Collide is one of those artists I turn to for background music — which isn’t to say that the duo’s music is without its edges, just that usually it’s the kind of cruisy, atmospheric electronica that makes the rest of the world fade away.
Not so with their new album, Color of Nothing.
Statik and kaRIN have come out fighting, with guitars leading the attack.
Opener “Wake Up” announces this urgency, the swell and subside of electronica topped by explosions of buzzing guitar as the song unfurls. The energy runs through the entire album, taking on a dance-floor groove in “Soul Crush,” an infectious swagger in “Side to Side”, a slow burn in love song “Fix”.
It’s still distinctively a Collide album, with Statik commander-in-chief in the studio and kaRIN’s bringing the evocative vocals (indeed, here there’s more of a consistent collision of those smooth vocals with spiky instrumentation than before). She touches on themes ranging from the global (“Blurring the Edges,” “Pale Blue”) to the intensely personal (“Intruder,” “Freaks Me Out”); from comfort, to resignation, to defiance.
A fitting soundtrack for 2017.
Speaking of soundtracks, fresh on the download is Berlin: Crater Vol.2, from Android Lust. Oh my!
Funded through Kickstarter, the album was developed in part from Shikhee’s found-sound adventures in Berlin. On early listens, I’m not sure I’m getting much impression of that particular place, nor a sense of an unfolding narrative such as drove the (predominately) soundscapes of the water-themed Crater Vol.1, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the outing – one of sonic postcards, perhaps, possibly as much in time as space.
Which is not to say this album isn’t transportative – far from it. There’s an air of the urban – a subway feel on the analogue styling of “Daughters of Dawn” (think Glass Candy), a rain-washed city scape perhaps seen from the cab or bus window in the fetching “Heart Tunnel”, and the familiar touch of AL-style industrial (“In Memory”, “Insects”). And is that a ghostly callout to AL’s “Stained” on “Plaza Steps”? Elsewhere, muted conversation and bird chirps, the beeping of an alarm clock and patter of rain, offer a feeling of melancholy enlivened by digital rays of sunshine.
As always, the Android Lust journey rewards multiple, close listens, the layers revealing – suggesting – more the deeper one submerges. Down here in the depths of winter, it’s the perfect weather for it.
And while I’m getting excited about new music, on the near horizon is a new EP from Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence, in which it appears we’re getting songs of resistance and defiance. First taster “Less Than” shows some retro-style frustration, while second release “This Isn’t the Place” feels like a bridge at song No.3 on the five-song EP. Bring it on!
And here I am, with a mosaic novel* set in near-future Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in which the Galilee coal mines feature prominently — as stranded assets, now being converted into, you guessed it, giant greenhouses. (One of the three stories involving Galilee has been selected for the Ecopunk! anthology, coming from Ticonderoga Publications — the TOC looks amazing!)
It’d be really neat to have to rewrite the stories because the governments in question grew some social conscience (and economic nous) and canned the entire idea (I can hear the Asia-Pacific nations who are begging the world to stop building coal-fired power stations from here), but I can’t see that happening.
It’s a bit like the narrative spike I copped when BP (boo! not forgiven for Deepwater Horizon) pulled out of exploration in the Great Australian Bight, only to be replaced by Chevron. And so the battle, and the story, goes on …
* mosaic novel = a fictional work made up of interconnected short stories; the form has many names (composite novel and novel-in-stories are just two of the more common ones, but I prefer mosaic)
Climate change is so real that people in charge of other people’s money need to understand that it is now a financial risk
And, about Adani’s proposal for a huge coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland (with their hands out for massive government assistance):
If it is ever built, it will be the biggest subsidised white elephant in the world
Back in 2015, SQ Mag published my story “Night Blooming”. It featured Shane Hall, a homicide detective, and Manasa Chalmers, a corporate security operative from India, united by happenstance and searching for a lost teenager.
There were a couple of points of difference to the typical buddy cop story, firstly in that Brisbane, as with the rest of the world, is experiencing “mythomorphosis”, in which people are transforming into mythical creatures, and secondly, in that this strange and little-understood phenomenon was affecting our heroines quite personally.
