Vale Joe Cocker

Sad to see Joe go.

Here's a pic of his show in Canberra last century, from my live music blog First Three Songs, No Flash.

It appeared in BMA Magazine.


Damn! Just when I swore myself off toasted sandwiches, my sister leaves a block of camembert in the fridge.

Let's see how it tastes with kimchi, capsicum and ham on homemade bread.

Jackie Chan's action comedy

Fascinating examples of different approaches to the film editing in US and Hong Kong.

Ticket to drive

Music Theory Is Your Friend

Music Theory Is Your Friend is a website by Dave Graham, who's my friend. He invited me to write about my journey into noise.

Click here to read The Music of Noise.

I like Tim's reply :)

Lolly art

Seems she might enjoy making art even more than eating sugary treats.

FB's BS serving system

Someone at Facebook has a sense of humour, judging by the name of this cookie I've started noticing they put on my computer when I visit their website.

It's called "bs.serving-sys" and I guess that means bullshit serving system.

Drown her out with headphones

Storytelling lessons from Pixar


I've been enjoying toasted sandwiches recently, as well as homemade bread. The combination of these two is taking its toll on my toasted-sandwich-maker, as you can see.

My favourite filling is either Stilton with broccoli and apple or Shropshire Blue with asparagus.

The tomato, mushroom and smoked Wagyu the other day was also good.


The local paper wrote about my part in Naviar Records' State of Origin exhibition and compilation.

You can see video for my track Willimbong and read about it here.

Opening Night: State of Origin from Unit24 Gallery on Vimeo.

DIY Public Relations

In August this year I spoke at Dream Big on how to promote your work as an artist, sharing tips for writing media releases and engaging an audience.

A video based on that presentation is now online.

Heart in a jar

“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.”
Robert Bloch

Slander on Facebook

This screenshot comes from a community Facebook page and, aside from being funny when you read what motivated the potentially defamatory content, it demonstrates issues with moderation.

Elsewhere I've seen a tattooist defamed on a local newspaper's Facebook page at an early hour when the moderator wouldn't have been present to delete the post.

It made me wonder who would be responsible in a defamation case. Would it be the poster or the publisher? If the latter, is Facebook the publisher or is the page moderator at fault for comments?

Music around my suburb

Last year I had an idea to focus on my suburb of Willimbong in Leeton NSW. I think I managed one other post, which was about the sounds of a fence.

Anyway, that fence features in a new track I've recorded using material in Willimbong as a springboard for a composition that was inspired by the Naviar project. Their State Of Origin compilation looks like a great idea and has generated a lot of good music.

Below you can hear the final draft, which drew on an instrument made from a slippery slide and the aforementioned fence, as well as gallahs, some drumming recorded at home and a remix of Waipukurau Park for the For 100 Years project.

Modern classic: Killing In The Name Of

Rage Against The Machine were one of the most awesome live music experiences I've had. They are a ridiculously tight band and it is amazing how well the recordings reflect their live sound, rather than being studio creations. (In fact, half of their first album was recorded live in a single night -- see number seven here.)

Collected here are a few versions of Rage's debut Killing In The Name Of, which I think show the enduring strength of the song. I love this quote from guitarist Tom Morello:
“A good song should make you wanna tap your foot and get with your girl. A great song should destroy cops and set fire to the suburbs. I’m only interested in writing great songs.”

Post by JFB.

This marching band mash-up of Killing... and Bulls On Parade is also ace.

And how about an 8-bit version too?

End of an Empire

Boardwalk Empire is near the end of its fifth, and reportedly final, season. When it started screening I found myself googling the names of the characters and began making plot predictions.

Like, would the show have a season for each year in a lead-up to a St Valentine's Day Massacre finale? It was in 1929 that six "associates" of Moran's North Side Irish gang were gunned down. So I was disappointed this season jumped forward seven years to 1931 -- although I was heartened to hear mention of Bugs Moran in a recent episode.

As the second season neared the end I reasoned that, as there wasn't a Wikipedia entry for Jimmy Darmody then, Nucky Thompson had nothing to worry about. I also marveled at the longevity of Lucky Luciano.

