in their e-mail, there is a little point about it near the bottom of another page talking about who is or isn't eligible to apply. so, the rule is there, i missed it, and our application is ineligible. my apologies.



anyone going to be in melbourne for valentine's day?


20 november, 2009

The 20th Project is when artists write and record an entirely new piece of music in a single day (the 20th of the month) without any preparation beforehand or editing afterwards. For more information on the 20th Project, visit Cabinet Pin.
released november, 2009

I think this might be the first time we put two tracks together for the 20th.

'I Can Hear There's A Peace In The Dark' was instigated by the cover of the previous month's 20th project. Each cover was individually made by Beth Taylor with some cutup manuscript pasted down. Our text was 'i can hear there's a peace in the dark' (see here) and so Bec used that as the starting point for the lyrics, blending them into some ideas the 4 Sydney members had been discussing concerning writing about living in the suburbs as opposed to being in the city. The music was really a development from last month's, which I felt was quite successful. I'd also been listening to a fair bit of early Underground Lovers (possibly my all-time favourite Australian band) as they were reforming for a few shows and I had a ticket. So there's a base of house-ish beats (including a rhythm sampled from Caligula, but which they, no doubt, sampled themselves) with lots of fuzzed guitar and a distorted synth lead. Blake came over later on and added some wonky cornet. We went for a muted sound inspired by Alan Civil's horn in The Beatles' 'For No One'. I don't know where the melody came from, by I wanted something that takes off in the chorus, and the little inflection into falsetto at the end of each line is something I've always wanted to do but here it seems to work greatly.

'Does It Know' came from Blake's initial idea outlined hereto make something short up very quickly. So Blake played some rhythmic thing (an old broken splash cymbal sitting on the skin of a snare drum from memory) then I took a turn, then he, etc etc, working through rhythms, then melodic bits, then bottom end. Each was done as a first take with only a few minutes' thought to the idea before hitting record.

1. I Can Hear There's A Peace In The Dark - Telafonica
2. The Inherited Cloud - Fisheads Of Fun
3. Wake Up Earth - 44Hertz
4. Come With Me Please - The Friday Project
5. Charismatic Maniac - WRC
6. Does It Know - Telafonica
7. Lost - +ko+ko+
8. Mapother_4 - Bagley
9. A Good Place - The Desks
10. Memorial To Dpadua - Merankorii


sound quality & everything is chemical

tim ritchie played not one but two tracks off the album on sound quality on radio national this week (and has some rather nice things to say). if you click on the link here it will take you to the page. you can stream the whole show. the telafonica bits are at the beginning of part 2. they're only there for 4 weeks, so listen in now.

also, over on the everything is chemical blog, the album snuck into the lower regions of the best albums of 2009 list.


the 5th live member is sick.

i'm going to take my laptop in tomorrow to get a bunch of stuff on it fixed - my dvd drive is pretty much useless after the countless hundreds of cd-rs it's burned over the last 2 years! plus, the mic input thing is a bit dodgy at the moment, so it needs replacing. but mostly, it won't go to sleep when you close it and when you shut down, after completely powering down it boots back up automatically after about 5 seconds - the only way around that at the moment is to unplug the power supply then eject the battery during that 5 second window. after that, you can put the battery back in and it's fine. but it's very tiresome and annoying. luckily, all the problems are hardware based - the software side is all still working perfectly, so i'm hoping it shouldn't be too big a deal to fix it.

that does mean, however, that we can't do any recording on my laptop. so, blake, don't worry about bringing the files over on a usb drive - it would probably be best just to put all the bits as audio onto a cd-r to just be listened to. then, if any brilliant ideas come around, you can always bring your laptop over and we can work on it.

i'll stick the two november 20th tracks we did up later today. i think i might actually start sticking them up as they're done rather than waiting the month and a half or whatever until the discs come back. so i might stick the december one bec and i did up at toowoon bay up as well.

any big ideas for the next release? we have quite a large backlog of things that we probably need to start polishing - should i make up some discs of all the bits to hand around?


sydney morning herald review


Love On The Second Stair
(4-4-2 Music)

This mysterious Sydney outfit have made a deliciously eclectic record, centred on an almost liquid approach to electronic music but ranging across folk, pop and down-tuned rock. Fuzzy beats one minute; tinkling piano the next. Drifting washes of voices occassionally; outright pretty vocals at other times. Warm trumpet in the background and then accordian. And that's just the song Cover, which appears in the second half of the album and kicks off a strong finish.

That's just the thing: just when you think you've heard what it's all about, Telafonica find another turn to take. Female voices do most of the heavy lifting but the male voice has a weary-relaxed tone, which catches you on the rise.

There's a similar approach to Brits like Tunng and the Accidental, who have taken laptops to the folk world and made it seem as natural as a leather jerkin. You can also hear touches of Bjork (particularly in Time to Move the Nest, which starts in Iceland and finishes in Manchester 1980) and the almost-ancient Sydneysiders Severed Heads (Don't Speak For Me).

An intriguing album to start with; a rewarding and entertaining one to finish.

Bernard Zuel
The Sydney Morning Herald - Spectrum - January 2-3, 2010

liquid electric best of '09

andrew maxam made a 3 hour mix of the favourite things he played on his radio show on fbi, liquid electric, this year, which he played on the night of christmas day. it's a pretty incredible mix which covers a huge range of stuff. it includes the karoshi remix of the quest for love aboard the belafonte, and puts the track nicely into a much more electronic context. the whole thing can be downloaded by clicking here then downloading the 3 separate files at the page you are taken to.