August 7, 2022
Whilst COVID ravaged the world I moved my studio (variously credited on records as ToRurua Studio, Haus Bilas or the Enormodome). The move took the plethora of gear, leads and boxes from Ballantyne St Thornbury in Melbourne, three hours away. Down past Apollo Bay, on Gadubanud country, right next to the glorious Otway National Park on the Shipwreck Coast. 15 acres, old farm country, now dedicated to regrowth of native trees and playground to two resident donkeys (Artie and Paddy).
At present “The Donkey Shed’ is firm favourite to be the title of the new studio when it gets finished in six months time, give or take building phaffing about. We are 100% off grid, all solar and tank water which is a steep learning curve, especially for a relatively impractical sod like me, but a situation that I’m quite pleased about. All my working life as a musician I have been cognisant that we carry with us a pretty ordinary carbon footprint. With flights, Tarago touring, recording in studios, playing through amplifiers PAs et al, completely reliant on fossil fuel energy to make the sound what it needed to be. We shouted, ‘Save the Planet’, but we were up there with the worst at destroying it. Here, we are immersed in the elements whilst drawing our power only from it at the same time.
Moving the studio and the Wantok record label required packing up 40 years of archives, analogue and digital tapes, documents, disks, vinyl, hard drives, pro tools sessions, microphones, leads, outboard gear and instruments. NDW 1983-1995, MFTCC 1989-2019, Solo 2000-2022, Pacific recordings and archives incl Wantok 1986-2022, Soundtracks 1986-2022. There’s hidden tracks, off takes, full sessions. It led to a fascinating dive inside my past. Much reminiscing. I discovered recordings, songs and projects that I had completely forgotten about. Half completed song demos, sound textures. Obscure Papua New Guinean stringband recordings, footage and sound recordings from the Western deserts, odd NDW and MFTCC demoes and live recordings of dubious quality.
Now whilst this isn’t the reason for revamping the website, the findings will be a feature of the new website. For punters just wanting to know when the next gig is and wanting to listen to a particular song or film clips, they will be there and easy to access. For those wanting a few insider notes and details on projects that also will be easy to access. For those wonderfully oddball trainspotters who are interested in rare and hidden gems, sounds and curios and collaborators, we will endeavour to place them in there also.
There will be some essays and blurbs that I have written that will be placed in the blog section. Updates on my Antarctica project will be in here. Recordings, photos, films, minutiae of projects, will try to keep the content interesting and of a standard. Occasionally photos of donkeys may also get a run. It will be a work in progress so we are more than happy for you to make suggestions by writing into the website contact and we shall endeavour to acquiesce.
As an enticing to drop in and take a look, two previously unreleased tracks, ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘Caravan’, that were recorded as part of ‘The Wisdom Line’ sessions will be made available via the website only. "Dirty Water", a band song, using the metaphor of a car’s engine for physical and mental health, and ‘Caravan', a piano and strings yearning to escape down to the ocean and live in a caravan (with donkeys) are the first two releases from the archives.
I hope the new website is of value and substance to you as a listener and a supporter. A big thankyou to the fine folk at Studio Quarantine for all the work and artistry in the re-design. The aim is that this website will be worth repeated visits and that new things will always be found.
Head on over to the Music / Solo section of the website to find 'Dirty Water' and 'Caravan'.
Hope you are safe and well in these strange times