Gangster history provides rich material for an HBO TV show and, arguably, it is the genre that made the HBO name via The Sopranos in the '90s. Where that show chartered the lives of mobsters in one city, this one followed the intersections of multiple crime gangs in many eastern US cities.

I also think there's something inherently HBO in the Prohibition Era setting because it's an era that surely ends. In the same way the telegraph arrived at Deadwood or the gentrification of Baltimore ended The Wire or winter is coming to Westeros, there's a certain way these shows position their narrative arcs against looming change that I feel adds urgency and appeal to their storytelling.

If history could change one thing about Boardwalk Empire, it would be the music during the introduction each episode. As much as I like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, I can't stand the use of electronic guitar in a show set before the instrument was invented.

Often I found myself wondering which Duke Ellington track might work better to set the world of Boardwalk Empire. Or how they might have a series of covers of a famous track from the era, in the way they memorably changed the intro music for The Wire each season.

Imaginary Forces - Boardwalk Empire from Imaginary Forces on Vimeo.

AND videos

Videos from my new album AND show the collection of tracks recorded in 2013-14.

Burning Seed 2014

Australia's version of Burning Man took place outside Matong last weekend. It was my third time at Burning Seed and once again I helped Kids Camp.

The event continues to grow, with ticket sales reaching their limit of just under two and a half thousand. Kids Camp has also grown, with around 60 people joining us this year. I ran a cinema again and there was a beaut project that created a giant bunyip puppet, which toured the site ahead of the effigy burn on Saturday night.

I didn't experience much of Seed this year, aside from the Brewery and the Kettle and the Temple burn. The Red Earth City Brewery served many exceptional beers and ciders and I had too many. The Kettle provided a gentle spot to enjoy a very big selection of teas.

The Temple was a phenomenal structure this year and the burn also looked remarkable. The fire spun into a vortex at times, creating a burning whirly-whirly. As the remains smouldered, the smoke also spun into the shape of a smallish twister as the audience cooed.

Warm weather may have contributed to increased nudity this year. There were more people going without clothes.

Mobile sound systems were a great addition to the event, bringing the party soundtrack to various events around the site. I wasn't impressed with one of these stages collecting my child without permission, taking them from Kids Camp to the Brewery.

There are no images to share as I made a decision not to take a camera this year. It's something I'd planned to do last year, then was asked to help a local newspaper. The decision was helped this year by formalities introduced by Seed, seeking approval of images before their use. My feeling is that this isn't appropriate for an event that relies on a community but I understand their reasoning and desire to protect the "radical self-expression" of people at the event. So this dude abides.

Bassling's AND

My new album AND is a collection of tracks recorded in 2013-14, including a number inspired by Disquiet Junto projects and also a couple that resulted from Naviar haikus. (Coincidentally, Naviar have a track of mine on their new compilation.)

There was a lot of material to choose from, with tracks made from storytime at the library, a boiling kettle as well as a playground and then an assortment of instruments.

You'll hear that there's a lot of variety, from funky instrumentals to electropunk with cut-up lyrics and a few songs featuring the voice of Jo. 

I've started writing a little about each track on my music blog.

Sunday afternoon music

There's a track of mine on this new compilation from the Naviar Haiku Project. Below is a video I made too.

Give It Up for Kutiman

Kutiman does phenomenal work with material from Youtube, such as the example above. It's the sort of collaboration that never existed before the internet and a remarkable demonstration of the power of Creative Commons, which is the copyright alternative that facilitates these kinds of transformative use.

Ten books that changed my mind

There's been a bit of discussion on Facebook about books, which seems kind of appropriate. So I thought I'd share my list of ten books that I reflect on regularly:
  • Woman by Natalie Angier
  • Mythologies by Roland Barthes
  • Syrup by Maxx Barry
  • Ways of seeing by John Berger
  • Discipline and punish by Michel Foucault
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Republic by Plato
  • From Hell by Alan Moore
  • Culture club by Craig Schuftan
  • Mixing with your mind by Michael Stavrou

As an artist...

Great title for an art show, I think.

Alex James and I used to take photos for the ANU student newspaper Woroni last century.

