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EFFICIENT SPACE

Various Artists

Someone Like Me

    Efficient Space continue with their very highly regarded compilations. And this looks like another classic..

    A humanity-reminding suite of miracle moments, Someone Like Me unites a geographically unbound cast of real people in pursuit of a meaningful connection. Taping their lived experience in economic studios in quiet English counties, Pacific Northwest woodland retreats and the big city bustle of Sydney and Los Angeles, these kindred spirits rendered sheer beauty in the process. Custom pressed folk songs of love, loss and the lord saviour.

    Illuminating minor works from seasoned players such as former Syndicate Of Sound chart-topper Sharkey and late-era Canned Heat lynchpin James Thornbury, the collection simultaneously honours the fleeting amateurism of hobby musicians. With their one shot at tangible vinyl, freshman Lynne Ann Kingan realised her loose bubblegum rocker on campus time, while U.S. Navy recruit Fred Potts cut his unconditionally serene ballad remotely stationed on a Spanish naval base. Spartan production continues to reign with Jon Betmead’s hair-raising gospel, howling into infinite space, and Goldrust’s stripped back garden hymn.

    Throughout the hour-long reflection, faith has an intermittent yet revelatory presence, most overtly with the divine choral soul of Seventh-day Adventist quartet Remnant. More subtly, Gary Ramey and Jim Kennedy both turned to song in their spiritual quests, offering their all to a universal power. An irrefutable compilation cornerstone, the National Office For Black Catholics showcased Charles Murphy’s lionhearted account of the Black experience at a 1971 concert. Five years earlier, high school seniors The Superwomen would use their hauntingly angelic harmonies to address racial inequity with a breathless take on ‘Lowlands’.

    Reaching the furthest corners, Someone Like Me secures the inaugural licence of three homespun masterpieces. Discovered by fluke in the digital haystacks of Youtube and Soundcloud, Jim Huxley’s bedroom pop earworm melds peacefully into Charlie Webster’s synthesized reverie. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s John Agostino introduces us to the bizarre world of tax scam records, with the artist only now learning that his tender psych-folk demos were leaked via a 1977 bootleg.

    Compiled and lovingly restored by armchair digger Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring/The Green Child), Someone Like Me pays due service to seventeen rarefied journals of truth and devotion. Adorned with visual artist Chris Fallon’s figure and flora dream extractions, the uniting songbook is further detailed by expansive track-by-track liner notes and a forward from San Franciscan poet Rod Roland.


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Sharkey - Someone Like Me
    2. Lynne Ann Kingan - If You Love Me - Hate Me
    3. James Thornbury - So Tan
    4. Jim Huxley - Only A Song
    5. Charlie Webster - Snodland
    6. The Bob Hughes Band - You Broke My Heart
    7. Goldrust - Going Yesterday
    8. Jim Kennedy - You Are The Reason
    9. Jon Betmead - Marie Elene
    10. Charles Murphy - The Foot That's Holding Me Down
    11. Remnant - I Will Set You Free
    12. Fred Potts - Following Rainbows
    13. The Superwomen - Lowlands
    14. Robison Kaplan Ltd. - Don't Say Goodbye
    15. Gary Ramey - You Are His
    16. John Agostino - Loss Of Love
    17. Ritchie Tierney - Please Stop Breaking Me Down

    Various Artists

    Searchlight Moonbeam

      Searchlight Moonbeam is the new narrative compilation from Time Is Away (Jack Rollo and Elaine Tierney) whose eponymous monthly NTS Radio shows, tinctured fusions of fugitive sounds and reverie-inducing archival speech, have won them an ardent following. It follows from the London-based duo’s Ballads, a remarkable driftwerk released on A Colourful Storm in 2022.

      Searchlight Moonbeam is an autumnal dreamscape, intimate and vespertine, pensive and irresolute. An imagined community where differences drop off and resonances emerge – between Maher Shalal Hash Baz affiliates Kasumi Trio, Taiwanese score composer Chen Ming Chang whose ‘Rainwater’ (written for Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s 1986 film Dust In The Wind) is exquisitely heartbroken, and the plangent improvisations of self-taught French pianist Delphine Dora.

