honest music that can stir the soul and open the mind

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Lost Domain reviews

"The coasts of Brisbane, Australia have washed up in the flotsam and jetsam avant ensemble The Lost Domain. Despite being in existence since the late ‘80s, this joint release between labels in Oklahoma and Sweden is the nearest they have yet come to a wider audience. More’s the pity, because Sailor, Home from the Sea, drawn from live recordings made in Brisbane in 2004, is a magnificent suite of nautical dreamtime musings worthy of considerable attention. The multiple psuedonymous members create soundscapes imbued with a taut lethargy, the ceaseless yearning drift of an exiled consciousness forged on the meeting of the endlessness of the ocean and the vastness of the outback. These sublime visions look out to the water, and the sailor’s communion in their own insignificance, becalmed and beleaguered drones hinting at the depths while simultaneously squinting sunblinded at the sky’s glare. The bookening “(On) The Waterfront, Parts 1 & 2” impress the most, the incrementally building drone carrying the muttered, rambling, vocal, an urgent voice overwhelmed and suffocated, urging “I can’t stand the smell of the house no more” and longing for release in the fathoms of the sea." (from The Wire issue 252)

"Close your eyes and breathe deeply…. The sea is closer than you think, the cry of gulls overhead is merging with the rhythm of the waves, the sea-spray stains your lips with salty memories and the wind creeps and pours through the old wooden huts, sparring with the old nets within, you step forward and the pebbles rattle underfoot……….welcome home.

The lost domain hail from Brisbane and have been creating improvised, drone infested soundscapes for many years releasing them in isolation on their own shytone label. Now, thanks to The Broken Face and Digitalis records their beautiful organic textures are available to a wider audience.

Opening and closing with a cover of John Lee Hookers ‘(on) the waterfront’ this album takes us on a coastal walk through old fishing villages and across cliff tops which offer us an unbroken view of the ocean so vast that we can only stop and watch for a while, the tranquil sounds refreshing and calming us. ‘At sea, the storm’ is a haunting piece of music as though the storm has passed already leaving us glad to have survived and closer to god for the experience, before ‘Leagues’ slowly dismantles the silence with it’s muted trumpet and percussion creating a unsettling ambience. This mood is sustained for the rest of the album gently undulating and pulsing, driven by the rise and fall of the tides, the scuttling of small creatures trapped in rock pools, and the occasional meeting with another person also drawn by the oceans power.

Finally our thoughts return to other thing, the mundane and trivial tasks that define our days, we know we must leave this place and re-connect with the world we live in, but, just for a moment, we realise that there is more to life than we ever think, and we rejoice in the fact that The Lost Remains can help us find a quiet place to go. " (Terrascope on-line)

"The Lost Domain are an obscure Australian group who have thus far hovered below the radar for more than 15 years. However, with the release of their latest album Sailor, Home From the Sea, they've become a pretty big blip on the screen.

The album opens and closes with a mangled cover of John Lee Hooker's "The Waterfront" which establishes right away that The Lost Domain are taking to the streets, cracking through the concrete with sticks, setting fire to the dirt and settling in beneath the leaves. Distant hums and a cackling voice hardly figure into what one would expect from a John Lee Hooker cover, but they pull it off. Between these bookends are the truly rewarding sections of the album. "Night Boat" sets a reverb laced saxophone to distant percussion, electronic hiccups and a high pitched whistling. "At Sea the Storm" is a small wind burst while "Leagues" winds its way through organ tones and electronic drones. "Breaking, the Day Comes to Me" pensively builds feedback onto a slowly shifting organ pattern and clattery percussion.

Deftly setting themselves alongside No Neck Blues Band's best moments of fractured electronics and noise / jazz leanings, The Lost Domain strike a chord that few can." (Fakejazz)

"After having the three recent releases on Digitalis for a month or so I've finally been able to get my ears around 'em, and I can say without reservation, each one offers something for the introspective traveler. In the case of The Lost Domain's "Sailor, Home From the Sea," coreleased on my old pal Mats' Broken Face imprint, that means ominous atmosphere and austere experimentation. This one took me some days to come to terms with, 'specially after the busier free jazz/psych scapes that made up their last CD-R for the Rhizome label, owned/operated by the ever knowledgeable Jon Dale. It's quieter and chillier, but rarely relaxed. The instrumentation is scaled back to the point that sometimes there's just organ or sax, faint percussion and the ghost of a guitar along with a wind instrument or some chimes pushing things forward. From the two part bookends of a cover of John Lee Hooker's "Waterfront" (complete with vocal cackles) to the four instrumentals that comprise the meat of the platter, each track offers a wind-swept journey through the deep dark blue void. These tracks have the mythical sway and pull of a Greek epic where the tumult kicks up a dank atmosphere of salty spirits, restless electronics and even some haunted melodies, all searching for that path back home." (Womblife)

"Six tracks in thirty eight minutes; but it's all fully saturated and quite vivid in an ectoplasmic way. This remarkable band out of Brisbane, Australia have been slowly stirring the cultural dust for some time, though little has sifted through to the ears of many who would, and will enjoy what they experience here. Mats and Brad of their respective labels have joined forces to to unleash this strange outfit upon the wider unsuspecting world. Spacious whispery psychic distances, blurring instrumental interacations, like streams of varicolored paint running in a river. Ghostly fogbanks and gradually evolving soundscapes are carved out of an array of real and unreal instruments. When there are vocals it's akin to some sort of Jandek with full band form of muted narrative telepathy. There are also distinct elements of free jazz, acoustic folk, science fiction, industrial desolation, warm neon lights, fading sunsets, and empathic weather. Opening and closing with two different and radical reconsiderations of John Lee Hooker's The Waterfront. This is a subtle, nuanced and deeply rewarding listening experience." (Dream Magazine)

“If a tree falls in a forest when no one is around, does it make a sound? It would appear that this group of Australian woodsmen have been felling the metaphorical trees for some time now. It's good new for us then that we are finally allowed to hear the amazing sound that they make, as this exceptional album falls sonically somewhere between the lands between the No-Neck Blues Band and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which can only be a good thing. Guitars, percussion, saxophone, pocket trumpet, organ and violin sit alongside a whole bunch of other weird and wonderful instrumentation in the Lost Domain's vast arsenal of sounds and the end result sees elements of free-jazz, folk, noise and drone combine to form an undeniably pleasing whole.” (Shoryobuni)

“The ones who are familiar with the Broken Face fanzine don’t want to miss the fact that they’re re-activating their label in order to release the new album from Brisbane ensemble The Lost Domain. We were blown away by "Something Is…" and don’t hesitate to recommend this essential item as much. Guitars, organ, percussion, violin and pocket trumpet is placed side by side with weird and wonderful sounds, seemingly taken from another world. This is the kind of music that is impossibly to categorize, but takes elements from folk, new folk, free jazz, avant-garde and drones. I guess it’s natural to link this to a lot of what Glenn Donaldson is doing, but also No Neck Blues Band and the freeest part of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago repertoire should be seen as references. Recommended.” (Popopdrops)


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