Philip Brophy

Janet Leigh (dead)

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Australian composer/film director Philip Brophy here teams up with countryman Philip Samartzis, better known for his abstract sound investigations with the likes of Sachiko M (see their superb release, Artefact) for a series of fantasies loosely based on the famous shower scene in Hitchcock' s Psycho. So loose, in fact, that, morbid title aside, the only oblique reference is the generally watery character of the sounds employed. Recorded in super-lush Dolby surround sound, the music has an extreme sense of pure presence. Samartzis appears to rein in Brophy's normal tendency toward glitzy beats and disco-y harmonies, instilling a much more severe and atonal aspect which is all to the better. That tension between the more beat-driven, harmonious path favored by Brophy and Samartzis' asceticism make for a far more satisfying and complex disc than those where the former is in complete command. Pieces like "$700" do a fine job of exploiting the territory between sound art and music, never quite settling into either area but tasting of both. And for pure sonic enjoyment, it's hard to beat the prickly pops that open "Cabin 1" and segue into a roaring thunder. Janet Leigh (dead) is a fine and unusual example of what can be achieved at the intersection where music, film, and environmental sounds/noise meet. Recommended.

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