Archives for posts with tag: Mick Turner

Mess Esque is a new collaboration between Mick Turner (of The Dirty Three), and Helen Franzmann, who releases music under the name McKisko. The duo’s album “Dream #12” was recorded remotely between Naarm (Melbourne) where Turner lives, and Meanjin (Brisbane) where Franzmann lives, over the course of 2020. The first track shared ahead of the 2 April release is the transcendentally sparse and beautifully fractured lullaby “Big Old Blue”.

“Dream #12” by Mess Esque is the 6th release in a series from Bedroom Suck Records featuring limited LP runs of music made in isolation during the various Covid19 pandemic lockdowns in Australia during 2020, which shut down music performance and collaborations for much of the year.

Mick Turner was writing music that he felt needed lyrics, and the pairing with McKisko (Franzmann) provides the perfect lyrical and vocal foil for the loose tangle of lightly strummed and picked notes of Turner’s typically understated guitar playing style.

It’s possible (or perhaps unavoidable) to imagine Franzmann’s late-night (quite literally) vocals as a hushed and intimate vocal take on the kind of emotionally-charged melodic flight that Warren Ellis’s violin would take were this a Turner tune for The Dirty Three.

“Big Old Blue” takes the combination of guitar and voice and adds further subtle layers of keyboards, minimal drum pulse, and a bit of brass and woodwind relish. It all adds up to something special that is at once low-key and sleepy, while also quietly euphoric, heavenly and moving.

While you are on McKisko’s Bandcamp to listen to Mess Esque, it is well worthwhile exploring the McKisko catalogue too.

Caroline NoHere’s a treat from Melbourne which casts a little magic. It’s “Alex”, the opening track from the forthcoming “Swimmers” mini-album by Caroline No:

There’s a gentle tension here, a song sounding like the band is playing it for the second or third time so it hints at stumbling at times as it comes together at the start but never does so. In the process it gives the music a kind of very human vulnerable immediacy which draws in and involves the listener.

Caroline Kennedy’s voice also draws in the listener. There’s perhaps some of the melodic directness of a reflective Dagmar Krause in Slapp Happy (matched by the music here) but also the kind of dreamy warm cadence of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions) while – just to confuse and confound you further –  sounding like neither really.

Mick Turner (The Dirty Three) is a familiar name on keyboards and guitar here but the rest of the Caroline No back story  is a Melbourne mystery to me, so here’s what they say on their Facebook page:

“Caroline No is a project built around the songs of Caroline Kennedy (guitar and vocals) of Plums / Deadstar fame, with Ian Wadley (Mad Nanna, Bird Blobs, St Helens) on drums, then guitar, then moving to bass a few gigs ago with the arrival of David McMillan (Dag) on drums… Occasional keyboard player Helen Johnstone (Garbage and the Flowers) first appeared during the recording of what became the No Language cassette, which has just been re-released on vinyl by Cincinnati label Students Of Decay. Caroline and Ian first worked together on Don’t Tell The Driver, the most recent LP from Mick Turner (Dirty 3) as well as his ‘big band’ assembled to promote it. Around this Mick started work producing a Caroline No album Swimmers, due for release later this year. Think Velvet Underground, Blake Babies, Young Marble Giants, American Spring…”