It's a mystery

It's a mystery
how it comes to me
hidden like a rip
draw me down to it

Visions come to me
of what might soon be
but if I let it slip
I'll be undone through it

When there's only one truth to know
you know I don't know
when there's only facts to show
you know I don't know

What I can't articulate
doesn't mean it has no weight
words are only substitutes
for things they represent

Fuzzy outline at best
like headlights behind a crest
shapes moving in the dark
feeding fear into my heart

When there's only one truth to know
you know I don't know
when there's only facts to show
you know I don't know

Mining tax was good

Seeing my local member trumpet the repeal of the mining tax reinforces a view the current government are out of touch. Here was a measure which recognised Australian minerals are assets that belong to all Australians and sought to ensure their value was distributed more equitably.

Australia's corporate tax base is slipping and the burden is increasingly falling on individuals. It is reported that the proportion of income tax collected from business has shrunk in recent years, falling from 23 per cent in 2007-08 to 19 per cent in 2012-13. At the same time, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of income tax collected from individuals rose from 37 per cent to 39 per cent.

The mining tax was an additional income stream and its removal shows the lie of a "budget emergency" claimed by the Abbott Government.

Wind chimes and drums

Recently I put together an hour-long collection of tracks to recognise my upcoming anniversary of releasing music under the name Bassling.

While I was working on it I had the idea to sandwich together two tracks and it sounded good, so I've made a video too.

It's a blend of two Disquiet Junto tracks from earlier in the year: Aeolian Metrics and Mediated Solo Duet.

Federal Government Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper

The Australian Government is currently seeking comment on a proposal to tackle online copyright infringement and is inviting public submissions on the paper.

Below is my submission and I encourage you to email your own to


The proposal to force ISPs to bear responsibility for copyright infringements is ridiculous and will add unnecessary cost to their services.

Rather than attempt to curb downloading of such material, the Australian Government should look more closely at the reasons why consumers feel the need to engage in this activity.

It seems to me the monopoly of content is one example in which the current market is not responding to the needs of consumers. The popularity of US television shows that are distributed solely through Foxtel, rather than being made available concurrently on alternate services such as iTunes is an obvious example.

The extent of downloading within Australia means that you would not be recognising the interests of citizens in pursuing your proposed actions.

Please look for solutions that make it easier for people to access the content they seek.



Great cover

As a teen in the late '80s I've always had a bit of a thing for Kylie Minogue. So I think this cheeky cover she features on is great.

The poodle is a beaut touch because, aside from revealing her crack, it seems to suggest an Italian male identity given the way former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was described as a poodle for supporting US President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.

Grong on

Here are pics that my Western Riverina Arts colleague Derek took at the Fanny Lumsden show in Grong Grong where I played last weekend.

Shit joke

My daughter saw this joke on my Facebook feed and decided to try it on her brother.


Scott Howie is one of those people who have enriched the Riverina in unexpected ways, like writing a play about Griffith's hermit. Or spending a day on a lagoon in central Wagga in solidarity with asylum seekers.

This story from the local Daily Advertiser discusses the Boat/Person (an action) that Howie performed last Saturday. It was a simple reminder of the plight of the 'boat people' demonised by mainstream politics for more than a decade.

I'd like to see this activity raising the issue elsewhere. A boat on Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin would look photogenic with Parliament House in the background, for example.

The picture shown is by James Farley.

Disquiet Junto

I've written before about the Disquiet Junto and it continues to inspire me to create music and experiment with audio. Below is a playlist of all my contributions to the Disquiet Junto community on Soundcloud.

Sculptures by Keith Cameron

Below is a remix that features Keith and his sculptures.

Wine blending workshop at McWilliams

A few pics from my visit to McWilliams' Hanwood winery. I've been drinking their wines for years and was excited to visit the cellar where they store their aged semillon and shiraz, Elizabeth and Phillip.

They are one of a few wineries to offer wines that have been matured. Apparently 98% of wine bought is drunk within 24 hours, so McWilliams are offering a service in making cellared wines available. It takes time otherwise to get to experience the difference.

Winemaker Russell Cody shared his passion and skills, answering my questions and offering guidance in the wine-blending workshop. I'd been to one at Toorak Winery last year and, once again, concluded that maybe I should've stuck with shiraz rather than blending it with cabernet.

