Monday, January 23, 2006

cult of the week - Whirlywirld

artist: Whirlywirld

title: Whirlywirld

year: 1980

label: Missing Link Records

personnel: Ian Olsen (vocals, tapes, piano, synthesizer), John Murphy (drums, electronics, kitchenware), Greg Sun (bass, percussion), Arnie Hanna (electric guitar)

tracklisting: big gun action, boys of the badlands, red river, win/lose

cotw say…

over to Melbourne this week for one of Australia's must legendary alternative synth bands, Whirlywirld. a band who somehow still manage to be overlooked by successive generations of music writers and record collectors.

lead by Ian 'Ollie' Olsen - who's eclectic career includes the Max Q collaboration with Michael Hutchene ('Win/Lose' was also reworked for the soundtrack to Dogs in Space) - and future Associates' member John Murphy, Whirlywirld were synthpunk perfection. 'Big Gun Action' sets the tone, with its barrage of shrill guitars, electronic effects and angst-ridden vocals. what remains particularly interesting is not only the breathtaking and relentless use of studio effects throughout the EP, but also John Murphy's subtle percussion work, which frequently leans in the direction of reggae and ska. nevertheless, Whirlywirld's nearest musical cousin is no doubt early (pre 'Half-Mute') Tuxedomoon, thanks to a fairly unpunky pace ('Red River', although an exception, even has a spot of saxophone) and the fact that Ollie Olsen's voice bears more than a passing resemblance to TM's Blaine L. Reininger in places. as if to prove a point, 'Win/Lose' closes the album in fine style, a straight, but no less engaging, dance track that remains one of synth's greatest lost anthems.

every loser wins.

erik -

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