      Revelations are frequent: the bedsit isolationism of Bo Harwood and John Cassavetes’ ‘No One Around to Hear It’ (from The Killing of a Chinese Bookie); the narked minimalism of Klang (an early 2000s band formed by ex-Elastica guitarist and featuring prize-winning experimental novelist Isabel Waidner on bass); the etude-grooves and echoic wobble of below-the-radar French avant-gardists Omertà ; the beautiful, plaintively dubby ‘Is It You?’ by Slapp Happy; a psych-tinged reimagining of PiL’s ‘Poptones’ by Simon Fisher Turner (one half of Deux Filles, and here, recording for él as The King of Luxembourg) that's as perverse as the cover of Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

      Searchlight Moonbeam is the musical analog of an Italo Calvino novel or a medieval fable. Associative, intuitive, borderless. Emotional and mysterious. Endowed with the tactility of Braille. A private language that is both unknowable and understood. It is a record of the seasons, for the seasons.

      2023 marks the tenth anniversary of Time Is Away’s first broadcast. Featuring an evocative essay by writer Jeremy Atherton Lin and disarming cover art by Penny Davenport, Searchlight Moonbeam showcases Rollo and Tierney’s still-unrivalled talent for gloaming melodies, disques du crépuscule and ensorcelled storytelling. 

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Bo Harwood & John Cassavetes - No One Around To Hear It 03:48
      2. Chen Ming Chang - Rainwater
      3. Bhairavi Raman & Nanthesh Sivarajah - Bittersweet Reflections
      4. The King Of Luxembourg - Poptones
      5. Slapp Happy - Is It You
      6. O.G. Jigg - Jesus Is My Jam
      7. Klang - As It Is
      8. Scala - Fuser
      9. Soft Location - Let The Moon Get Into It
      10. Gyeongsu - YZOBEL (feat. CROCHE)
      11. Omertà - Moments In Love
      12. Kasumi Trio - Cabbage Butterfly
      13. Un - Fast Money Blues
      14. Delphine Dora - V
      15. Harry Plunket-Greene - The Hurdy-Gurdy Man

      After a ten year pursuit, Efficient Space finally presents “Late, Late Show”, the last recordings of influential Sydney-via-Newcastle band pel mel. Taped in the mid-’80s, these charmingly unvarnished sessions pare the combo back to their core, producing blue-collar sophisti-pop to a danceable LinnDrum beat. From the funky disco-not-disco of ‘Mr President’ to the effortless pop perfection of ‘Fool’s House’, the six tracks reveal a creatively open and well-oiled pel mel before they inevitably disbanded.

      Formed in early 1979 as a misfit sextet from steel and surf town Newcastle, pel mel were inspired by New York and UK’s post-punk imports. Cutting their teeth speeding through originals and Joy Division, Wire and The Buzzcocks covers every Friday night to a regular turnout of dole bludgers, students and the under-age, the band would also cross-pollinate with electronic-leaning support act The Limp. In 1980, they decamped to Sydney to join the city’s flourishing alternative music scene alongside the likes of Laughing Clowns, Tactics, The Reels, Wild West and the M Squared crew, making an indelible mark with two albums and several singles as the only domestic signee of Factory’s Australasian licensee GAP Records. Catchy and intelligently experimental without being noisy, their musicianship and enduring legacy continues to be lauded by peers.

      Undoubtedly some of their strongest output, this previously unreleased demo suite documents pel mel free from the pressures of a commercial outcome, naturally elevating them to a class alongside Orange Juice, Antena and Young Marble Giants.


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Love On A Funeral Pyre
      2. Shipwrecked
      3. Fool's House
      4. Mr President
      5. Late, Late Show
      6. Calamity Jane

      A North American road trip of coming of age garage soul mapped by Ivan Liechti, Ghost Riders is Efficient Space’s latest narrative compilation, hovering in a liminal emotional ravine between moonlight melancholy, teenage heartache and unchecked, unrealised ambition. Across 17 open hearted ballads recorded 1965-1974, the 2LP collects and connects dots between British Invasion fanatics, child prodigies, the loners and the luckless, in a kind of trans-continental survey of those swept up in rock’n’roll mania and buoyed by local newspaper ads promising fame and gold records.

