Melbourne musician Sam Price (and occasional Cyclic contributor) has distinguished himself in recent years via his work in Peon, a really intriguing experimental electronic duo with Ronny Ferella. Their third album, 2012’s Inter Alia merged elements of multiple genres, from post rock to jazz to experimental electrics, it possessed a dark wintery almost cinematic feel in which it was difficult to tell where improvisation finished and composition began. With both players percussionists, their double drums and electrics ensemble really felt like something quite unique.
Concurrently Price has also been releasing solo albums that showcase his interest in improvisation, percussion and synthesis. He released his debut album Rand in 2009, and Jindabyne is his follow up. Jindabyne was conceived after a trip to said town, with all the material improvised and later mixed by Price with the assistance of various synth boxes controlled via midi.
Price’s improvisation is very musical, almost song based. He likes to sit on a groove, yet his tunes feel like a very unique hybrid, where real drums mash up against sweeping oscillations of synth, guitar, occasional vocals and who knows what else. It’s peculiar, at times Price seems to view himself as some kind of neo soul crooner, playing over dubbed up grooves and those unexpectedly live in the room drums. Elsewhere though he channels a kind of swampy blues or even Peonesque instrumentals. It’s a really unique combination of ingredients that should never work, even on paper, yet there’s something surprisingly not only catchy but intriguing about these wonky hybridised bastard tunes. There’s a confidence in the oddness and a surprising musicality. Curiously all the ingredients no matter how disparate feel intrinsically linked, they shudder together, twitch and roll like their one unique organism.
The highlight though is the evocative When Night Fell The Streets Emptied, which could easily belong to Peon, a dark electric hypnotic near ambient groove that is equally as inspired, as it is foreboding. When it kicks up a gear midway, the tempo increasing and turning into krautrock, it’s a further demonstration of Price’s loose, or perhaps continually evolving relationship with genres. There’s no danger of being typecast here, Jindabyne is eclectic to say the least.
It’s also released on limited white vinyl.