Artist: amby downs
Title: kinjarling studies
Keywords: ambient dark ambient field recordings improvisation soundscape soundtrack Australia
Review by Furchick
It is rare to have the privilege of listening to art by an Indigenous Australia artist. When I saw that Tahlia Palmer had created some music when I know her as a photographer and visual artist, I got excited. As it turns out my excitement was justified. This music is connected to country and made in a place familiar to the listener. “Amby Downs” is a station (farm) in Southern Queensland where Tahlia’s aboriginal ancestors lived and worked on for a few generations after they were dispossessed of their traditional homelands.
Tahlia’s father’s line is Yuwaalaraay/Gamilliaroi, from the Narran river area of Northern New South Wales. She informs me that connecting with Noongar boodja through these works has afforded her the confidence to go to her ancestral country for the first time, which is planned for next year. This gives a special significance to there sound works.
amby downs informs me that this is a project resulting from “kinjarling studies”, an exhibition of place-based works made in Albany, Western Australia. Kinjarling is the menang noongar name for the area; the name “kinjarling studies” was chosen at the beginning of her stay in order to focus attention and research on connecting with the old ways of experiencing country, in whatever ways she was afforded the opportunity to do so.
I wish that I had the privilege to experience these sounds with the visual collection in Albany. I shall wait. This project has resulted in Tahlia connecting to her Indigenous ancestors, after living for 28 years with very little connection due to colonial dispossession and resulting intergenerational trauma.
On this release we are witness to a new belonging. There are sounds of quiet uncertainty, growing more confident as the time passes. This is a listening to the natural world through the field recordings, and then we connect to a emotional response. The sounds have a sadness and darkness to them. We are on a journey of rediscovery.
This is an incredibly beautiful ambient artwork in sound. The sea is prominent in the soundscape and then there are the elements of nature, through the seasons of Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru and Djilba.
There are sparse guitar sounds that carry the music along. Tuning down…. in between the spaces. This gives a familiarity that isn’t quite comfortable.
The album finishes with a statement from menang noongar culture man Larry Blight, that makes me want to learn about the mumari. Its so quick and short, like all the tracks in this release and leaves you yearning for more.
Please listen to this. Find a quiet space and just listen.