      From the tangerine dreams of 8th grade all-girl combo The Mod 4 to the tri-state jukebox aspiring echoes of The Tempters, The Yardleys' poetic Farfisa vamp and lilting folk pop, and The Landlords’ weepy break up b-side blues, these are mostly one shots by dreamers whose experience was brief before being checked back to the reality of suburban normality and realistic career options. Hailing from the regional backwaters of Illinois, Arkansas, Nevada, Massachusetts, Ohio, Idaho, Texas and beyond, the licensed artists were scouted by way of local fire departments, spiritualist fellowships and animal welfare centres, often barely a stones throw from where their contributions were originally laid.

      A barely teenage Dennis Harte's ‘Summer’s Over’ perhaps best taps the collection’s essence. A gut-wrenching lament of the passing of the season as if it was the last on earth. Flanked by players from The Left Banke, Harte, a now-piano tuner to the stars, is from the minor segment that found longevity in showbiz. Likewise with Michigan icon Lyn Nowicki who cast her ghostly voice over Beatles cover song chameleons The Common People and Jerry McGee, The Ventures member and conduit of Dr. John’s ‘Twilight Zone’.

      Ghost Riders simmers with the scent of youthful summers, the pang of schoolyard romance, and the excitement (and disenchantment) of teenage naïveté, delivered via a deceptively simple and frequently wonky garage band set up. The vision of record collector and graphic designer Ivan Liechti, these eternal psych-folk howlers are further crystallised by Colin Young’s fastidious audio restoration, the original artwork of Elise Gagnebin-de Bons and an aptly penned forward from Sonic Boom. 


      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Mod 4 - A Puppet
      2. The Yardleys - Just Remember
      3. Decompressed Impossibility - You Can't Ride Away
      4. The Living End - Brigitta
      5. The Newports - Feelin' Low
      6. The Landlords - I'm Through With You
      7. The Prisners Dream - Autumn Days
      8. The Fortels - She
      9. The Bohemians - Say It
      10. Tresa Leigh - Until Then
      11. WM. Penn & The Quakers - Ghost Of The Monks
      12. The Tempters - I Will Go
      13. Jerry McGee - Twilight Zone
      14. Carroll - The Boy Called Billy Joe
      15. The Common People - Here, There & Everywhere
      16. Dennis Harte - Summer's Over
      17. Toe Head - Goodnight Jackie

      Karen Marks

      Cold Cafe

        Almost four decades since its domestic release, Karen Marks’ 1981 single “Cold Café” has finally reaped its deserved international credit to become one of Australia's most recognized minimal wave recordings. Efficient Space now showcases the Melbourne artist’s brief but entire discography, including two previously unheard demos, all produced with experimental synthesist Ash Wednesday (The Metronomes, Modern Jazz, Thealonian Music).

        A rarity in the then male dominated industry, Marks found her footing in music, first through rock journalism and then in band management. Formally of Adelaide, newly arrived synth-punks JAB (Johnny Crash, Ash Wednesday and Bodhan X) approached her for representation, subsequently contributing tracks to seminal 1978 snapshot Lethal Weapons and playing the Crystal Ballroom's opening night. Wednesday and Crash would soon dissolve JAB, enlisting Mark Ferry and Sean Kelly to create Models. Still under Mark's management, Models became one of the fastest rising new bands of the punk movement, playing to full houses of dedicated and frenzied fans everywhere. Sadly, internal frictions forced Wednesday and Marks to leave after two years, with Crash following three months later.

        Her creative relationship with Wednesday fortified with the co-production of his 1980 machine-pop prank “Love By Numbers”, her swooning chorus uplifting his deadpan count to 100, before the two collaborated on Marks’ own recording persona. Immortalised by the icy Oz wave of “Cold Café”, her Astor issued 7” also boasted the caffeinated flip “Won't Wear It For Long” - a should be hit with guitar from future Icehouse member Robert Kretschmer.

        Fans know of one more recording – “You Bring These Things”, a forlorn arrangement of an otherwise unreleased Paul Kelly song, gifted to her by the revered wordsmith. The track only ever appeared on the Astor promotional LP “Terra Australis”, sinfully alongside Up There Cazaly and Joe Dolce - hard proof that the label grossly misunderstood her talent (Marks recalls their persistent requests to show midriff and cleavage). Locked in a dissatisfying label arrangement and at this stage unwilling to follow her peers to greener pastures overseas, she felt her only way out was to cease all further activities.