I was chuffed and pleasantly surprised for “Night Blooming” to be selected for Ticonderoga Publications’ latest anthology of Australian fantasy and horror, their Year’s Best 2015 — see the table of contents below*, salivate, then order it, my friends!
But wait, there’s more! Because hitting the digital shelves at the end of 2016, ahead of a paperback release this month, is And Then … Vol.1 from Clan Destine Press. This tome features 15 longer tales starring dynamic partnerships, a varied and exotic selection of Antipodean adventure stories (here be dragons, and so much more!).
Among the first offering (TOC below) is my “The Mermaid Club”, another outing for Shane and Manasa. I’ve written a little about the story over at Sophie Masson’s website, but proof’s in the pudding. Not to give too much away, the pair suspect their’s something fishy about a kidnapping at a rich man’s club … Ebook here, paperback to come, with Vol.2 close on its heels!
* you will notice a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the list! doubly chuffed!
Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015 TOC
Joanne Anderton — 2B
Alan Baxter — The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner
Deborah Biancotti — Look How Cold My Hands Are
Stephen Dedman — Oh, Have You Seen The Devil
Erol Engin — The Events at Callan Park
Jason Fischer — The Dog Pit
Dirk Flinthart — In the Blood
Kimberley Gaal — In Sheep’s Clothing
Stephanie Gunn — The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth
Lisa Hannett — Consorting With Filth
Robert Hood — Double Speak
Kathleen Jennings — A Hedge of Yellow Roses
Maree Kimberley — Ninehearts
Jay Kristoff — Sleepless
Martin Livings — El Caballo Muerte
Danny Lovecraft — Reminiscences of Herbert West
Kirstyn McDermott — Self, Contained
Sally McLennan — Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium
DK Mok — Almost Days
Faith Mudge — Blueblood
Samantha Murray — Half Past
Jason Nahrung — Night Blooming
Garth Nix — The Company of Women
Anthony Panegyres — Lady Killer
Rivqa Rafael — Beyond the Factory Wall
Deborah Sheldon — Perfect Little Stitches
Angela Slatter Bluebeard’s Daughter
Cat Sparks — Dragon Girl
Lucy Sussex — Angelito
Anna Tambour — Tap
Kaaron Warren — Mine Intercom
And Then Vol.1 TOC
Introduction by Janeen Webb
Sulari Gentil — Catch a Fallen Star
Jason Nahrung — The Mermaid Club
Alan Baxter — Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade
Jason Franks — Exli and the Dragon
Lucy Sussex — Batgirl in Borneo
Amanda Wrangles — Come Now, Traveller
Evelyn Tsitas — Stealing Back the Relics
Peter M Ball — Deadbeats
Narrelle M Harris — Moran & Cato: Virgin Soil
Dan Rabarts — Tipuna Tapu
Kat Clay — In the Company of Rogues
Sophie Masson — The Romanov Opal
Tor Roxburgh — The Boudicca Society
Emilie Collyer — The Panther’s Paw
Tansy Rayner Roberts — Death at the Dragon Circus
Welcome to 2017, and what is already looking like a crowded calendar of literary events in Australia — some events have already staked claims as far out as November! Check out the 2017 calendar of Australian literary events!
As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!
A reminder, friends: I’m chuffed to be attending the Brisbane launch of the Dreaming in the Dark anthology, edited by Jack Dann and published by UK-based PS Publishing. Still gotta pinch myself when I look at the contributors to this epic tome of Aussie speculative fiction.
So yes, it’s worth a party with contributors (edited to add more — huzzah!) Veny Armanno, Paul Brandon, Kirstyn McDermott, Angela Slatter, Janeen Webb, Kim Wilkins and me in attendance; Paul and Sarah Calderwood will provide some musical atmosphere; Jack will do his thing; the book will be launched and you’ll be able to get your copy signed by a third of the contributors in one fell swoop!