Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The musical chaos of "LION" by Dirt Hand feel like darkly burning camp fire stories

The track LION by Australian Dirt Hand, the solo musical project of Arun Roberts feels like experimental goth folk to me. The pulsating brass swells that feel like some kind of growing shifting musical organism are glued together by stalking beats creating an inspired and fully textured tentative tightrope for Roberts' deep growling storytelling. Roberts whose artistically drawn vocals (a bit like Alex Ebert pushed through Nick Cave filters) feel wildly played like a story teller around a campfire intent on scaring the children just enough to make them fully feel alive. His physical countenance: large, long and sinewy actually matches his vocal presence. 

Roberts as Dirt Hand likes to create his hand crafted visions in improvisational experimental ways. He loves weaving around live played mistakes and hates metronomes. Like free jazz, his gothic neo folk interpretations are alive in the moment. He likes to let the players be fresh and on edge and still figuring things while they are playing / recording. The horns on LION did remind me a bit of the brass styles in Radiohead's The National Anthem (not directly in sound but in temperament) and while that "organized chaos" was inspired by jazz musician Charles Mingus, from what I can tell Robert's is content for each performance of LION to take on an entirely different direction. In essence creating unorganized chaos or just chaos, a tightrope indeed. Hmmm? Wow. 

LION is the first single from the upcoming second DIRT HAND  EP "The Thorn Variations".

"LION came about very quickly and has refused to leave me alone ever since. I wrote it one day shortly after my uncle had finally succumbed to the myriad cancers plaguing his body and life. He was a dear man and role model and I could only liken his passing to the defeat of a mighty lion by a gust of wind. This is its second recorded appearance. It is a song that stands up to constant redressing and reinvention, more than any other song I’ve written. I quite like that about it. It is like my own private jazz standard. For this recording I provided each player with a unique rhythm and asked them to base their part on that rhythm.The result was a kind of euphoric rhythm soup."

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Robb Donker