The shirazes showed an interesting variety: a big Barossa fruity explosion, a Heathcote with a metallic sparkle, then the pleasant Riverina I noted as 'prune' as well as an oaked version. In combination they kinda played out in that order on your tongue. The cabernet was from Coonawarra and was rich as expected, so I wanted that in the mix but in hindsight I should've pocketed it as it was good on it's own.

McWilliams' class was fun but seemed to skimp on materials. The refreshments particularly though I think they should've handed out palate wheels too. It was great to look around their facility, which can hold up to 50 million litres of wine. We also had a glass of their 13-year old port.

May I share Mark Saddler

Here's some of my work for Western Riverina Arts, where I am helping to raise the profile of local artists.

Wiradjuri artist Mark Saddler has joined the growing display of talent at the Leeton Visitor Information Centre.

His work ranges from the traditional to the inventive, from handcrafted didgeridoos to clocks made from recycled materials, yet indigenous culture remains central.

"I'm in the process of using different mediums and different styles to tell a story in my artwork," says Mr Saddler. "Like my clocks which show different types of flowers that are used by Wiradjuri people. One is based on a kurrajong tree. Kurrajong trees are a great source of food. Much of the tree can be used for food, such as the seedpods which can be ground and used like coffee."

"In Aboriginal art we tell a story that's a story within a story within a story. I'm trying to keep my art very basic, working with different materials to tell a story that's relevant to our mobs here."

"My art aims to get people's attention so I can lead them back to our culture. To get people thinking about Aboriginal people."

Mark Saddler is active in promoting Wiradjuri culture and has developed school and workplace cultural programs that he travels all over New South Wales and Victoria. These programs explore indigenous culture and the personal benefits to be gained through making art.

His art is his passion and one that allows him to communicate culture. "I'm moving to give art a greater role in all our lives," he says. "Art's a thing where everyone can have a crack at it."

Saddler’s work with students at Wagga Wagga's Willans Hill Special School and inmates at Junee Correctional Centre are two examples. "Every time I visit a school I learn something. There are questions that lead me to research. One student asked how did we boil water so as to have a hot drink. I learned we used possum skins to hold the water and brought it to boil with stones that were heated in fire. Learning should never stop, as with sharing knowledge, it must continue."

"Wiradjuri people were known for possum skin cloaks and we traded with other groups up and down the Murrumbidgee River. Didgeridoos were brought to our region through trade. It wasn't a traditional tool but my great-uncles made them, so it is part of my culture" says Mr Saddler. "We tend to be an adaptive people."

"Language and art is one to us," he explains. "Our art comes from the red dirt, our land. It comes from what we know, see and share. Our art and culture comes from thousands of years of being here."

Mark Saddler collects materials from the landscape to create and each artwork tells a story. "Every piece is completely different, a one-off that's unique and when it's purchased my story goes with every artwork."

Leeton Visitor Information Centre has information sheets that accompany Saddler's artworks. When his art is bought, the story of how it was created or the culture represented goes with it.

Through his artwork Mark Saddler is helping to keep Wiradjuri culture alive.

May I share Marissa Lico

Here's some of my work for Western Riverina Arts, where I am helping to raise the profile of local artists.

Selections from Griffith-based photographer Marissa Lico's 'Familiar Strangers' series are currently on display in Western Riverina Arts' windows.

The 2012 series of photographs capture scenes of people using mobile devices in public. "My intention was to capture and document a common contemporary gesture with mobile phones in public spaces," Lico said.

"While a few of the general public were fairly attentive and anxious when they realised they were captured in a photograph, the majority were so engrossed and preoccupied with their devices that they were entirely unaware of their gesture being the prime focus."

Art reflects society and documentary photography is one medium where this role is central, particularly when identifying a trend. Marissa Lico has a passion for documenting gesture and body language among aspects of ordinary life.

"What I admire most about photography is the beauty of irreplaceable time, where unique moments are captured and will never occur again. That spontaneous connection that transpires then and there, between the eye, lens and subject, is a gift I don't take for granted."

Lico developed her photographic practise through studies at the Australian National University School of Art. She cites the work of a number of photographers as inspiring 'Familiar Strangers', including Anne Zahalka, Martyn Jolly, Beat Streuli and Henry Cartier Bresson.