: dj olive

Room40, 2004, RM404

At first, countless nights of sleeping through The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars, given to me by performance company version 1.0 to inspire the making a soundscape for their performance work, A Certain Maritime Incident. At first, thoughts of deep green seas and recurring images of floating bodies. At first, trying to put aside the influence or recollection or subtle reminders. Some time later, Gail Priest sends me DJ Olive's Buoy and I'm staying in a house opposite the dark black abyss of parklands in the south side of my home town, Adelaide. Suddenly a perfect soundtrack for my return. There is an image of someone forgotten. Someone left drifting (we are all drifting), but this time really out at sea. In headphones I detect a constant walking (to where?). In headphones, that first moment of a needle hitting the record. Anticipation of further somethings and then nothing.

I'm kind of warmed by references in the sleeve notes to Melbourne and friends and old houses and borrowed floors and peopled spaces and a stranger who bring cups of tea in a mug with the name Shirley on it. Of looking through the stranger's record collection, finding the albums you'd always wanted to play, or liked the look of, like that group the Art Bears or something. Falling asleep against cat-fur covered carpet.

DJ Olive says: “this is a sleeping pill… listen to it as quietly as you possibly can.” I like instructions, unexpected. Like I knew this already. And music for your movies (ok, a Pram ep reference, had to slip one in), perfect somnabulists. And echoes of images of Derek Jarman, thoughts of a Simon Fisher Turner composition. All suspension and sadness. The milky night (…sudden stars). The aloneness of Buoy, like comforting whispers, whatever. How to talk about the kind of music that, like the bouy Olive speaks of, is not an object or a marker, instead remains cloudy and nocturnal.

I'm also thinking of that song by Mick Karn/David Sylvian, Bouy – cos there's more to this than meets the eye – and romantic swells and really, what are we looking at anyway? I'm probably doing the thing I've always found uncomfortable, to describe images as analogies for sound. And writing a review you need a thesaurus for. Shit. Sound just is. This is not the sound of a night’s sleepover in an inner north Melbourne share house. This is not the sound made for an imaginary movie. This is not the sound of the sea. It isn't anything. But I know I've been here before. And I'm happy to just be here, floating. Letting someone else scan through the short waves. Reluctant but seduced by the signals sent of unknown languages. Happy listening. Boring as that might seem. You can see the changes. The rain doesn't stop, but there's a blanket there and a pile of books half read. Must be morning. Everything flows.

Jason Sweeney

1 December 2005