        At the 11th hour of preparing this retrospective, two tracks unexpectedly surfaced via two cassettes - a paranoid demo version of her signature tune “Cold Café”, and a long-lost fourth song “Problem Page”. Both living room recordings follow Marks and Wednesday’s ingenious framework of minimal lyrics, minimal chord progressions. 


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: After bringing Karen Marks’ oz-wave wonder to wider attention via “Sky Girl”, Efficient Space dip back in with an expanded EP featuring an ace alternate version alongside three other wavey delights.

        TRACK LISTING

        A1. Cold Cafe
        A2. Won't Wear It For Long
        A3. You Bring These Things
        B1. Cold Cafe (demo)
        B2. Problem Page (demo)

        7”. Edition of 281 copies. Hand stamped, cover white ink printed on coloured card.

        Height/Dismay were the M Squared studio-as-instrument duo of Patrick Gibson and Dru Jones. A member of Systematics and Scattered Order, Gibson was an integral part of the M Squared label and studio, where he met Jones. With an unapologetic misuse of instruments and ample time, the two sonic explorers scraped guitar strings, manipulated clarinets, and contact mic’d woks to layer their echo chamber apparitions.

        Collating three 1981 recordings, the then-shelved ‘Blood Pressure In The Sand’ joins ‘Dusk’, their con-tribution to archetypal cassette-zine Fast Forward. Also unreleased, ‘The Tinning Test’ rejects formal lyrics in favour of a deadpan reading from the Australian Standard for tinned copper wire. The outsid-ers of the outside, these mutual minds’ productions have long been overlooked as crucial pieces of the Australian DIY music puzzle.

        Height/Dismay is pressed in an edition of 281 hand stamped white labels, wrapped in white ink print-ed coloured card.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Matt says: A double header of Efficient Space madness graces our shelves this week. This one, a hair brained experimental project by Patrick Gibson and Dru Jones is weird, wonderful, wacky - and has an enchanted discordance which brings to mind classic Finders Keepers.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Blood Pressure In The Sand
        2. Dusk
        3. The Tinning Test

        Various Artists

        Oz Echoes: DIY Cassettes And Archives 1980-1989

          Oz Echoes peels away another layer of Australia’s ‘80s DIY hive mind. The Oz Waves successor exposes a deeper circuit of micro-run cassettes, community radio archives and irrationally abandoned studio sessions, as Steele Bonus sequences a 10-track compendium of drone pop, psyche-electronics and agitated tape cut-ups.

          From the Sydney cassette network, The Horse He's Sick returns with an industrial car crash, alongside Wrong Kind of Stone Age’s pagan cacophony and primal riddims. M Squared dynamo Patrick Gibson appears in both Height/Dismay and Mr Knott, his respective studio-as-an-instrument collaborations with Dru Jones (Scattered Order) and ex-Slugfucker Gordon Renouf - the former’s worn out apparition hails from an instantly deleted 1981 7”, while Mr Knott entrust one of the compilation’s five previously unreleased tracks.

          Matt Mawson represents Brisbane music media-printed matter collective ZIP, as Adelaide’s Three D Radio grants access to their vaults of live-to-air recordings and aspiring demo submissions, rescuing the slap-happy punk-funk of The Frenzied Bricks and Jandy Rainbow’s prodigious beginnings in Les Trois Etrangers and Aeroplane Footsteps. Synchronously in Melbourne, Ash Wednesday (Karen Marks, The Metronomes) leads Modern Jazz’ improvised proto-techno and EBM pioneers Shanghai Au Go-Go home record their sardonic synth-wave.

          A cherry-picked cast of unusual suspects, Oz Echoes’ unfamed artist and non-band narratives are detailed by track-by-track liner notes with rarely published archival visions and artwork from Video Synth, prompting further rabbit hole ventures into this golden era of creative risk-taking and instant action.


