Post Impressions: Music Writing as Bent Travelogue

Hollis Taylor


The wind is our universal musician and has been recognized as such for millennia. If the wind can play a fence as an aeolian harp, then a violinist armed with a bow could also cause these gigantic structures to sing. Thus, an American woman and an Australian man set out to explore and perform on the giant musical instruments covering the continent of Australia: fences. This presentation excerpts highlights from the voyage, illuminating the range of sounds to be drawn out of a five-wire fence. Playing fences reveals a sound world that is embedded in the physical reality and the psyche of the culture. In pursuit of their instruments, including the Rabbit-Proof Fence and the 5300-kilometre–long Dingo Fence, the duo travels 40,000 kilometres, engaging with a singing dingo, an auctioneer, an Aboriginal gumleaf virtuoso, bush musicians, the first (now ruined) piano in Central Australia, and the School of the Air’s distorted, modulating, phasing white and pink electronic noise.

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Australian music, fence music, travelogue

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