A limited edition book/DVD set
POST IMPRESSIONS: A TRAVEL BOOK FOR TRAGIC INTELLECTUALS
by Hollis Taylor
The fence is the ultimate symbol for division, exploitation, and our compulsive view of life's experience in terms of duality. It's either them or us.
An American woman and an Australian man set out to explore and perform on the giant musical instruments covering the continent of Australia: fences. In pursuit of their instruments, including the Rabbit-Proof Fence and the 3300-mile-long Dingo Fence, the duo survive several boggings, a fly plague, a flea infestation, deadly snakes and crocodiles, heatstroke, floods, storms, bush fires, and their own ignorance.
They travel 25,000 miles, engaging with a flying priest, an auctioneer, an Aboriginal gumleaf virtuoso, the first piano in Central Australia, a singing dingo, fence runners, and other colorful bush personalities.
More than a travelogue, by turns bent and philosophical, their account provides an alternative reading of the music praxis resulting from Australia's recent colonial history: the collision of two cultures identified by their disparate perceptions and knowledge of country. Also included are a bonus DVD of 40 outback fence performances, 88 color photos, and fence music and birdsong transcriptions.
Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor coax celestial tones from the Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Dog Fence rattles and hums, while one specially built for the Melbourne Festival throbs and drones for nine disorienting minutes before an Aeolian splutter of the Dog Fence's last grid echoes the vastness of the delineated continent.-- London Sunday Times.
The concept is as simple as the sound is surprising: put a microphone up to a fencepost, then bow and rattle its wires. In Australia, where government fences are erected to control the population of scavenging dingoes, that can mean an instrument stretching more than 3,000 miles (or, as Taylor notes, twice the length of the Great Wall of China). Her book (which includes occasional comments from Rose and transcribed interviews from the Outback) amounts to a travel guide for a trip no one in their right mind would make. The journey is a lonely one - much of Australia is barren desert, and their path is lined with insect infestations and kangaroo corpses - and Taylor is a lively enough writer to make the journey come alive on paper. It's a good read, full of easily digested meditations on music making, sounds of the natural world, and the psychological implications of territorial thought.--Kurt Gottschalk
The book is a funny, frank, finely written account of an artistic adventure and a personal and intellectual relationship in formation-there's a liberal supply of Jon Rose's ideas and observations too. Taylor's evocations of the Australian landscape as witnessed by an outsider are vivid, so too accounts of the demands on the body, not least the hands. Post Impressions offers the pleasures of a good travel book (rare locations plus the hell that becomes fun in retrospect) and an informative account of the wider reaches of music. RealTime
As rich in metaphor as it is sonic complexity. The 19th century division of wilderness into enclosed zones helped destroy the nomadic, indigenous Australian way of life, and in appropriating fences for inappropriate artistic use, Rose and Taylor are obviously operating in a rich boundary area of cultural difference, history, and environmentalism.--The Wire.
This is a Discovery Channel story about fences and the people who play them in the wide-open countryside. It's light and melodious, filled with tone and harmony …a surprising sort of integrity takes place.--The Squid's Ear.
Click here for more reviews and an excerpt from Post Impressions: A Travel Book for Tragic Intellectuals