Des Cowley

Des Cowley is the Rare Printed Manager at the State Library of Victoria, and is a regular contributor to Rhythms magazine and online music magazine Addicted to Noise

Des Cowley is the Rare Printed Manager at the State Library of Victoria, and is a regular contributor to Rhythms magazine and online music magazine Addicted to Noise

Review: Mark Isaacs, solo piano extemporisations at Bird’s Basement

Upon first entering Bird’s Basement, I was immediately conscious of the crystalline sound of the piano, each unamplified note lingering in the space, untrammelled by its neighbours. The audience, in darkness, appeared hushed, as if intensely focused on the music: lyrical, melodic and restrained. As I was drawn into this music, I was conscious of its fragile delicacy, as Mark Isaacs mined the upper register, unafraid of summoning sheer beauty from his instrument.

REVIEW: I Hold the Lion’s Paw – Abstract Playgrounds

I heard something of Miles’ ‘Big Fun’the first time I played I Hold the Lion’s Paw’s ‘Abstract Playgrounds’.There, in the opening track ‘(outtakes from the)’ is that same soupy mix, the same muddy rhythms, as if primeval matter, inchoate, is ever-so-slowly coalescing into form. There is an urgency and drama inherent in that opener, as it carefully leads the listener in: what directions this music will take is a wide-open question.

Review: Intangible Asset #82 and Daorum

Simon Barker has long been one of my favourite Australian drummers. Rest assured, he would have earned that place on the strength of his drumming in Mark Simmonds’ Freeboppers alone, without consideration of the extraordinary body of work he has produced since. For me, the Freeboppers’ album Fire (1993) remains one of the cornerstones of Australian jazz: four musicians – Simmonds, Scott Tinkler, Steve Elphick, and Barker – interlocking with a ferocious and burning intensity, their music exploding like a supernova.