          TRACK LISTING

          1. Height/Dismay - Mother’s Footsteps
          2. The Frenzied Bricks - Vicious Circle
          3. Modern Jazz - Zoom Dub
          4. Mr Knott - Poor Galileo (He Has Gone Mad)
          5. Aeroplane Footsteps - Arabia
          6. Shanghai Au Go-Go - I Cried All Winter
          7. Matt Mawson - Open The Goddam Door
          8. The Horse He's Sick - Terminal Rebound
          9. Wrong Kind Of Stone Age - Ravi Dubbi
          10. Les Trois Etrangers – Luna

          Various Artists

          3AM Spares

            3AM Spares is a new collection of Australian Electronic Dance Music compiled Andras and Instant Peterson that encompasses the darker sounds and later nights of the 1990s and beyond. Following on from forerunner compilation Midnite Spares, this double LP draws from local 12″ releases, CDRs and the archives of community radio station 3RRR FM to make a diverse and pumping scene audible once more. No longer confined to beer barns and back rooms, this generation of producers, DJs, clubbers and ravers spilled out into pavilions, warehouses and paddocks, embracing a new culture of machine-metaphor and chemical love. 


            TRACK LISTING

            A1. Fsom - Resist The Beat
            A2. Hypnoblob - Deep Down
            A3. Ian Eccles-Smith - The Slaughtering Eye
            B1. General Electrik Meets Andy Rantzen - Leather Lover
            B2. Jandy Rainbow And Adrenalentil - I Will Go
            B3. Sobriquet - Is This Your First Time? (Artificial Remix)
            C1. Blimp – Yellowgold
            C2. Inner Harmony - Da Lub Club
            C3. Maroochy Barambah - Mongungi (Dance Mix)
            D1: Third Eye - Behold The Angel Of Frequency
            D2. Tetrphnm – Track11
            D3 Screensaver – Eliminated

            Waak Waak Djungi

            Waak Waak Ga Min Min

              After the excellent Sky Girl, Midnite Spares and Oz Waves comps, Efficient Space now bring us the little-heard recordings of three Yolngu songmen from Northeast Arnhem Land - Bobby Bunnungurr, Jimmy Djamunba and Peter Milaynga (d. 2007) - working in collaboration with Victorian musician Peter Mumme. Yolngu are the indigenous peoples of Arnhem Land in Northern Territory, Australia; their clans are the Marangu and Malabirr, the languages Djinang and Gannalbingu. Their songs are of instruction, story and ceremony.

              A connection first initiated by Yolngu actor David Gulpilil, Waak Waak Djungi’s mid-90s recordings were preceded by years of respectful sharing of culture. Mumme explains that “the aim was to produce something that is new, not in the sense of a breakthrough, but what emerges from the combining of existing ideas”. What developed was sonically unique - sprawling vocal/electronic soundscapes and field recordings that reimagine the traditional songs of black crows and white cockatoos, sharing, creation spirits and of leaving and returning home to country. Spacious and patiently durational, the songs resound in a big land with a big story to tell.
              On the 1997 Waak Waak Djungi album Crow Fire Music, these interpretations were assembled with traditional recordings and additional material from Sebastian Jörgensen and Sally Grice. Falling short of generating public interest, it became well known in the Yolngu homeland. Nearly two decades later, a CD copy filed away in the 3RRR FM library would prompt a three year investigation to meet the people behind the music.

              "Waak Waak ga Min Min (Black Crow, White Cockatoo)" combines the previously unreleased "Gandi Bawong" with five contemporary versions from the original album, with a new cover painting by Bobby Bunnungurr. Tracing 1997 back to many millennia ago, this is a captivating window into the richness of Aboriginal culture and collaboration. 


              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Efficient Space (AKA the mega label behind the fantastic Sky Girl comp) introduce us to the obscure brilliance of indigenous Australian troop Waak Waak Djungi with this retrospective set of their nineties output. Amid the beautiful new age twinkle of "Rainbow Serpent", "White Cockatoo" and "Black Crow" we find the motorik pulse of "Djambaku", Balearic house of "Gandi Bawong" and the spine tingling acid chug of "Mother, I'm Going".

              TRACK LISTING

              A1. Rainbow Serpent
              A2. Djambaku
              A3. White Cockatoo
              B1. Mother, I'm Going
              B2. Gandi Bawong
              B2. Black Crow


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