No: 3

Autumn 2002

CD review:

by Grant Douglas
Corroboration, a journey through the musical landscape of 21st Century Australia, or at least that's what the album cover promises. That's a bit of a lofty statement, and probably isn't fair to this collection of songs.

Kurt Luthy states in the album introduction, that the major objective of this album is to "produce quality music through uniting artists from varying cultures, backgrounds and genres". Simply, the album is a collection of songs resulting from collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

This ranges from vocal duets, to the Wicked Beat Sound System doing the instrumental composition and arrangement for a Deborah Cheetham song.

The album certainly does also cover a wide range of musical styles, from a very groovy and boppy operatic number (courtesy of the aforementioned Deborah Cheetham/Wicked Beat Sound System), to hip-hop, to rock.

This wide and varying range of musical styles should not deter you from listening to this album. For it is that very broad range of style that permits the album to achieve one of its other objectives. That is, to "break down preconceived ideas of what indigenous musicians in Australia sound like".

If you are a fan of The Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music documentary and soundtrack (although excellent itself), and think you'll have a little listen to this album hoping to hear more of the same forget it (although there is some country influence).

If that disappoints you, then you'd best get your tea made, not forgetting the cosy, and put Patsy on. Of course you could also do yourself a big favour and listen to this album.

The collaboration of artists is interesting and varied.

The resurgent Jimmy Little sings a duet with the Impossible Princess. Their piece is possibly the tamest on the album, but as it is a song (Bury Me Deep In Love) by The Triffids all is OK.

I don't want to digress with stories of drunken nights in grotty London Pubs in the '80s listening to this Aussie band belting out great rock to unappreciative poms, but let's just say that The Triffids can do no wrong in my eyes.

Even though this song may be the tamest, it however is no doubt very good, and has had broad appeal (breaking down those preconceived ideas).

Jimmy Little's voice is as smooth as ever and the mix with Kylie works very well. It's an enjoyable track.

There are sad songs. The Frank Yamma/David Bridie collaboration (Coolibah) is a haunting number.

There are dance numbers. The Pnau/Stiff Gins track (Ride) would do well at any dance party (or whilst getting dressed for such a party, or maybe that's just my bent).

There are super cool tracks. The Cruel Sea/Native Ryme/Kev Carmody track (Together) achieves a slickness dreamed of by others.

The album is not a protest album. The lyrics vary as much as the styles.

However, having said that, I believe that this album contains one of the best rock numbers I have ever heard. It's the final track on the album (Who made me who I am) and it's a Magic Dirt/Richard Franklin collaboration.

This is an angry song. A defiant song. A very bloody good song. Play it loud, give yourself room to bop, and forget about the neighbours for five minutes.

The song starts off with lyrics like:

"You know, when I was born I wasn't a citizen of this country I grew up under the assimilation policy. I got to see the world through my mother's tears". Leading to the question: "Who was I, who made me who I am?" The answer: "You made me who I am!" And then he gets angry:

"I am an angry man My people are still dying of 3rd world diseases I will stand and fight This is my land and you made me who I am!" It also finishes up with a very poignant question, "What is Australian, what is our culture?" A reminder that there was and still is a very unique culture within this land. Let's embrace it and the evidence of the varied indigenous musical talent in this country. Listen. Learn. Dance. Enjoy.

Corroboration, released by Festival Records, is available on CD in good music shops and online.

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