Friday, 12 September 2014


I don't know about you, but my week has been a bit of a stress A-bomb. Cutting down on the beer on the weekend (involuntarily) and the lack of seeing regular live shows (again, out of my control) hasn't helped things. But there has been some shining lights stabbing my mind-s eye from the dark - the arrival of a new bed and finally connecting to the Internet (I know - domasturbation, right?); writing my first piece for The Quietus; starting my first commissioned column (here's hoping this becomes some kind of semi-regular gig); the test pressing for the latest Sonic Masala release (although unlikely to be the next one out of the stable - more on that later); and some news about the next few Sonic Masala releases that are likely to keep me occupied until the New Year. So, most of these things don't bring in money - in fact they added cash to the black void of negative funds that has been my life of recent months - but who gives a shit. I have Duskdarter to console me.

Duskdarter is an eclectic label out of Brisbane that specialises in the more ambient and otherworldly outreaches of sound. Two of their latest releases have occupied my warped, tired brain over the past couple of months, and both include artists who have been involved in Sonic Masala shows over the years. The first release is Monkey-Flower-Shell, a suite of suitably chilled acoustic guitar jams from Kahl Monticone. None of the eleven "songs" breach the two minute mark, a refreshing notion when most instrumental meanderings, well, meander. These songs are soporific moments in a fragmented time - languorous sojourns into a tiki bar of the somnambulist. The electronic aspects that seep into these songs help shift the sands of focus to a degree where it's hard to know whether you are happy, sad, awake or asleep. It's a cryogenic muzak, lulling you through the null-years until it's time to come into a new world. Perfect for the permanent chill.

Then there is the livewire stylings of Adam Cadell and Tony Irving. I saw these two perform one of (if not the very) first shows when they supported Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing November last year, and their loose experimental, experiential jams were raucous yet tempered - and electrifying. Both are incredibly skilled musicians of the highest order, having trained and played with some elite folks. But it's the innate ability to free-form into the darkest recesses of the sonic ether that is truly mesmerising. Some Shards For The Void sounds as rooted in strength in confidence and ability as it sounds insoluble, irascible, anarchic. Cadell's violin takes precedence here, creating a maelstrom of inner-ear turmoil, a skittish membrane one moment, a archaic rusted nail through the brain the next. It's cerebral nightmares and cathartic dreamscapes, with Irving a muttering fulcrum that manages to propel as it anchors.

You can get both in digital form (and Monkey-Flower-Shell in CDr form) here.

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